Joyce Marie Tobiasen Schwartz 83, of Kansas City, passed away peacefully on March 11, 2024.  Her legacy lives on through her children Kristan Ammatelli (John), John Hiebert (Irene) and Marion Ritter.  As well as her grandchildren:  Dominic Ammatelli, Rose Ammatelli, Jack Ritter and Isabella Hiebert.

Joyce lived with an unwavering passion for life.  Work hard, play hard was her mantra.  She lived a balance of hard work, dedication to family and joyous play.  She never forgot a daily dose of chocolate and a glass of wine.

Joyce was born on November 19, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York.  Her parents, Olga and Martin Tobiasen, were proud immigrants from Norway who celebrated their culture daily.  Her childhood was spent surrounded by family.  Her aunts, uncles and cousins were part of her everyday life.

Joyce loved to learn and had an insatiable thirst for knowledge.  She excelled academically in Brooklyn, then in Kansas City at Southwest High School where she graduated in 1958.  The first in her family to attend college, she received an undergraduate as well as a masters degree from University of Kansas and was a proud Jayhawk throughout her life.   She pledged Gamma Phi Beta sorority at KU and made many of her life long friends.

Following graduation, she married her college sweetheart Jack Hiebert.  Their journey together took them from Lawrence, KS to Boston to Charlottesville, Virginia.  In 1975, while pregnant with her third child, she applied to the PhD program at the University of Virginia.  The admissions board encouraged her to not apply and stay home to raise her family.  True to form, Joyce did it her way and was one of the first women to receive a PhD in Psychology from UVA.

Joyce managed to do it all.  In 1981, the family moved to Kansas City and she began her career at KU Medical Center.  Her focus was on children with physical deformities and how to improve things for them and help their families.  She helped develop coping strategies which are still in use today.

As a working woman, mother and a progressive, Joyce fought hard to improve gender inequity.  She helped pave the way for future women to believe they can do anything and impact the world.  She balanced the expectations of marriage and motherhood with the demands of the career she loved.  Quoting her mentor, Albert Ellis PhD, “The art of love is largely the art of persistence”.

Joyce’s first love was her family. Every birthday, holiday and weekend were celebrated together.  Annual vacations were filled with legendary experiences around the world.   Weekday dinners were mandatory but always interesting and fun.  She always made time for each of her children.  She taught them that they could be anything that they dreamed to be.

In 1999, she married Larry M Schwartz.  Together they worked at embracing life’s adventures.  Travel, golf, sports and fun were the focus.

Joyce had remarkable optimism.   Even after her diagnosis of Parkinson’s, she got up and tried her best EVERY single day.  She was a fighter, a believer and an Icon.  She will always be remembered for her strength as a woman, friend, mother and doctor.  She was unconventional, unapologetic and a force to be reckoned with.  Joyce enjoyed life fully without taking things too seriously.  She loved everyday life playing tennis, driving grandkids carpools, and having them for candy infused sleepovers.  She loved her girlfriends.  Her “lunch bunch”, tennis, bridge, golf and opera friends were very dear to her.

A celebration of life will be held at 11:15 on Thursday April 18, 2024 at the Carriage Club, 5301 State Line Rd, Kansas City, MO.   In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Micheal J Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research.






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