The following article was published in the Midweek Journal on April 24, 1989 by Lana Turner.
“His sense of humor and warm smile has brought a chuckle to many of us, especially in the Open S. S. class. Joseph Jay Troyer born in Independence, Iowa on November 22, 1950, is the youngest of four brothers and four sisters. His parents are Katie (Yoder) and Henry Troyer. When he was 6 months old, they moved east of Hartville. He spent first grade in Marlboro School, and then because of family problems, Joe and his mother moved to Burlington, Colorado. They lived there until Joe was 19. They moved around a lot while in Colorado and as a result, Joe attended many schools. He even had to take Driver’s Ed twice because of it. Baseball was his favorite sport. One thing Joe remembers though is that his mom always made sure that he went to church. They attended a Mennonite-Brethren Church. Joe gave his life to the Lord when he was 13 at a revival meeting. He went to the youth meetings and sang in the choir. Joe graduated in May of 1969 from Burlington High School.
In January of 1970, Joe joined the army. He had discussed the idea with his pastor and he counseled that it was up to the individual. Joe had a strong feeling about his country and so decided to join. He was in the Vietnam War from September 1970 to September 1971. During this time Violetta (Troyer) and Joe began writing. They hadn’t met. Joe’s sister had asked Vi’s brother, Marv to write Joe and somehow Vi took over. That’s how it all began. After Vietnam, Joe had a 30-day leave. He spent some time in Colorado and then he came to Ohio where he met Vi for the first time. They met at a supper at his sister’s house. He knew that night of the supper that she was the girl for him. They dated a couple of weeks and he asked her to marry him. He said she was wise though, because she wanted more time to think about it. He then had to go to Georgia to finish out his term. While he was there, he joined the National Guard to cut a year from his time. Joe & Violetta continued writing another three months and she finally wrote him a nice letter and accepted his proposal of marriage. They were married January 6, 1973. Richard Ross married them, and after he got out of the National Guard, he became a member of Hartville Mennonite Church. Joe was working for Servi-Soft and was injured, and so they moved to Sugarcreek and he worked in a cheese house. Looking back on that he says he really enjoyed that job. Katrina was born during that time. Joe was in the delivery room. That was quite an experience. After that, they moved to Wooster where Joe worked on a dairy farm and then to Marlboro to another dairy farm and their son Joseph was born, and then they moved back to Colorado, where a friend had gotten him a job running a motel-hotel and bus station business. They attended the Mennonite-Brethren Church there and Joe became treasurer. They lived there three years and Anthony was born there. Then they moved to Great Bend, Kansas and Joe began working in retail stores. They got flooded out. They had 29 inches of water in their living room. They decided to come back to Ohio where most of their family lived. They have been here for seven years. Joe has worked at Gold Circle as the Hardlines Merchandise Manager until the business was sold. Joe has been looking for a job in the area and was unable to find one, and so he and the family are moving to Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Joe will be working in Flemington, New Jersey as an assistant manager for the James Way Store, which handles mass merchandising. We will surely miss them. Vi will be here with the children until school’s out.
Joe has been involved with Torchbearers and taught Sunday School at different times. He was involved with the bond groups and really enjoyed that. They had a special bond group and he felt like he really belonged. Joe likes older people and thinks we can learn a lot from them. He wants to thank the Open Circle S.S. class for all their prayers and support.
Joe’s hobbies are reading, playing softball, bowling, and just recently he has taken up golfing. His favorite color is a pretty blue, just like his wife’s eyes. His favorite foods are Mexican, and good old Amish cooking. “If it’s dead cooked, I’ll pretty well eat it,” says Joe. His wife says he’s sneaky. I asked him about a dream or desire. He said when he was younger, he wanted to be a movie critic because he loved going to the movies, but now he would like to be able to take his family to Europe for a couple months. We will miss Joe and his family when they move to Pennsylvania. We will continue to support them with our prayers and thoughts. Thanks for being a part of us.
30 years later…Joe & Vi moved back to Hartville in 1990 and Joe worked for Big Lots as a manager and retired from there in 2012. They now have 5 grandchildren. Joe volunteers at the Thrift Shoppe and also spends time helping the elderly in our church. Thanks for all you do!