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Utah Golf’s Joyce Billings Passes Away from Ovarian Cancer
Joyce Billings, one of Utah’s most popular woman golfers, passed away several days ago following a three-year battle with ovarian cancer. She died peacefully in her home after numerous, end-of-life visits with her many golfing friends.
A celebration of her life will be held on Monday, June 27th from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Starks Funeral Parlor (3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City). Complimentary valet parking will be provided on the north side of the building. Funeral service will be held on Tuesday, June 28th at 11:00 a.m., with a visitation one hour prior to the service also at Starks Funeral Parlor. Graveside service to follow at Wasatch Lawn Cemetery, 3401 S. Highland Dr., Salt Lake City.
“She was an early leader in efforts to get attention and support for women’s golf and was a pleasant and forceful advocate for broader programs,” said Joe Watts, former UGA Executive Director. “In every endeavor she undertook, she made friends and planted seeds that are now blossoming in girls’ and women’s golf throughout the state,” he said.
She battled hard for three years with the cancer, but a few weeks ago, the doctors indicated there was nothing more they could do and that the end was inevitable. That special time was filled with visits from many friends and hugs of love.
“When I visited her at her home, there were numerous friends with her, and despite the tragic situation, she and her friends rejoiced in the many memories they had shared together over the course of 30 plus years in the Utah Women’s Golf Association,” Watts said.
“She was very much alive, enjoying the reminiscing, and settling in for what appeared to be a few months of memories. When she died two days later, I was shocked. She seemed so alive and vibrant,” he said.
In addition to being a very competitive golfer, she also spent many hours teaching junior golf and encouraging older women to join the golfing activities. The last few years, she was a starter at Bountiful Ridge Golf Course where she increased her already large following of admirers.
She was also active in volunteering for UGA Course Rating assignments. Last year, Billings was presented with the UWGA Lady Award due to her selfless and inspiring dedication to Utah women’s golf. The UWGA Lady Award is based on women’s golf participation, giving back to women’s golf, passion, love, and respect for the game, teamwork that makes a difference, and being a friend, leader, and inspiration to her peers.
Despite the lack of women’s high school and collegiate golf teams in Utah during the ‘50s and ‘60s, Joyce played on the University of Utah women’s club golf team before transferring to Brigham Young University where she had the opportunity to play in sectional collegiate club tournaments in New Mexico and Colorado as well as an individual at the NCAA Women’s Championship at Duke University.
Joyce coached golf and taught physical education for nine years at Kearns High School, which allowed for work-free summers for her on the golf course.
“It was nice having free time so I could play in tournaments when I wanted to,” Joyce said. “That’s when I started joining several women’s golf associations, and the first one at Nibley was with my mother.”
Joyce participated in ladies’ associations throughout the years at Nibley Park, Mountain Dell, Bonneville, and spent the last 15 years with the Bountiful Ridge Ladies Association where she also worked part time as a starter and marshal.
In previous years, Joyce acted as the president, vice president, and team captain of the UWGA, worked on the UGA Course Rating Team and Handicap Committee, and represented Utah on the USGA Public Links Committee.
Joyce is survived by her kitty and companion Micki, by her sister Nancy (Barr) Edgington, and by her nieces and nephews Todd (Vicki) Edgington, Lori (Bryan) Young, RJ Edgington, Cheri Edgington, and Jodi (Rory) Sorensen, all of which she considered and treated as her own children. She also loved Nancy and Barr's 14 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Joyce is preceded in death by her parents Dick and Una Billings, grandparents, nephew Jordan Edgington, and all of her beloved cats. A special thank you to Carolina Piedras, Sandra Garcia, and Pat Dalpiaz for their special care and concern during this difficult time.
In lieu of flowers, Joyce expressed her desire for donations to be made towards the care of her nephew who was paralyzed in an accident in January 2016. Please send contributions to Todd Edgington at 3063 E. 3300 S. Salt Lake City, Utah 84109.
For an extended obituary and to watch her video tribute, CLICK HERE.
CLICK HERE to view her Deseret News obituary.