BANGOR – Joyce Irene (Graves) Stearns, 91, came to the end of her journey here on earth on April 27, 2015, with her husband and children at her side. She was born in Mars Hill on March 25, 1924, to John H. Graves and Viva (York) Graves, the second of five children.
Joyce graduated from Central Aroostook High School in Mars Hill. In 1953, she met Carl Stearns, a young airman from Illinois who was stationed at Loring AFB, and married him on August 31, 1954, signaling the beginning of 60 wonderful years together. They lived and raised their two children in Mars Hill and Presque Isle until Carl’s job took him to Denver in 1978. They returned to Maine in 1979 and settled in Bangor.
Joyce’s gift was her outgoing nature and true joy in meeting people. She was the embodiment of the phrase “never met a stranger,” even with the many doctors and nurses she met in her last days. Through the years, she touched many people with simple kindness and genuine interest in their lives, and from the time she started working at JJ Newbury in her teens, she brightened the lives of everyone she met. After high school, she took a position with A&P, where she spent more than 25 years as a bookkeeper and cashier. She finished her career at Northern National Bank.
Joyce is survived by her husband, Carl, and her son, Jon, of Bangor; her daughter, Jan Umphrey, and her husband Dan of Herndon, VA; two grandchildren, Matthew Umphrey and Jill (Umphrey) Albers and husband Stephen and two great-grandchildren, Edel Marie Albers and Noel Timothy Albers, all of VA; and her sister-in-law Norma (Ginn) Graves. In addition, she has many in-laws, nieces and nephews, and other relatives in Maine, Illinois, and Florida.
She is predeceased by her parents; sisters Frances (Graves) McKay and her husband David, Elizabeth (Graves) Merkel and her husband Jim, Sarah Ann (Graves) Smith and her husband Larry; and brother George W. (Bud) Graves.
Relatives and friends are welcome to call from 6-8 p.m., Friday, May 1, 2015 at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center Street, Bangor where funeral services will be held 3:00 p.m., Saturday, May 2, 2015 with the Rev. Dr. Stan Moody, pastor, Columbia Street Baptist Church, officiating. The family invites relatives and friends to share conversation and refreshments at the Family Reception Center of Brookings-Smith, 163 Center, St., Bangor immediately following the service. Interment will be at a later date at the Fairmount Cemetery in Presque Isle. Gifts in memory of Joyce may be sent to The Columbia Street Project, a mission of the Columbia Street Baptist Church, at 63 Columbia Street, Bangor, ME 04401. Condolences to the family may be expressed at