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Joyce Sondra Landers Chazen, 77, passed away peacefully in her home in Lincoln, California, on Nov. 2 after bravely battling cancer. A peaceful woman and always giving of herself, Joycewas many things to many people. A loving daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and friend to many, together with her husband of 52 years, Marshall, she always had room in her heart -- and frequently in her home -- for the homeless and mentally ill.
Life was an adventure with a consistent theme, helping others. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., she graduated from Bennett High School in Buffalo and the University of Buffalo, she was promptly recruited by the NSA as a code breaker, which she declined (but could explain why her Scrabble-playing friends and family never stood a chance). Instead, she chose to briefly work for the Girl Scouts of America before marrying and raising three sons. Joyce always said that if she wanted a simple life, she would not have married Marshall. It was not simple, nor was it easy, but it was certainly with adventure and many rewards. Together they moved out West, where they would spend the rest of their lives, living in Tucson, Ariz.; Cedaredge, Colo.; Greeley, Colo. (where she would get her master's degree in occupational counseling from the University of Northern Colorado); Cheyenne, Wyo.; Concord, Calif.; and Reno, Nev.; before settling in the Sacramento area.
She grew to love Tucson and the beauty of the desert. As a stay-at-home mom, she frequently volunteered for charitable and political causes. But she really came into her own when, in her husband's struggle with health conditions, she stepped into new roles and responsibilities -- mostly taking on positions that would help others.
She was co-director of the Biofeedback and Stress Management Institute of Wyoming, executive director of the Reno Suicide Prevention and Crisis Call Center, and administrator and counselor for Jewish Family Service of Sacramento, among other roles. Later, she would become the main editor on her husband's book - Your Diabetes Control Handbook.
In between, she cared for Marshall after his frequent surgeries and for her parents. But they also managed to have a lifetime of travel, for business and pleasure, frequently going to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, but also to China, India and Vietnam. And in retirement she continued to give of herself to such causes as the Women Democrats of Placer County and was often seen at various venues registering voters.
Joyce was preceded in death by her parents, Sam and Gertrude Landers; and her husband, Marshall. She is survived by her sons, Gary and Lee of Roseville and Aron in Menlo Park; and her grandchildren, Jessica, Monica, Sam and Anne.
Obituary written by Gary Chazen (with edits by Lee Chazen)