From an early age, Joyce Roberson wasn’t afraid to open her heart and help out anyone and everyone she could.
When her father passed away in her teenage years, Roberson, then known by her maiden name Sumner, instantly heeded the call and became a second mother to her four siblings. Paula Gutschke, Joyce’s sister, said the responsibility was one Roberson wasn’t afraid to take on.
“She was very strong-willed and very determined and kind-hearted,” said Gutschke. “She was open to helping just about anyone.”
It is those traits many in western Hays County remember about Roberson, who tragically passed away Nov. 15.
From protecting and taking care of her siblings, to co-owning and operating the News-Dispatch publication for 22 years, Roberson was a person who put forth her best effort in everything she did, but always helped out a neighbor, Gutschke said.
“When she set her mind to do something, she figured out how to do it and got it done,” Gutschke said.
Wayland Clark, a longtime friend of Joyce and her husband Dale, first began working for the two at the News-Dispatch in 1992. Clark said Joyce Roberson was a “little lady with a big heart.”
She also knew what was right and what was wrong and “didn’t put up with the wrong.” Clark said Joyce was someone who didn’t let others step on her toes, but was kind enough to be “very discrete” in letting them know if they did.
Clark said Joyce and Dale were supportive of organizations such as the Lions Club and Rotary. Shannon Roberson-Shubert, Dale and Joyce’s daughter, said they always tried to give back to the community. One of her fondest memories was when Dale and Joyce dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus during the holidays for the children.
Along with “great sense of humor,” Roberson-Schubert said Joyce also knew how to take things in stride. That was due in part to Joyce’s bubbly and optimistic disposition.
“She and dad had a lot of hardships and they’ve always rallied together and come through every single one of them,” Roberson-Shubert.
A longtime animal lover, Joyce enjoyed caring for her five cats, two donkeys, dogs, chickens and a handicapped turkey. Roberson-Shubert said she referred to their property as “the zoo.”
“They loved being in nature,” Roberson-Shubert said.
It was through journalism that Joyce and Dale made a great impact on their community.
Patrick Cox, a longtime Wimberley resident, said Joyce got involved in the newspaper business soon after meeting Dale in the late 1970s. For several years, the two worked at the Wimberley View, which, at the time, was owned by Cox’ family.
Cox said Joyce adapted to the business side of the newspaper industry; she was also very methodical and even-keeled. Both were always very helpful and were essentially part of their extended family.
Years later, in the early 1990s, Dale and Joyce chose to own and operate the News-Dispatch, and continued to publish the newspaper until they retired in 2013. Initially, the two operated the News-Dispatch as a husband and wife operation. Gutschke said Joyce “lived that newspaper.”
“As a matter of fact, we had to plan family get togethers after she ‘put the paper to bed,’ which was her saying,” Gutschke said.
For Gutschke, the bravery Joyce had in her younger years and how she “never regretted” stopping to take care of her family stood out the most.
“If it had not been for her, our family would not have stayed together,” Gutschke said.
Roberson-Shubert said the community has played a helping hand in supporting Dale and their entire family. Along with assistance from friends, neighbors and family, a Gofundme account set up for Dale Roberson has accumulated more than $8,000 so far.
“The way the community has rallied around this tragedy is a testament to all of the work they did,” Roberson-Schubert said.
Cox said Joyce’s presence was felt in Rolling Oaks, where the two had lived for 30-plus years.
“To neighbors in Rolling Oaks, they were an integral part of their community,” Cox said. “Everyone knew them and loved them. It’s a real loss to see her go.”