In memory of
Joyce Ortega died peacefully at home in Healdsburg after a courageous three-year battle with cancer. She was born in Mazeppa, Minnesota, to Ada and Norbert Grossbach. She grew up on the family dairy farm and graduated salutatorian in 1962. She attended Mankato State University and then went to work in Minneapolis. She moved to San Francisco in 1965 and went to work for Pacific Bell. She met her future husband, Frank Ortega, at Artichoke Joe's in San Bruno in 1967. They were married in December 1968 and moved to the Peninsula. After accepting early retirement in 1986, Joyce went to work for Nevada Bell, commuting to Reno, Nevada, for ten years.
Frank and Joyce moved to Healdsburg, California, in 1998 where they dove into the wine industry. They volunteered with Zinfandel Advocates and Producers for many years. Joyce also worked in the wine tasting rooms of Everett Ridge Vineyards, Rosenblum Cellars and Seghesio Family Vineyards. She treasured her time in the tasting room and especially enjoyed meeting and talking with visitors. Joyce cherished the many relationships she built through her work and play in the wine world.
Joyce was well-known for her parties and culinary skills. She loved working in her garden growing vegetables and sharing the bounty with friends and family. She also enjoyed traveling with friends, included hiking and backpacking throughout the Western United States, and even around the world, but returning to Death Valley and the Sierra Nevada many times. Her wildflower book, with dates and places she spotted a particular flower noted in the margins, is a testament to the many places she hiked.
Joyce was preceded in death by her brother, Alan, and husband, Frank. She is survived by her niece, Dee Tyndale, grandniece Rebecca (Mike) Moechnig, grandnephew Jermane Tyndale, and two great grandnephews, Braxton and Maverick. Frank and Joyce also generously shared their lives with children of their close friends who they called their "rent-a-kids." Krys Horley, and Mark and Todd Lowpensky, have special memories of time spent with Joyce, including weekends, trips, and even vacations. She will be deeply missed by her friends and family. One of the best ways to celebrate Joyce's life is to plan an intimate party: invite close friends, make detailed lists, cook fabulous food, and serve it all with love, laughter and great wine.
Due to COVID 19, there is no memorial service planned at this time. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Cancer Society.
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