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Joyce Smith

Joyce Smith

Joyce Smith was born in a small town in Washington in 1917, and remembers childhood asthma limiting her activities. She married her husband, Norman, in Marysville, Washington and in 1950 came with him to Kodiak Island. He traveled to the villages for the American Baptist Mission. They settled in Larsen Bay in 1952, then moved to Ouzinkie in 1958, where they ran the mission out of their home. Joyce taught kindergarten, raised five children, and worked as a health aide. She started as a volunteer helping the visiting public health nurses give immunizations in Larsen Bay, and expanded her healthcare work after moving to Ouzinkie where the resident public health nurse had moved away and visiting doctors needed an assistant. Joyce soon became known for her knowledge and experience, so more and more people would just come to her for medical aid. She provided medical services in Ouzinkie for ten years without a salary until the official community health aide program was established in 1968 and paid positions were created. After being a health practitioner for 35 years in Ouzinkie, Joyce retired in 1993, a couple of weeks before her 76th birthday.

When her husband and ministry partner of 56 years died suddenly in 1996, Joyce realized that Ouzinkie was her home and its people her family, so she remained in the mission house. Subsequently, the Ouzinkie Native Corporation adopted her as one of their own, and she was given all of the rights and privileges of an Ouzinkie tribe member. In 1997, Smith was ordained by the Alaska Baptist Association. Joyce Smith passed away on August 30, 2006. She was 88 years old.

Date of Birth:
Oct 17, 1917
Date of Death:
Aug 30, 2006
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