But did you know that Joyce’s current hobby is archery? Joyce and husband Gordon are members of San Diego Archers, a local club that practices at archery ranges located in Balboa Park and the park’s Morley Field. The club hosts monthly shoots and frequent tournaments. Each June, the club hosts the “King Arthur’s Day Tournament,” a 40-target novelty shoot with a medieval theme. Joyce owns a compound bow and recently won first place in a tournament in the senior women’s category. “Archery is a fun sport, keeps you in shape and the people involved are very nice and friendly,” she said.
Joyce Lynn Sweet was born in Burbank, across the street from the Disney Studios. Her childhood in the 1950s and 1960s was spent in Canoga Park, in the west end of the San Fernando Valley.
Her father Neil Sweet worked as a rocket engine inspector for Rocketdyne (now Aerojet Rocketdyne), an aerospace and defense contractor. He was involved in NASA’s Mercury and Gemini missions that put the first Americans in outer space. “We were all excited to know that our dad was up there during the tests at the rocket engine facility in the Santa Susana Mountains northeast of the San Fernando Valley,” Joyce said. She remembers how the whole mountain would light up at night during the testing and the valley thundered with the sound of the rocket engines. The facility also had a small nuclear reactor that encountered a radiation leak in 1959, an incident that wasn’t publicly disclosed until years later.
“In 1964 my dad died in an auto accident while on a business trip in the San Francisco Bay area, a month before I turned 13,” said Joyce. “During this time, he had felt ill and the doctors couldn't pinpoint a real problem. A few months before the accident, he was driving with my sister and momentarily blacked out. My sister, who was with him, saw the car swerve and called out to him to wake him up, and then he told her not to tell our mom about the incident. We’ve always wondered over the years if there was a connection between his illness, the black out, the auto accident and his exposure during that radiation meltdown, but we’ll never know for sure.” In 1996 when she and Gordon were married she dropped her middle name Lynn and replaced it with her maiden name Sweet in honor of her father.
After graduating from Canoga Park High School (class of 1969), Joyce attended Pierce College in Woodland Hills and then she transferred to California State University Northridge, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art.
She is very proud of her work as a graphic designer of 13 award winning coffee table books published between 1989 and 1993 for McQuiston and Partners, where she honed much of her graphic design skills. These beautifully illustrated books have stunning photographs showcasing the beauty of such U.S. regions as the Rocky Mountains and Colorado River, along with Texas and New Mexico. Some of the book titles include The Nature of Fly Fishing, Whitewater Adventures, The Rockies, and Deep in the Heart of Texas. Her favorites include Becoming Brave, the Path of Native American Manhood and Dancing Colors, Paths of Native American Women.
“When the publisher closed his doors, I never had a problem finding other employment,” said Joyce.
One of the most important focuses in Joyce’s life is her personal relationship with God. “I grew up as a Christian, but when I was 22 I became involved with the Living Word Fellowship in Sepulveda (a city called North Hills) in the San Fernando Valley, and listened to deeply profound messages by founder John Robert Stevens. Since this time my relationship with God has grown closer and deeper. During this time she volunteered for The Living Word by being part of a team who illustrated the covers of many of the weekly sermon booklets called This Week.
Joyce moved to San Diego in 1982 and in 1994 she met the love of her life at church. “We both were involved in a Bible Study in Tijuana. In fact, we had our wedding in Matamoros, outside of Tijuana, because many of the people who were part of the Bible Study wanted to attend the wedding.” That was 18 years ago. Today, she lives in South San Diego with Gordon and their three small dogs, Sportster, Molly and Frodo.
During her seven years with PSAR, Joyce says she has grown to enjoy her job more than ever. “We at PSAR are a team. All the staff is eager to cross-train, learn about new technology and automated procedures to help streamline our workload,” she said. “And most of all, we enjoy helping our members. It makes us happy to see them succeed in their careers.”
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Don’t forget to read next week’s story.
Hint: After graduating from college, he worked as crew chief with an off-road racing team.