Joyce Alley Toothman Hathaway, 91, of Bexley, Ohio

Joyce Alley Toothman Hathaway, 91, of Bexley, Ohio, died peacefully at home surrounded by family on May 16, 2018.

Joyce earned her BA from Randolph Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia, and spent the summer after her graduation in 1947 on a bicycle tour of still-war-ravaged Europe, pedaling and pondering how to end her engagement to someone she realized was all wrong for her. On her return she broke up with him and took up "the best job she ever had," as a hostess on the C&O Railroad.

When the railroad ended its hostess service, Joyce enrolled at West Virginia University to pursue a master's degree in education. It was while student teaching at University High School that Joyce met a fellow student teacher, David Hathaway, whose dogged persistence—and his promise never to try to change her—got her to agree to marry him.

He offered her the choice of an engagement ring or a new refrigerator. She chose the refrigerator.

Preceded in death by her husband David Hathaway, a well-known Calhoun man, she is survived by her sister, Carol King; her four children, Phillip (Angela Bowman), Pamela McKinley (the late Terry McKinley), Mark (Suzanne Monett), and Rosemary (Tom Bredehoft); her beloved cat, Lily; and the still-running refrigerator.

Joyce and David moved to Columbus in 1956, and in 1961 Joyce took a position in Capital University's English Department, where she taught folklore and American literature until her retirement in 1994. Along the way, David convinced her to earn her PhD in English, which she did, to the great pride of her family, in 1979.

After retirement, Joyce volunteered at the Franklin Park Conservatory and the Ohio Governor's Residence. She and David traveled extensively and joyfully, sharing a boundless curiosity about the world and the people in it. They were gregarious listeners and great storytellers.

We, their children, are grateful for these gifts they shared with us, and for the values of humility and intellectual curiosity they taught us, which we hope we have shared with Joyce's six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 19 at 10:30am at Bexley United Methodist Church, where she was a member for over sixty years. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Bexley Public Library or the Franklin Park Conservatory. Please visit to share a memory or offer condolences.