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E. Joyce “Joy” Lower, 86 – Passed January 24, 2021

E. Joyce “Joy” Lower, 86, of Cabool, Missouri, passed away Sunday, January 24, 2021.

She was born in Ava, Missouri, on December 15, 1934, the daughter of Otis L. and Elsie Ellison.

Joy graduated from Cabool High School in 1952. She was very talented and quite active through her music, playing the French horn in band and was also extremely gifted on the piano and organ. She was also a fine scholar and valedictorian of her class.

Joy was united in marriage to the love of her life, Hugh Duane Lower, on June 15, 1952, in Cabool. To this union two daughters were born, Terri and Deborah.

Joy was very active in the community. For many years, she loved teaching piano lessons to students and adults from the community, sometimes 50 students a week. Joy was also a longtime member of First United Methodist Church and served as the organist for 42 years. She was a member of Eastern Star and Delta Kappa Gamma. She also really enjoyed working with Cabool History Society.

Once her family was raised and they had completed their education, she finally had the opportunity to do something she had always wanted to do, go to college to be an elementary teacher. Joy excelled in her studies at Southern Missouri State University, graduating with honors. She was a third-grade teacher in Willow Springs for several years and loved encouraging and teaching her students. Above all though, her greatest joy was spending time with her family.

Joy was preceded in death by her parents, Otis L. and Elsie Ellison; her husband, Hugh; and their daughter, Terri L. Bruner.

She is survived by her daughter, Deborah J. (Lower) Woods and husband Richard; granddaughter, Breana (Bruner) Martia and husband Allan of Rolla, Missouri; a grandson, Branton Bruner of Lone Jack, Missouri; great-grandchildren Mickayle and London Gronewald, Caleb, Laney and Eli Bruner, and Olivia (Gronewald) Poynter and husband Kaleb; and great-great-grandchild Jasper Poynter.

Private graveside services were held on Friday, January 29, 2021 at Cabool Cemetery with Tom Whittaker officiating. Interment was under the direction of Elliott-Gentry-Carder Funeral Home of Cabool. Online condolences may be made at

In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions be made to First United Methodist Church of Cabool.