|Birth: ||Jul. 30, 1919|
|Death: ||May 5, 2010|
San Diego County
Violet Joyce (Willis) Pellman was born in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, to Leonard John Willis and Winnifred Violet (Kerr) Willis on 30 July 1919. At the time of her birth there was still a 400 year old controversy raging over whether Monmouthshire was in Wales or England. The matter was not definitively settled until 1974, so Joyce typically described herself as English rather than Welsh, although her birth registration states her birthplace as Wales.
Joyce was only 2 or 3 years old when her parents purchased a six acre farm in Laindon, Essex, where they raised chickens in order to sell the eggs. Competition from the Continent forced them to sell the farm after about six years. The family moved briefly to Sydenham, then to Edgware where Joyce attended Edgware Junior and Senior Schools. She failed the university entrance exam, so attended a stenographic school and, upon graduation, was employed at the London, Midland & Scottish Railway Co. as secretary to its managing director. At the outbreak of World War II, her father was suffering from prostate cancer and could no longer work, so she took a job at the United Glass Bottle Manufacturing Company making Molotov cocktails, which exempted her from military service.
Her father died in July 1941, which ended her exemption, so Joyce was conscripted into the British Army later that year. Her prior employers pulled some strings and arranged for her to be assigned to the American Army, which paid better. Her extraordinary stenographic skills were quickly noticed and she was made secretary to the Ordnance Division's Chief of Transportation for the European Theatre of Operations in 1942. It was there that she met her future husband, 2nd Lt. Jack Pellman, when he was assigned to the Transportation Division in 1943. Her primary responsibility was the documentation required for transportation of all ammunition into the ETO. In August 1944, just six weeks after the Normandy Invasion, Joyce was put in US Army uniform and read the Articles of War so she could not be treated as a spy if captured, and flown to France to ensure that her paperwork would be routed quickly. Of course, the officers to whom she reported all remained safely behind in England! She and other staff members had already been working in temporary quarters in Paris for more than a week before Patton and Montgomery arrived to "liberate" that city. Of her wartime experience she often said, "Patton ran out of petrol, but he never ran out of bullets, because that was MY job!"
When the war ended, Jack proposed. Joyce moved to San Diego, California in May 1946 and the couple were married 07 July 1946. Joyce worked for several years as a secretary for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. While there she joined Sigma Alpha, a national business woman's sorority. She served Sigma Alpha for over 50 years, during which time she held every chapter, council, and national office at least once, serving as national president in 1974-1975.
Joyce was also active in the churches she attended, and was one of the founding members of the United Church of Christ of Mission Village in the Serra Mesa area of San Diego, California.
Jack suffered a severe stroke in the summer of 1983 that left him paralyzed on the left side. For the next 15 years, Joyce was not only his full-time caregiver, but also drove the two of them all over the USA in their motorhome -- a feat that would have exhausted someone half her age! It was only after Jack became too ill to continue traveling that their travel adventures came to an end.
After Jack passed away in 2001, Joyce continued to enjoy golf, occasional travel, bridge, and remained active in church and sorority matters until approaching age 90. For her 90th birthday, she received a letter (pictured as a virtual flower) from Buckingham Palace extending Queen Elizabeth's best wishes. She passed away while dressing to go to lunch with her brother-in-law for Cinqo de Mayo on 05 May 2010.
Leonard John Willis (1879 - 1941)
Winifred Violet Kerr Willis (1889 - 1957)
John Almond Pellman (1920 - 2001)*
US Army Ammunition Supply, World War II
El Camino Memorial Park
San Diego County
Plot: Valor Point
Created by: Leonard J. Pellman
Record added: May 15, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 69875531