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Obituaries » Grace Fiala (nee Eley)

Grace Fiala (nee Eley)

February 14, 1935 - January 6, 2022

Gloria “Joyce” Fiala (nee Eley), 86, died Jan. 6 in St. Louis.

Fiala passed away peacefully, surrounded by family. She lived a good long life, but her health had been declining over the past few years and although she kept persevering and bouncing back, eventually her heart and kidneys failed. 

She loved her family and friends and was loved by them and by all who knew her. She was preceded in death by her sister-in-law Sr. Christopher (Mary) Fiala, her husband Emil, and her sister Pat Meifert. Most recently, her younger son Richard died suddenly at the age of 53. This was a tremendous blow to Joyce, and she continued to miss him terribly for the rest of her life.

She is survived by her son Greg, daughter-in-law Susan, three grandsons: Benjamin (Tara), Jacob, and Isaac Fiala; sister-in-law Pat Cashman; brother-in-law Steve Meifert; daughter-in-law Shirley Kirsch; nephew Tom Neal; many cousins and other relatives; and innumerable friends. Throughout her life, she attended the local Methodist church when she was able. 

Joyce was born in St. Louis on Valentine’s Day in 1935 to her late parents Ralph and Rubye (nee Hatley) Eley. Although they named her ‘Gloria Joyce,’ she was always called ‘Joyce’ and most people are not even aware that Joyce is not her first name. Her sister Pat was born almost two years later, and they were close friends their whole lives. Joyce graduated from Beaumont High School and immediately started working for the phone company downtown.

Joyce married Emil Fiala on Nov. 17, 1956 and they enjoyed almost 60 years of marriage.

They raised two sons, Greg and Richard, in South County. Joyce worked on and off, mostly at Southwestern Bell / AT&T, as an executive secretary. She quit when the boys were born but returned when they went to school. She enjoyed her job and made many life-long friendships with her co-workers. She loved to shop at Famous-Barr on her lunch hour and was famous for getting amazing bargains, never paying full price for any of the many beautiful clothes and shoes she owned.

After they both retired, Joyce and Emil built their lakeside dream home on Raintree Plantation in Hillsboro and lived there for 25 years. The house was right next to the beach where their grandsons could swim, and everyone enjoyed the rides in their pontoon boat out on the lake. All the birthday and holiday dinners were held out there and we had such good times. Joyce and Emil loved to entertain and were both wonderful cooks. Joyce won several baking contests and always served wonderful desserts in addition to her delicious meals. They both loved dogs and were parents to many over the years, including a champion standard Schnauzer, “Polo” – but Joyce’s favorite was a Border Terrier named “Hannah.” 

Joyce loved to play bridge and was very good at it, playing weekly even up to the end. She also loved to read, play golf, bunco, attend Bible study and church, and many more activities. She and Emil made many new and close friends during this time as well. Many wonderful memories were made at Raintree, and they will be treasured for years to come.

Joyce suspended her social activities during the year or two before Emil’s death, as she spent most of her time at home with him, helping him as needed. During this time, Greg also spent a lot of time helping them out, driving them to doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, etc. After Emil passed in 2015, she decided to move closer to her sons and their families. In 2016 she moved to Crestview Senior Living, and during the past five and a half years, she has made even more friends. She participated in most of the activities, joined the Chimers, played Bridge, attended weekly Bible studies, and continued to spend time with her family and friends as often as she could. Wherever Joyce went, she made friends. She was loved by so many people throughout her life and we will all miss her terribly.


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