In her 20’s she allowed a friend who was going to cosmetology school at the time, practice an “afro” haircut on her. From that “fuzzy” haircut and her last name being Fusner, her nickname originated and she became Joyce “Fuzzy” Fusner. Whether you know her as Joyce or Fuzzy, she is a fun loving and active member of the St. Matthew’s family.
Joyce is a liturgist, an active choir and CIA member, and helps the Layman’s group when she can. Joyce says that due to Covid and the changes it has caused in the church, she has missed choir immensely. She is looking forward to the return of singing again and the fellowship of the choir. One of Joyce’s favorite memories is participating in the amazing “Spring Fling” skits with all the wonderful CIA ladies. She says each year they try and top the last fun filled hysterical performance!
When Joyce is not busy at St. Matthew’s, she is doing imaging work at Berkone, a subdivision of Berkheimer Tax Administrator. Joyce also works on title releases and title maintenance for cars, RVs, boats, and other vehicle types. She has worked at Berkone for eight years and enjoys it “most days” she jokingly says.
At home, Joyce is a huge Packers fan, which you could tell as she wore her favorite Packers shirt the day the pictures were taken for this article. She also likes to paint ceramics and rug hook. Joyce proudly took 2nd place at the West End Fair for a rug hook that she completed. Most of all, Joyce enjoys watching all her grandkids; her daughter’s three children and all her “adopted grandkids” as she calls them. She came to the Easter Egg Hunt this year with all the little ones in tow and you could hear her cheering them all on and laughing with them during the festivities.
By her side for the last 39 years, is Joyce’s husband Gerald. Their story started in a bar at the Goodwill Fire Company in Reading where they lived. There they attended the Twin Churches on the Hill in Muhlenberg. Joyce was baptized, confirmed, and married there, along with her daughter, Jamie who was also baptized there. In 2008, Joyce, Gerald, and Jamie moved to Kunkletown and their family became members of St. Matthew’s in 2009. St. Matthew’s was the first “little church” Joyce had ever belonged to. Back then, she was on the committee to find a new Pastor after Pastor Joe retired. Joyce watched Pastor Suzanne’s application video and is so glad she is now St. Matthew’s inspirational steward.
When asked what makes her feel a connection to God, Joyce responds, “When I help someone or being here at church.” She says that her favorite bible verse is Psalm 23 and proudly admits that she has it memorized. When asked what she was most thankful for, she says her daughter and her grandkids, all of them. She also asks for our church family members to say a few prayers for her husband, Gerald, as right now he could use a few extra.
One interesting fact about our “Fuzzy” that most may not know is that she was an avid bowler! She was a member of the Ladies 600 Club, where you have to have bowled 600 points in only three games. Her highest score was 279 points in one game!
Joyce has another love of her life, her Dory. Dory is a 6-year-old mix who was rescued by the Goofy Foot dog rescue in Tennessee. Joyce talks about her canine companion with a huge smile on her face and says Dory loves to run. Here’s hoping Fuzzy can keep up with her fuzzy four-legged friend!
Gabrielle Bentley, or Gabby as she likes to be called, was born in Allentown and lived in Bath. Then, at the age of 5 she moved to Kunkletown and started school at Pleasant Valley Elementary. She later graduated Cum Laude from Pleasant Valley High School in June of 2012. Gabby loves to take care of her family animals. They have three dogs and three birds. The dogs are mini pinschers and the one bird is a green cheek conure, while the other two are parrotlets. Parrotlets and conures are both types of small parrots.
St. Matthew’s is very lucky to have Gabby as a member. Many people have their home church chosen for them when they are baptized as infants or young children; however, in Gabby’s case she chose St. Matthew’s herself and was baptized and confirmed here at the age of 13.
Gabby is active with St. Matthew’s UCC and is currently a member on the church Council and is involved with Christians in Action (CIA). She is also an inspirational Sunday School teacher. She helps with all the Christian Education activities, such as Family Fun Nights and Vacation Bible School. As it happens, one of Gabby’s favorite memories at St. Matthew’s is from when she first volunteered as a leader for VBS several years ago.
Not only is Gabby active as a volunteer at St. Matthew’s, but she is also generous with her time at the West End Food Pantry and occasionally at the Kunkletown Thrift Store. When she is not volunteering, Gabby works part-time as a food service employee at the Pleasant Valley Middle School. This December, she will have been working there for seven years straight and enjoying every minute!
In what little free time Gabby has, her interests include reading, listening to music, creating diamond art, loom knitting and watching tv. She especially likes watching NASCAR racing! In fact, she, her younger brother Alex and her family have traveled to several raceways on the east coast including the Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va. and Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. The furthest Gabby has ever traveled from home was when she visited the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fl. for Jeff Gordon’s last NASCAR race.
Gabby enjoys traveling and has been up and down the east coast vacationing in Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Vermont and West Virginia.
One of Gabby’s favorite places where she feels closest to God is out on a boat, in the summer, at the Virginia shore while listening to the waves and the seagulls. She loves to close her eyes, feel the sun and the rock of the boat. When asked what she was most thankful for, Gabby said her family, her church family and for being alive.
As the longest living member of St. Matthew’s UCC, Constance Andrews, is a beautiful soul and only 103 years young. Born in Smith Gap, Constance was baptized in her home, as was the practice back in the day. Her father, who had been a schoolteacher, moved her and their family into Kunkletown when she was just 6. She completed school through the 8th grade and then attended high school in Palmerton at around 13 years old. She rode the Chestnut Ridge railroad to and from school for the four years of high school, as there were few cars at the time. Constance then went on to attend East Stroudsburg college for two years resulting in her getting a teaching degree. She began teaching third and fourth grade at Eldred Elementary. She went on to teach grades 1-8 in a one room schoolhouse. As she speaks of her teaching history, it is evident that she loved her career, which spanned over 63 years teaching full-time and substituting at many schools in Monroe County.
Constance appreciates the beauty of life. She creates her own beauty by working in her garden and by creating unique scherenschnitte projects. Scherenschnitte is the art of cutting paper into decorative, intricate and unique designs.
Constance says that she is unable to make it to church right now due to COVID-19; however, her way of staying close to God is by talking to Him. When asked what she was most thankful for in her life, she simply stated, “her family.”
Constance stated that recently Betty Meckes, a former pupil, called her and they had a nice conversation. Sharp as a tack and funny, Constance is a definite joy to converse with. She did want to let the community know that she misses seeing everyone and hopes to be out and about once COVID-19 is under control.