Joyce Rae Nelson

Joyce began her adventure, being born Jan. 21, 1952, and God called her home Friday, July 16, 2021.

Her parents, who preceded her in death, were Thomas and Betty Ammons. They raised her in Lewiston with three brothers growing up a child of a Potlatch paper mill worker and a mother who was always at the bar or restaurant she owned and operated, enjoying the Silver Dollar Bar & Cafe the most on Main Street in Lewiston.

In 1970, she married Stephen Halterman, and they had two boys, Todd (50) and Tom (46) Halterman. In 1982, she embarked on her next adventure, being a single mom in Pasco. There, she took on managing an entire Travelodge Motel all on her own until she decided to accept an offer to move to Yakima to start a new life.

There, she settled in Wapato, Wash., and took on the new challenge of buying The Old Town Pump Saloon in Union Gap. As of last week, she was still there holding down the place, making sure her friends, families and patrons got the coldest beer in town and the best fresh food you can eat. Almost 40 years of helping her village when they needed her help or just wanted a cold beer and some conversation.

Joyce led with an infectious laugh you could hear a mile away. A never-ending bundle of energy and love of life. A tireless soul who would do anything to help others while working three jobs to keep life moving forward. A never-quit attitude and a spirit that always said, “if you’re gonna do it, do it f****** right!” Challenging anyone or anything who seemed to go against the fibers she was cut from.

Joyce shared almost 30 years with her beloved husband, Jonathon Nelson. Their adventures took them all over the country, enjoying road trips, playing dart tournaments, pool championships, and she pointed to every casino they could stop at along the way where Joyce could claim victory. Her luck in gambling found her several large six-digit payouts along the way where, like Bonnie and Clyde, they drove away giggling all the way, looking for their next stop at maybe a Yogi Bear campground or looking for her favorite novelty M&M dispenser. Boy, did she have a love for chocolate.

She had a special heart for her grandkids, Ryan (25) and Rachel (23) Halterman. Rachel is pregnant with CJ, her great-grandson, and she would have given anything to see him born in December. Babies were Joyce’s love. Spoiling them with everything she could find and bribing them to say: “Good s*** Maynard!”

Love. Nothing but love that woman wanted to share. Those that know her know that if she was giving you a piece of her mind, it was because she gave a damn and you were lucky. If you didn’t know her, you just need to know you probably shouldn’t argue back.

Joyce left us way too soon to be the angel we all need. We hope you will help us celebrate her life and love. A celebration of life will be at 2 p.m. July 31 at Old Town Pump Saloon, 3716 Main St., Union Gap, WA 98903.