Lady Joy Helena Hamilton
"Queen of Hearts"
Some lives cannot be captured by a chronological recitation of events and achievements - Lady Joy Helena Hamilton was so unique and extraordinary that it is difficult to convey in words the essence of who she was. Everyone who met Lady Joy knew immediately that they were in the presence of royalty. Her passing sparked a massive outpouring of love and grief across the United States - who was this extraordinary lady who had such a powerful impact on so many lives? First lady, wife, mother, friend...these labels are hopelessly inadequate to describe this beautiful woman, affectionately known to her family as "The Queen".
The Queen's Early Life
On February 16, 1933, Lady Joy was born in Saint Rose, Louisiana to Lena Lazime Ellis and Harrison Coleman. She was the firstborn of six brothers and sisters: Harry Coleman, Harrison Coleman (died at age 16), Harold Ellis, Peggy Ellis, and Mary Ellen Ellis (died at birth). Although she could not have known God's plans for her baby girl, Lena prepared her daughter for a spectacular destiny. At the age of five, young Joy was giving speeches, singing and playing for church events as Lena unknowingly began preparing her for her life of ministry. At an early age, Joy went to live with relatives in New York. Although she considered New York her home town, Joy's destiny would be found in California - she moved to the Golden State at the age of 17 and spent the rest of her adult life there.
The Queen at Home:
For 45 years, Lady Joy was the loving wife of Bishop Wilburn Wyatt Hamilton. Fiercely loyal to him, Lady Joy worked hard to support him in every endeavor: his secular career, his home life, his ministry in the local church, jurisdiction, and on the national stage. Bishop was often heard to sing "I still have Joy", giving the words a special meaning shared between the two of them alone. Lady Joy was the love of his life and the queen of his heart and she loved him passionately.
Lady Joy had four children: Sharyn Maxine Smith, Tom Jack Bell (deceased), Marvyn Stanley Bell, and Helena Joy Hamilton. She loved all her children dearly and could be as fierce as a mother bear or lioness when they were threatened. A friend as well as a mother, Lady Joy was always supportive and maintained an intense closeness with her children, whether they lived nearby or far away. She lived in a way that set a standard for her children to reach for and the standard was high. Lady Joy had four grand-children: Maurice Anthony Lloyd, D'Andre Edwin Smith, Terrence Jason Bell, and Christopher Michael Bell. She also had one great-grandson, Elric Lloyd.
The Queen's Ministry:
First and foremost, Lady Joy was a great woman of God. Lady Joy spent 35 years proclaiming and teaching the Word of God, counseling the broken and hurting, and ministering healing to the sick and afflicted. A phenomenal pastor's wife, Lady Joy was the founding first lady of the Hamilton Memorial Church of God in Christ and she worked and prayed tirelessly to help carve out that ministry. As the first lady of the Greater Victory Church of God in Christ, she was known as "the fragrance and the flower" of the house, partly in recognition of her physical beauty and gracious manner, but even more because of the loveliness of her inner man, as she modeled an example of godly womanhood and challenged the saints to live victoriously.
As her husband rose to prominence, Lady Joy rose with him, gracefully filling the roles of jurisdictional first lady, wife of the General Secretary of the national church, and wife of a General Board member. Lady Joy's abundant spiritual gifts propelled her out into the larger body of Christ and she ministered across the country at conferences, revivals, on television and in foreign countries.
Lady Joy was a strong advocate for women in the ministry - by precept and example, she birthed many spiritual daughters who would go on to labor in the Word, becoming fruitful pastor's wives, evangelists, missionaries, and teachers. Lady Joy also counted pastors, evangelists, and preachers among her spiritual sons. Lady Joy had a tender heart for pastor's wives, understanding their struggles and hardships. For ten years, she hosted a banquet to honor and bless pastor's wives and she was always available to share her experience and wisdom. Lady Joy also had a special gift for ministering to women who had suffered abuse and she pioneered workshops in this sensitive area at the national Women's Convention.
In 1993, Lady Joy was afflicted with Sarcoidosis, a potentially fatal disease. Throughout her year-long illness, Lady Joy never lost her assurance that God would bring her through victoriously - in spite of debilitating weakness and pain, she continued to minister around the country, never missing or canceling even one ministry appointment. At the end of that year, God miraculously healed her of Sarcoidosis and Lady Joy used her triumphant testimony to minister to Christian women living with illnesses such as cancer and lupus.
Only in heaven will the full impact of her life be known, but thousands can testify that their lives were permanently impacted by her anointed ministry.
The Queen's Final Journey:
On January 29, 2009, Lady Joy was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. During the months that followed, she endured the pain of her illness, several rounds of chemotherapy, and radiation therapy with grace and courage, serving as a powerful example of faith and trust during difficult times. On January 15, 2010, Lady Joy departed the earthly tabernacle of her body and entered the presence of the Lord.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy...Jude 1:24
Arrangements under the direction of Mission Memorial Park and Seaside Funeral Home, Seaside, CA.