Funeral services were held for Joyce Niemela Elder, of Perham  (formerly of Huntington Beach, Calif.) on Friday January 28, 2022 at 11 a.m. at St Paul’s Lutheran Church in Perham with Pastor Andrew Ratcliff officiating.  The Pallbearers were Darwin Huwe, David Huwe, David Saewert, Cameron Bueng, Phillip Laine, Edwin Keil. Joyce passed on January 21, at the age of 81 at the Hadley House in Perham.

Joyce was born on January 3, 1941, in Butler to Elmer and Bertha Niemela. She spent most of her childhood in Butler. The family moved to California in 1954 where Joyce graduated from Compton College and went on to work at Mac Donald Douglas Aircraft as an Office Manager.  It was here that she met the love of her life, Donald W. Elder.  Don and Joyce were married on June 25, 1966 at the Little Church of the West in Las Vegas, Nev. Their marriage was blessed with four daughters: Robbin, Kelly, Stephanie, and Dawn. Don and Joyce spent 23 years raising their children in Huntington Beach, Calif. When they retired in 1991 they returned home to Otter Tail County, living on Devils Lake in Perham for 18 years. In 2008 they moved to Perham, proper where they lived for the rest of their lives.

Joyce was extremely engaging and was typically the life of any party.  She had a smile that could light up the room. She could strike up a conversation with anyone and She loved nothing more than learning the stories of friends and strangers alike. At home, she loved gardening, canning, and making sure her lawn was the prettiest on the block. Joyce was also a professional seamstress for a time, and continued to sew for friends, family, church events, and school musicals.   

In addition to her fur coats and her bling, Joyce was known for her love of cats, with many gracing the Elder home over the years.  But, above all else, Joyce loved babies and was blessed with 8 beautiful grandchildren. 

Joyce is survived by her daughters Robbin Elder, Kelly Elder, and Dawn (Elder) D’Agostino; her grandchildren Luke Andersen, Sara (Andersen) Schepmann, Daniel Elder, Paige D’Agostino, Kady D’Agostino, Jake D’Agostino, Christian Bueng, Cameron Bueng; two great grand-children Emmet and Easton Andersen; Brother Duane Niemela, Sisters Betty Kennedy and Beverly Romero; and numerous nieces and nephews.  

Preceding Joyce in death were her parents Elmer and Bertha Niemela, her mother and Father-in-Law Thomas and Ann Elder; brother Kenneth Lawrence Niemela, daughter Stephanie Jean (Elder) Parkin, granddaughter Paige Renee D’Agostino, nephew Richard Niemela, and nieces Ann Elder and Jean Elder. 

Please visit to leave memorials and condolences on Joyce’s Tribute Wall. 

Arrangements provided by Karvonen Funeral & Cremation Service of New York Mills.