In Memory

Joyce Knapp (Nelson)


© Published on May 7, 2016
Joyce Knapp

Joyce Knapp Joyce (Knapp) Nelson
Aug. 5, 1944 - Apr. 27, 2016

Joyce, musical, artistic, energetic, loved to sing hymns, play the piano, and was consistently active in her community until her death. A local church pianist and organist, Joyce was also a recognized vocalist who performed at community and family events. She was a professional voice and piano teacher since 1968. Her kind words and winning smile encouraged her many students at musical recitals. Joyce was a cellist and taught violin. She was an accomplished florist. Before moving to Carmel, she volunteered and served as a president of the Alameda Breakfast Lion's Club and the Alameda Holiday Home Tours (Family Services fundraiser).

In her final years, in a care facility due to advanced Parkinson's disease, she loved to gather patients, visitors, and staff to sing with her. Last year she sang her final public performance from her wheelchair as a guest artist at Carmel Presbyterian Church. We all will miss Joyce's loving presence and joyful energy.

Joyce KnappJoyce was born in Waukegan, IL., the oldest of six girls, and graduated from Oakland High in 1962. Her son, Mark Nelson (Alena), grandchildren, Tyler and Avery, and five sisters survive her: Carolyn, Linda, Alisemarie, Mary, and Betty. Her beloved partner of almost 25 years, Gary T. Hamada, and her dear mother, Ethel Knapp preceded her in death in April of 2013.

A memorial service for family and friends will be held at Carmel Presbyterian Church, May 14th, at 3pm. Notes of remembrance to be shared may be sent to Alisemarie Haney,, or phoned/texted to (415) 613-7566. Please consider contributing to a Parkinson research fund such as American Parkinson Disease Association,, in lieu of sending flowers.









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05/15/16 09:44 PM #1    

MaryJane McCormick (Smith)

We shared a table at the reunion with Joyce and her care-givers.  She was so haappy to be there.

R.I.P. to an old friend.

05/16/16 11:49 AM #2    

Janet Stromberg (Rector)

Joyce was one of my dearest friends during High School. We both attended Lakeside Baptist church during our childhood and high school years. My husband Mike and myself visited her often when she lived in Alameda and Carmel. We had such lovely times together. We also worked along with the Oakland High committe for the 30 year reunion and she also sang in my daughter Caryn's wedding, which was a very special treat. She also loved to arrange flowers and did the flowers for my daughter's wedding as well as the flowers for the 30th reunion. It was also a treat to see her at the 50th reunion. We phoned to keep in touch and sang songs over the phone which was so much fun. It was very hard to contact her these last few months as I phoned and never got in touch. I wish I had been able to talk with her again.

Joyce, I will miss you my dear friend, but I know you are now with our sweet Jesus and you are no longer suffering. Good-bye sweet Joyce, I know you are now rejoicing and singing with Jesus and the angels.

Janet Stromberg Rector

05/16/16 02:07 PM #3    

Ben Fong-Torres

Joyce's struggles are over. It's been a very tough few years, as she also lost her dear husband, Gary Hamada, to a lengthy illness. I knew Gary for his work as co-owner of KRML, the jazz station in Carmel. And I'll always remember Joyce as a sweet, smart classmate who later blossomed as a singer (She performed "Moon River" at one of our reunions). Rest in peace, Joyce and Gary.

05/16/16 05:49 PM #4    

Joan French (Moon)

I am so sorry to hear of Joyce passing away!  I remember her singing 'Moon RIver" at the reunion and it was beautiful. My condolences to her family and may she rest in peace.  She will be missed but she is leaving us with wonderful memories of not only her talent but her kindness, faith and love she had for others.


07/17/16 08:52 PM #5    

Jeani (Irmajean) Golish (Mills)

I do not remember Joyce from High School. But I remember her beautiful rendition of Moon River at the 30 year reunion. At the 50th, I was honored to sit at the same table with her. I was in a wheel chair, but not confined. Joice was also in a wheel chair, but had very little control over her body. Her care provider was feeding her. I was so impressed with with how happy and joyful she was. Her care providers weren't just helping her, they seemed privileged to be in her company. She certainly was a person who brought joy to the lives of others. And in her struggles with Parkinson's I'm shure she was an inspiration to all. 

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