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Mary (Joyce) Eldridge 1937 - 2020
Mary (Joyce) Eldridge

Mary (Joyce) Eldridge, 82, passed away on Feb. 27, 2020, at Woodhaven Care Center, Ellinwood. She was born March 3, 1937, to Aaron and Beaulah Loftin in Raleigh, Miss.

Joyce graduated from Magee High School in June of 1954. She worked as a bookkeeper at Union Planters National Bank, Merrill Lynch and Pierce Fenner and Smith Stock Market in Memphis, Tenn. This is where she met and married her first husband Billy Joe Eldridge. His job at NCR is what brought them to Kansas. She was a homemaker until he passed away in April 1975. She then went to work as a secretary for D.R. Lauck Oil Co. and Branson Truck Service. Eventually she decided to go into business for herself and she owned and operated two liquor stores, one in Great Bend and another in LaCrosse. 

She enjoyed being with her family and friends. She also enjoyed playing cards, golf, reading and volunteering for her church and other organizations. Just before retiring at age 74 she also worked for Elder Care and Girls Home. She was an “adopted” mom to many young people who often came to her for a listening ear and advice.

She belonged to Trinity Methodist Church, V.F.W. and the American Legion Auxiliary.

She is survived by two sons, Patrick (Gina), and Wally Eldridge of Great Bend; and one daughter, Kristi Grant (Robert) of Casper, Wyo.; six grandchildren, Doug, Derick, Billy, Devin, John, and Haley; eight great grandchildren, Trinity, Trystan, Brysen, Andric, Hunter, Dax, Harley, and Cooper; two brothers, Ray Loftin (Janie), and Steve Loftin (Jackie); and two sisters-in-law, Ruth Loftin, and Nila Widner; as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; and a brother, Mitch Loftin. 

Visitation will be held from 1 to 9 p.m., Monday, March 2, 2020, with family to receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Funeral service will be at 10 a.m., Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at Trinity United Methodist Church, located at Broadway & Patton Road, Great Bend with Pastor Seong Lee officiating. Burial will follow the service at Lakin-Comanche District Cemetery, Ellinwood. Memorials are suggested to Trinity United Methodist Church or the Barton County Youth Girls Home, in care of Bryant Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent and notice viewed at

Funeral arrangements provided by

Bryant Funeral Home

1425 Patton Road

Great Bend, KS  67530

Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, March 1, 2020