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Obituary for Joyce Bell Steppe
Joyce Bell Steppe was born to Curley and Amelia Simien on March 11, 1938 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Joyce, with her sister Lula Hunter, moved to Alameda, California to join their parents who had arrived earlier to work in the shipyards during World War II, and then later moved to Richmond, California. Joyce attended school in Richmond, and later in Dixon, California. She left high school early, but later completed her GED, and that was among many reasons why she stressed academic achievements to her children. Beginning in 1954, she and her first husband, Thomas Robinson, had their children and together they moved their family to San Diego in 1960 where Thomas worked in the shipyards. They later divorced and she was left to take care of 6 children on her own. With no money, no car, and no other resources she worked hard to get back on her feet and provide for her children. In the mid-60’s, she met, and then married, Andrew Wilson Steppe, who became the love of her life and she would often say, “I wish he was my first husband.” She often told that before her second marriage, when Andrew told his mother that he was going to marry her, his mother said: “Think about this, son. When I married your father, he had 6 children from his first wife, then I gave him 3. So he had 9 children. And of those 9 children, two had the same birth day, but different birth years. Now, you have 3 children from your first wife and Joyce has 6 children. Again, 9 children. And of those 9 children, two have the same birth day, but different birth years. Your marriage to Joyce must be something special.” And their love, through all the 51 years of their marriage, was very special. Joyce was a wonderful mother and a devout homemaker. She enjoyed gardening and, together with Andrew, in each home they lived they had lots of plants and beautiful yards. Joyce leaves a host of family and friends to mourn her passing: mother, Amelia Simien; sister Lula Hunter (deceased) and her husband Leon Hunter; children, Mishell Simien (deceased), Jack Robinson, Melinda Hagen, Steven Robinson, Edward Robinson, Michael Robinson and his wife Eva Maria Robinson; step-children, Debra Steppe, James Steppe (deceased), Donna Steppe; grandchildren, Jeanine Simien-Mann, John Simien, Martina Mieh, Christiana Mieh, Geelah Mieh, Alexandria Washington, Shakid Ali, Kareem Ali, Amir Ali, LaShandra Fluno and her husband John Fluno, Brittany Keys; great-grandchildren, Simien Smouse-Cintron, Celena Smouse-Cintron, Katura Fluno and John Fluno Jr.; nephews, Joey Hunt, Kenneth Hunt, Gregory Hunt and his wife Latanya Hunt; niece, Debra Hunter and her husband Jimmy Alexander. On October 31, 2014, Joyce was called by our Heavenly Father to her well-deserved rest in her family residence in Vacaville. Her caregiver, Jack Robinson, was with her as she left to join Andrew, and other family relatives and friends at her acceptance into paradise; enjoying peace, happiness and being with each other at last.