November 27, 1942–February 21, 2020
Joyce Schouest Phillips, age 77, passed away on February 21, 2020 in Joplin, MO. She was a devoted and loving daughter, mother and grandmother. During her lifetime, which was overflowing with joie de vivre, she resided in Louisiana (Lafayette and NOLA), Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri and Germany, but always considered New Orleans to be her true home. Joyce was born in Mobile, Alabama to Cullen and Florence Schouest on November 27, 1942. She was raised in Metairie, Louisiana and graduated from East Jefferson High School in 1960, treasuring the friendships of her Warrior classmates until her final day.
Joyce graduated from Tulane University in 1992 and obtained a Masters of Library Science from the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. She worked as a medical librarian at Ochsner Health System and at the LSU Veterinary School. She served as an academic librarian at Delta State University in Cleveland, MS and in public libraries in Monticello, AR and surrounding area. She co-authored two professional books published by the American Library Association and published several academic and research articles.
Advancements in DNA technologies in recent years gave Joyce the opportunity to accelerate her unwavering commitment to genealogy – an avocation which spanned many decades for her. But her greatest joy came from connecting with many newly-discovered relatives from across the nation identified through genetics. She came to know and love her “cousins” on both sides of her family, and was very close to them – some of whom she never had the pleasure of even meeting face-to-face.
Joyce never met a stranger, possessed all the trappings of a foodie, lived and breathed for the New Orleans Saints, and seized every opportunity to make a memory. She served in the Royalty of The Bards of Bohemia, created an award winning project on Historic New Orleans Preservation, had a photograph competitively selected for the Missouri 2021 Bicentennial Exhibit, and was a founding member of the New Orleans Saints Booster Club. She passionately volunteered at her grandchildren’s schools, for the NCAA Host and NFL Superbowl Committees, and for various literacy initiatives. And, she thrived on ghost hunts, roaming around old cemeteries, and out-of-the-way diners. About the only things she did not love were math and squirrels that consumed bird seed from her feeder!
Joyce was perennially enthusiastic about history and embraced traveling whenever she could. She visited over 35 countries/territories including Uruguay, Lichtenstein, Slovenia, Iceland, Panama, Hungary, Argentina and Puerto Rico. Some of her favorite destinations were Oak Island in Nova Scotia, the Great River Road Plantations, the Silent Night Church in Austria, and Amish settlements.
Joyce is preceded in death by her parents, Cullen and Florence Schouest and son-in-law, Kerry Carson. She is survived by daughter, Shelly Phillips and son-in-law, Kevin Helmers, and daughter Paula Carson, and two grandchildren, David and Alexandra Carson. She entrusts her family to care for her guinea pig, Pellet. Joyce was also blessed with numerous close friendships that inspired and fulfilled her. She will be greatly missed by all of us, her family – close and extended – and her dear friends.
Her family wishes to thank many caregivers who have contributed to enabling Joyce to experience a full and joyous life. She was always grateful to those who dedicated their lives for the betterment of others.
To honor her memory, the family simply asks that you consider doing something that she loved; continuing her genealogical research in her efforts to breathe life into those who have gone before, engage in a random act of kindness, read to a child, fill a box for Operation Christmas Child, or simply remember to “laissez les bon temps rouler”.
As the Cajuns say, “Lache Pas La Patate!” Don’t give up! She never did. Joyce was brave, resilient, inquisitive and adventure-seeking. And for that, all of our lives are enriched.