Hazel Joyce Klutts, age 88, of Smithville Texas, passed away peacefully Easter Sunday after a long battle with cancer. She was born October 26, 1931 in Burkett, Texas, to Jim Helms and Edna Boyles Helms. Joyce was preceded in death by her mother and father, her sister Betty Jean Helms, her husband of 54 years, Barney Carroll Klutts, her daughter, Vanita Joy Klutts, and her son, Jimmy Carroll Klutts. She is survived by son, Carlos Klutts and his wife, Cindy of Austin, three grandchildren; Tiffany Klutts Brumley of Austin, Brandt Klutts and his wife, Kim of Boerne, and Clayton Morgan Klutts and his wife Katherine of Austin. “Gran” is also survived by her ten great grandchildren; Buddy, Ellie, Wren and Mary Morgan Brumley of Austin, Brooks, Molly and Weston Klutts of Boerne, and Carter, Clayton and Charlie Klutts of Austin.
Joyce graduated from Burkett High School where she excelled in academics and basketball. After graduation, Joyce was swept off her feet by Barney Klutts, a decorated World War II Army Veteran who had recently returned from the Pacific Theater to Callahan County. They married and spent those early years farming and began their family with the birth of their first son, Carlos. The seven-year drought took its toll on the Klutts farm in the early 1950s. Joyce, with her strong will, determination to overcome adversity, devotion to Barney and strong faith headed for the Texas coast with Barney and new baby. Barney worked for Phillips Petroleum in Old Ocean and they welcomed daughter, Vanita Joy in 1953. Joyce delighted in raising her two little ones and making lifelong friends with the “Phillips Families”. In 1958, they bought their first land in Fayette County. Joyce once again packed her family and transitioned to ranching at West Point with Barney where they added Jimmy Carroll to their family in 1959.
For Joyce, each move was an opportunity to know, love and make lasting friends. The selling of that ranch and a move to Smithville began a partnership between Barney and Joyce in real estate that spanned four decades. Joyce, intelligent and ever ready to learn, got her Texas Real Estate Broker’s License and worked side-by-side with Barney growing their real estate company. She loved people and many of their buyers became lifelong friends. She had contagious laughter, was a ready hostess and an amazing cook that could put together a sales contract and a chicken fried steak lunch at the same time in the blink of an eye. Having fun with family and friends was a priority in her life. Her love for fishing with family and friends went hand in hand with her gift of cooking—she could catch‘em, clean’em, and cook‘em and it would be the best meal you’ve ever had.
Joyce had an ability to see good in everyone and was a good listener. Her back door was always open and everyone always felt at home in her presence. She was kind, generous and hardworking which was evident to all who knew her. She loved Smithville and Smithville loved her back. She had great pride and tremendous love for all her family and friends. She cherished her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends that were like family to her. She was a second mother for many of her children’s friends and she stayed in close contact with them throughout her life. Joyce was a strong believer who kept what she called a walking prayer open for her loved ones. She was an active member of the Smithville Church of Christ. She enjoyed her quilting ladies, sewing group, Hearts and Hands, Wednesday morning coffee group, and Thirsty Thursday supper group. Joyce spent many hours serving the community she loved as Board Member and President of the Smithville ISD School Board, Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem of the Smithville City Council, and Cemetery Improvement Committee. She enjoyed volunteering for the Smithville Chamber of Commerce and was named “Smithville’s Most Worthy Citizen”. Her time spent on the Smithville Hospital Board was her love and she received great satisfaction working with the board in building the new Towers Nursing Home which opened last October. She lovingly referenced it as Smithville’s five-star hotel. She left us making sure that we each felt the same love and peace that she did.
In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Central Texas Children’s Home, 13200 Crane Rd., Buda, TX 78610/512-243-1386. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, there will be a memorial service announced at a later date.
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