Born in Elizabeth, NJ to the Rev. Dr. Albert Gordanier and Mrs. F. Irene Gordanier, Joyce grew up in the parsonage in Roselle, NJ with two older brothers, Win and Bob. After high school she went on to Franklin College in Indiana, where she earned her Bachelors in English. It is there that she met her husband, Frank Knight. She was a freshman and he was a senior. She and Frank always joked that their first year of marriage was the easiest because she finished her senior year in Indiana while he finished his last year of seminary at Andover Newton in Massachusetts. They were married almost 67 years.
When Joyce met Frank, she was introduced to a special place, Ocean Park, Maine and the New England Baptist Youth Conference, now the Christian Youth Conference. Frank had been a camper, counselor and the director of the boy’s Camp Judson. He also was on staff as a teacher in the late 70’s and the family stayed in the family staff camp for several years. Joyce was a counselor of the women’s camp, Hasseltine, for one summer before Frank and she began their ministry.
Joyce and Frank first served in Saco, Maine at the United Baptist Church. He was the Associate Pastor at the Baptist church while Joyce Taught English in the Jr. High in Old Orchard Beach. She was always very involved with the church as the pastor’s wife. They also later served at the Community Baptist Church in Whitefield, New Hampshire for a few years. From there she moved with Frank to serve at the First Baptist Church of North Attleboro, Massachusetts. It was there that both daughters were born. While at the missionaries training school in New Jersey, Joyce had to leave and go back to North Attleboro to deliver her second daughter, Marla
In 1965 Frank and Joyce went into missions through the American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society. They took a slow boat to Hong Kong to work with the Chinese people. While in Hong Kong, Frank also worked for four years as the civilian Protestant Chaplain to the U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War. Joyce helped her husband minister to the Chinese people as well as to many ministry personnel. They made many lifelong friendships there with the Chinese, British, and Americans.
Returning home to the states in 1970 they lived in their cottage in Ocean Park, ME for one year while Frank searched for a pastorate. The family then moved to Bellingham, Ma., where Frank served as an interim pastor. They then were called to Springfield, Ma where Joyce taught Jr High School for 22 years as her husband, Frank, was pastor of the First Park Memorial Baptist Church. In 2016 they moved to Portland, Oregon to live with their daughter, Krista and family.
An avid traveler, Joyce visited England, France, Spain, Turkey, Peru, Africa, as well as many states in America. She made 2 trips to the Holy land and 3 trips to China, where she taught college students Conversational English and American Holidays, as well as touring abroad with her husband. She had been to 6 of the 7 continents.
Joyce had a very gentle and fun-loving personality and was devoted to the people of the churches she served. She sang in most of the churches. She loved to sing and especially camp songs on family car trips. Joyce was involved with the Springfield Garden Club, the Flower Club, the Women's Guild at church and the Women's Forte Nightly group. She volunteered in the community with elementary school readings and flower arranging with the retirees. She made friends everywhere. Joyce also thoroughly enjoyed entertaining. She would try new recipes an if something didn't turn out she was very resourceful at whipping up something else to take it’s place! Joyce served the Lord, Jesus Christ, with great and lasting devotion. She loved God, loved people and loved life.
Written by Reverend Frank Knight and daughters Krista and Marla
(Loving edits made with daughters' permission)