Joyce Loraine Cronley, 79, of Cody, went home to her Lord and Savior on June 18, 2019.
Joyce was born on Aug. 25, 1939, in Pensacola, Fla., to Jewel and Loraine Lee. She grew up with a love for fast horses and barrel racing. Her father inspired her love for horses at a very young age and she developed a keen eye for good horses and a passion for barrel racing.
Joyce got her PRCA card and began to follow the rodeo circuit with her favorite horse “Chip”, which her father bought for her. The two of them quickly gained success on the circuit, winning 15 out of their first 17 starts.
In 1975, Joyce met and married Lee Cronley. Together, they enjoyed many rodeos and ropings throughout the years. After being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and no longer being able to compete professionally, Joyce chose to share her love for barrel racing with the next generation of aspiring barrel racers.
Joyce and Lee moved to Cody in 1991 with an idea to start the Cody Fun Center, a safe place for kids to play games after school and the rodeo. Later, they moved to the Upper South Fork and built an arena and began teaching roping and barrel racing to any youth that wanted to learn.
At this point, Joyce’s arthritis was debilitating to her, but with the help of a 4-wheeler and a passion for helping kids, she was able to share her love of horses to many kids in the community. This brought her tremendous joy and satisfaction. Pouring out her passion into others was her way of lessening the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Together, she and Lee have continued to make a powerful impact on their friends, family, and community.
Joyce was recently working on finding a horse to ride in the rodeo and Stampede Parade this year. When Lee caught wind of this plan, he lovingly and stubbornly responded that she will NOT be riding a horse in the parade. She assured him that she had the right friends that would find her a horse and WHEN she got on that horse, she would run the barrel racing pattern just to prove him wrong. No doubt, when those pearly gates of heaven open up for her, that fast blur you see is Joyce and Chip putting up their fastest time ever.
She is survived by her husband of 44 years, Lee Cronley; son Rick (Penny) Cooley; daughters Diane (Woody) Thompson, Beth (Steve) Rankin, Susan Cronley; grandsons Ed “Montana” (Lori) Cooley; Tyler Thompson, Jaden Thompson, Levi Shelby and great-grandson Croix Cooley.
Memorial services were at Wapiti Valley Church on Friday.
An online guestbook is available at BallardFH.com.