Joyce Corning Hahnkamp 1932-2018

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Joyce Corning Hahnkamp, 86, of Melrose, MT, passed away Sunday, July 15, 2018 with her family by her side.

Joyce was born March 29, 1932 to Harry and Virginia Corning in Casper, Wyoming. Her father purchased a ranch on the Big Hole River and moved his family there in 1942 and ranched while also operating businesses in Billings and Casper. Joyce attended grade school in Melrose and later graduated from High School in Billings. She then attended the University of Montana.

In 1957, while working in Miles City at the Veterans Hospital, she met and married Charles Hahnkamp, the love of her life. They started their endearing adventure ranching together on the Tongue River south of Miles City. After the birth of their first son, Lee, they moved to Joyce’s family’s ranch on the Big Hole where she worked as hard as any man. She loved every moment of riding, working cows, calving, haying, raising chickens and geese, while raising their two sons, Lee and Jay. She could make the most delicious meals out of whatever she had on hand, and still found time to read and work on her oil paintings. Her “timeout” was her Wednesday night bowling league with the girls, which continued for 25 years!

Charlie and Joyce spent many years and countless miles side-by-side traveling to rodeos. Joyce competed in barrel racing, and then watched as her sons competed in rodeo and then her grandsons. She truly was a generational rodeo mom! Joyce’s presence was always known at her grandkids’ events, whether it was cheering from the sidelines of a basketball or volleyball game or from the bleachers at a rodeo. She was their #1 fan. A highlight of her life was working as a horse wrangler and providing stock in the filming of Return to Lonesome Dove. Another highlight was riding side saddle in the Diamond Jubilee in eastern Montana.

Joyce was an extremely smart woman with a sharpwitted sense of humor. She had strong opinions on many topics and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. She lived a cowgirl’s life, married to her forever cowboy.

Joyce was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her loving husband of 61 years, Charles Hahnkamp, and sons Lee (Dalene) Hahnkamp of Dillon and Jay (Denise) Hahnkamp of Melrose. She is also survived by six grandchildren: Mandy Hahnkamp of Dillon, Darcy (Matt) Schuetz of El Dorado KS, Samantha (JR) Davis of Great Falls, MT, Charlee (Matt) Reed of North Pole, Alaska, Dillon and Cord Hahnkamp of Melrose; and seven greatgrandchildren. Joyce is also survived by her brother Jim (Joanne) Corning of Billings, MT, and sister Nancy Pendergast of Hamilton, MT; and held a special place in her heart for her many nieces and nephews and their families.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018 at the Church of the Big Hole in Melrose, MT, at 2 p.m. with a reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions go to Hahnkamp Family Rodeo Scholarship Fund, c/o Pioneer Federal Savings & Loan, P.O. Box 1103, Dillon, MT.