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Mary Joy VanHout
November 9, 1923 ~ May 14, 2023 (age 99) 99 Years Old
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Mary Joy Van Hout, 99, of Fayetteville North Carolina, passed away on May 14, 2023. She was born November 9, 1923, in Des Moines, Iowa and was adopted at birth by Anna and John McCoy.
She grew up in the small town of Ortonville, Minnesota where she met and fell in love with Harold “Hoot” Van Hout when she was just fourteen. She attended the College of St. Benedict for two years and was a proud graduate of the University of Southern California in 1944. She married Hoot one year later in the West Point Chapel on his graduation day June 5, 1945. Mary Joy and Hoot went on to have 11 children all while traveling the globe for over 30 years. She was a dedicated career army wife.
She loved to tell her stories and her storytelling was on point because her life experiences were unparalleled! Here were some of her favorites: As a child, Little Joy had to come clean after repeatedly pocketing the tip money meant for the server at her Uncle Dolph’s club. In 1946, she and her 6 month old baby spent 28 days crossing the Pacific Ocean on a Greek freight ship heading to meet Hoot in Japan. In 1952, Mary Joy had less than 10 minutes’ notice to get herself and four children dressed and to the airport to welcome her injured husband home from the Korean War. Later, when Mary Joy was down country in Viet Nam, she had to run to a waiting helicopter because her group was being shot at by Viet Cong. At 91, while visiting a friend, her dog escaped, and she fell and broke her hip while chasing him. She then drove herself home 20 miles with the broken hip! Those are just a few of the stories in her life.
She knew heartache too well, having lost two children when they were fourteen years old, yet she soldiered on. She was uplifted by her strong faith through all of her life’s trials.
Her beauty and talents knew no bounds—-expressed in her cooking, crafting, sewing, fashion and home decor. Throughout her life she loved reading, current events, sports and especially adored her pets.
Her love of life, sharp wit and hilarious sense of humor drew people to her. She loved being with people, hosting parties, volunteering, keeping up with friends through clubs and church even in her last months. Her loyalty and love for her friends and family was fierce. Mary Joy showed us how to live, how to love life and how to exit gracefully. Her spirit was bright, strong, and so loving throughout her life and even in her last days.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Harold Anton Van Hout; and their two children, Janet, and Billy. She is survived by her children, Elizabeth Waple, Gretchen (Jim) O’Brien, Harold Anton (Camille) Van Hout Jr., Mary Ellen Sandbank, Michael (Marlisa) Van Hout, Brooks (Bill) Koff, Anna (Chuck) Naylor, Maggie Maston, and Laura (Will) Tyler. Her twenty-eight grandchildren and twenty- five great grandchildren will miss her dearly. She leaves behind a legacy of light, love, and most of all JOY!!
Mary Joy's family will celebrate her with a funeral service at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, N.C., on the anniversary of her 100th birthday, Thursday, November 9, 2023, at 10AM. A reception will be held immediately following the service in the fellowship hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her honor to The CARE Clinic, 239 Robeson Street, Fayetteville, NC 28301.