Eight over 80: Joyce Hiney
Joyce Hall Hiney, who will turned 93 in March of this year, came to northern Iowa from North Dakota when she was 12 years old. She’s the eldest of seven Hall siblings whose mother “didn’t want to send us to high school in Dunseith.”
Her parents, Fred and Maggie Hall, “followed the crops” across the country before settling down. While living in North Dakota, closer to the Canadian border than Armstrong is to Fairmont, they took their children to the dedication of the International Peace Garden in July 1932.
Her mother, who was Maggie Mae Peak, graduated from Maple Hill High School in 1923, so it seemed logical that she’d want to bring her children back to her home area.
In May 1938, Joyce visited relatives, whom she described as “a rich aunt and uncle”—Felix and Rena Ross—in Storm Lake. “He was my grandma’s brother, and they had no kids,” Joyce recalled. “We went to a store, and they bought me a dress and hat.” She has pictures of herself in that outfit.
That December the family made the move to Iowa.
Joyce attended the Bolstad School that was between Maple Hill and Gruver—which many area residents have visited because it’s now located on the Emmet County Fairgrounds in Estherville. She graduated from Maple Hill High School, as one of 10 members of the Class of 1944.
During those growing-up years, the family caught snow in the winter so they could have soft water, but when the roof of their home caught fire, the kids used all that water to put out the fire—much to the displeasure of their parents. The Halls lived in that house for 32 years.
“We ate what we raised,” like other farm families, Joyce recalled. “We picked berries and traded them for flour and sugar.”
Joyce’s present home contains many prized “family pieces”—dishes and glassware, as well as furniture, from her parents’ house.
During her last year of high school, Joyce and two other girls took classes in Estherville from the teachers’ college at Cedar Falls (now UNI) for six weeks, and then Joyce taught at Ellsworth #3, outside of Gruver.
She met her future husband, Frank Hiney, at a Saturday (town night) dance above the J.C. Penney store in Estherville. “It cost 25 cents to dance,” she said. “Mom took the kids to the show while Dad visited.” And the older siblings danced.
She and Frank married in 1946. He worked in southern Iowa for four years, mainly in DeWitt and Fairfield, as a lineman for a contractor out of Bettendorf. They ended up in Corning, and then Joyce went to summer school and got a job teaching at Fostoria. They moved to Spencer where Frank worked for Nielsen Tire.
Then, she said, “Mom called. A friend wanted someone to live with him, so we did that for two years, south of Gruver, and then lived south of Estherville for seven years.
We had first looked for land in Minnesota but then found a farm outside of Armstrong, and I quit teaching.” That farm, four miles west of town, was their home from 1958 until 1984, when they bought a home on Columbian Boulevard.
Meanwhile, they adopted two children. Son Rhett, born in 1958, is married to Delaine, and they live in Armstrong. Their two children, Garrett and Miranda, are both married and have given Joyce five great-grandchildren. Daughter Danielle, born in 1961, is single and lives in Edina.
Frank passed away in March 2003.
Joyce’s siblings, all still living, are Jewell, 90; Doris, 87; Clyde, 85; Clayton, 84; Donna Lange, 81 and Sharon Sents, 74.
Obviously, this family comes from good genes. Mom Maggie Peak Hall lived to the age of 98 and a half. She was active in the “Babes” program, and when she died, 300 of her “kids” came to the funeral. In addition, Joyce has a photo of 124 relatives who were in attendance. “A few are missing,” she said.
These days, this multi-talented woman keeps busy. A year ago, when the Presbyterian Church, of which she’s an active member, held a fundraiser, she made aprons to sell. One buyer brought her enough fabric to make six as gifts. Relatives wanted more, so last summer, Joyce sewed another 20 aprons.
She also enjoys making quilts that become treasured gifts. She’s a longtime member of Wednesday Study Club, plays the card game Garbage with two clubs, takes time to exercise and make more gifts. In addition, she keeps photo albums and scrapbooks up-to-date and is an avid reader. She’s especially enjoyed a series of about 20 books--Annie’s Attic--that she’s enjoyed sharing with friends.
Family and close friends know that Joyce has always loved writing poems. Three of her favorites are the one she wrote for Grandson Garrett, “Patching His Favorite Jeans for the 100th Time”; another about making a quilt from Crown Royal bags and, yet another, “The Old Brown Cupboard”, about the family piece that has found a home in her dining room.