Joyce Gorton

Joyce Gorton, age 78, died at her home with a heart filled with gratitude and love on February 20, 2023 after a short battle with cancer. She was born in Ellsworth, Kansas, on February 24, 1945 to Henry (Hank) Hoffman and Helen (Branda) Hoffman.

Joyce attended grade school and graduated from Kanopolis High School in 1963. She continued her education at Kansas Wesleyan and graduated with a degree in Home Economics in 1967. She taught school in Wilson and Hays, Kansas, before moving back to Salina and working as head of the accounting department at Grain Belt Supply before retiring in 2006 after 30 years.

Joyce’s love of music started at early age. At age 14 Joyce begin playing for the Kanopolis United Methodist church. She continued to take piano lessons her entire life from individual instructors to college professors at Ft. Hays State, Bethany, and most recently Kansas Wesleyan. She also traveled to Old Bennington, Vermont, each summer for a week long piano camp. Joyce played many years at University Methodist with Harry Huber, she also played at Trinity United Methodist, Sunrise Presbyterian, Russell United Methodist, Brookville United Methodist, Christ Cathedral and most recently at 1st United Methodist in Salina. She started there in October of 2020. The piano was her love.¬†She enjoyed classical and sacred music and practiced daily. Her real love was accompanying the 1st United Methodist Choir and playing with organist Julie Tuttle. She was part of a group of pianist that met periodically from around the country on Zoom to share their talents. Joyce and Carolyn Hofer did an almost annual Christmas “house concert” at the Gorton home and often played at other venues together. Joyce, Carolyn and 3 other ladies led a successful campaign to purchase 2 new grand pianos for Kansas Wesleyan.

Joyce and Gordon met on a dating site, Yahoo Personals, in October of 2004. Joyce was the only person Gordon contacted. They soon discovered they had graduated from KWU together, knew each other but didn’t date. They married in June of 2005. Gordon lived in Russell at the time and for a year they had an “interstate” marriage. They built a home in Russell together and enjoyed the hours of planting and landscaping. Joyce had a “green thumb” and loved planting, watching the seed grow and mature into a beautiful flower or garden vegetable. Their home is surrounded by flowers. They decided to move back to Salina in 2011 as Gordon was President of the alumni at KWU and they were in town often for alumni functions as well as enjoying the Salina Symphony and Theatre Salina performances. Gordon and Joyce both shared a love of cats and you will find Macro and Valentine running the house now. Joyce served as KWU Auxiliary Secretary/Treasurer, volunteer at Prairie Land Market and Salina Shares, was also on the Board of Directors of Tall Grass Women’s retreat at Matfield Green. Joyce supported several students attending an Indian School in South Dakota and belonged to several national conservation and environmental groups. Joyce and Gordon spent hours on summer evenings sitting on their screened porch watching birds, squirrels, deer come to their feeders. Joyce was always grateful God had allowed her to watch another sunset. Last Fall Joyce received the KWU Alumni Service award for the year 2023! Gordon and Joyce share a common love for KWU as Gordon received the same award in 2019.

Joyce was buried in a private service. She chose a “natural or green” burial at the Heart Land Prairie Cemetery just west of Niles on the Niles Road. Like our forefathers her grave will become part of the prairie.

Joyce will be missed by many. Her engaging smile and aura brightened their day. Let her “little light” shine through you.

Joyce is survived by her husband Gordon of the home in Salina, a sister Eloise Ray of Boise, Idaho, brother Jeff Hoffman and wife Jody of Kanopolis, cousin David Branda of Goodland, her piano duet partner Carolyn Hofer, and many friends.

A Memorial service will be held on Tuesday, March 12, 2024 at 10:30 AM in the First United Methodist Church; 122 N. 8th, Salina, KS 67401. Memorials can be sent to the music ministry at First United Methodist Church; 122 N. 8th, Salina, Kansas 67401.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Roselawn Burial and Cremation Services. Online condolences may be sent to