Knox County Sports Legend Terry Joyce Dies In St. Charles
By David Sharp
Edina native Terry Joyce of Weldon Springs, Missouri died
Friday, June 17, 2011 after a three-year fight with brain cancer. Joyce is the
only Knox County R-I graduate, and one of the few Northeast Missouri natives to
play in the National Football League.
Terry Joyce was born July 18, 1954, the son of Pete and Eileen
Joyce of Edina. Terry’s brothers Tim Joyce and Ted Joyce were also standout
athletes at Knox County High School. Terry’s sister Tracey Joyce was a
four-year Eagle cheerleader. Ted Joyce played college football for Missouri
Pete Joyce was one of the founding fathers of the current Knox
County R-I athletic program. He raised thousands of dollars in private
contributions to build Ella Campbell Field and the Eagle field house.
The weight room for all KCHS physical education and home football
locker rooms are in the field house.
A picture of Pete Joyce currently stands in one of the Eagle
trophy cases as a memorial to “Our Number One Fan.” Terry Joyce attended St.
Joseph Elementary School in Edina, where he was a three-sport standout.
Terry began a stellar career at Knox County High School in 1968.
Joyce started three years in football, basketball, and baseball. Terry Joyce
was a mainstay on the Eagle golf team also lettering in track and field.
Terry played for at least three Hall of Fame coaches during his
St Louis Football Cardinal and San Diego Chargers coach Don
Coryell is a member of the NFL Hall of Fame. Knox County won their second boy’s
basketball district championship in 1971. Terry Joyce was an all conference
player on that team.
Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Famer Kenny
Roberts coached the Eagles to1965 and 1971 district titles. Assistant coach
Laverne Dabney is a member of the Truman State University Athletic Hall of
“I coached Terry (Joyce) in baseball and basketball,” Kenny
Roberts told the Edina Sentinel. “He was a tremendous athlete. He was smart. He
was just about a step ahead of everybody else.”
“He was an athlete you didn’t have to worry about. He was going
to be there every day,” Kenny Roberts said. “He was a tremendous baseball
pitcher. He threw hard. He had a great curve ball. We won a lot of baseball
“Of course he was a great football player,” Coach Roberts said.
“He could throw the football half way down the field. He was just a great
natural athlete. His presence on the basketball court made us pretty tough year
“I enjoyed coaching Terry very much,” said the former Knox
County R-I coach and high school principal. “Pete always told me to make him
work. I never had a nickel’s worth of trouble with him at school. He was a good
student. He was just a good person.”
Several Knox County alumni offered thoughts about playing with
perhaps the best male athlete in school history.
David Allen was a starting wide receiver on the first Knox
County Eagle winning football team in 1971. The current Canton, Missouri
businessman also caught Terry Joyce on the Eagle baseball team as well as in
“The main memory I have of Terry was catching baseball for him
and how hard he could throw,” 1972 Knox County R-I graduate David Allen said.
“He had an intimidation factor with opposing teams with his size
and speed. After every game, my hand was swelled up pretty badly, but I
wouldn’t admit it to anybody.”
“He could throw the football about as far as anybody that has
every played at Knox County. He wasn’t a ball hog like he could have been,”
David Allen said. “He shared the ball with everybody. I remember his old ’54
Chevy his grandmother had that we used to run around in.”
“Terry Joyce was a senior when I was a freshman football player
at Knox County,” Edina resident Duane Hall told the Edina Sentinel.
“Terry was always very respectful of me, even though I was an
underclassman. He respected any player that had ability. He was a team player.”
“He always liked anybody that had the same interests as he did,”
the former Eagle and Central Methodist College football player said. “I met up
with Terry in college. He did a fantastic job punting the football.”
“A lot of players on my team commented that Terry Joyce could be
punting in the pros,” Duane Hall said. “Terry invited me to work out with him
before he went to the St. Louis Cardinals to be a punter. He encouraged me to
keep up with my football career.”
“Terry Joyce was just a good old home boy. He can be remembered
as a person that wanted to see other people from his home town succeed,” Duane
Terry Joyce graduated from Knox County High School in 1972. He
was offered a professional baseball contract by the Cincinnati Reds but elected
to attend Highland Community College in Kansas.
Terry starred in football, baseball and basketball at Highland.
He participated in track and field.
Terry Joyce later became a member of the Highland Community College
Athletic Hall of Fame.
Terry Joyce moved on to Missouri Southern State University at
Joplin where he led the nation in punting with a 44 yard per kick average.
Joyce became an All American football player for the Lions as a punter and
The Eagle standout signed a free agent contract with the St.
Louis Football Cardinals in 1976. Joyce made the team in training camp, punting
for the Big Red the entire 1976 season and half of the 1977 NFL campaign.
Terry Joyce tried out for the Detroit Lions and played for the
Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. Pro football players of the 1970’s
did not have the six figure minimum salaries of today.
Terry was hired by the Rawlings Sporting Goods Company of St.
Louis. He later joined a St. Louis area Miller brewing company distributor as a
Terry Joyce moved on to one of the largest adult beverage
distributors in the Midwest. Joyce had an 18-year career with Major Brands, one
of the top Missouri businesses in terms of sales and coverage area.
After rising to the top of the football world, Terry Joyce ascended
to the upper levels of the St. Louis area business community. He eventually
became the General Manager and Vice President of Sales as well as part owner of
NFL Alumni spokesperson Jim Morris offered this comment to the
Edina Sentinel from his New Jersey office.
“The NFL Alumni wants to tell the Joyce family that the thoughts
and prayers of the entire NFL Alumni organization are with them as they go
through this time.”
“Terry Joyce had a tremendous impact on the football community,”
Jim Morris said. “He sat on the St. Louis NFL Alumni Board of Directors. He
touched many lives with his work with the NFL Alumni, and also during his
bought with cancer.”
Terry Joyce played in numerous charitable golf tournaments for
Missouri Southern State, the NFL Alumni and many others. Joyce was a
championship flight golfer until the final years of his life.
Terry played with at least four NFL Hall of Famers. Defensive
back Roger Wehrli, offensive lineman Dan Dierdorf, tight end Jackie Smith and
coach Don Coryell are enshrined at Canton, Ohio.
Big Red guard Conrad Dobler was one of the most feared men in
the NFL during his ten year playing career. Dobler was a Pro Bowler in 1975, 76
Conrad Dobler currently works for the NFL Alumni in their Kansas
City office. According to NFL Alumni spokesman Jim Morris, the St. Louis NFL
Alumni chapter has disbanded. Conrad Dobler offered these comments to the Edina
“He was bigger than life,” Conrad Dobler said of his St. Louis
Cardinal teammate. “I had the opportunity to play with Terry Joyce for two
years. He was one of the biggest punters ever in the NFL. He could really boot
“He was a really good guy. If you needed anything, Terry was
there to help you,” Conrad Dobler said. “Terry certainly gave back to the
community he lived in. That’s what made him special. He could have probably had
a nice career as a tight end and a punter.”
“We had a pretty good tight end in Hall of Famer Jackie Smith
and JV Cain. More yards are exchanged in the punting game than any other facet
of the football game,” Conrad Dobler said.
“He covered more yards than anyone else. He had more yards than
(running backs) Terry Metcalf and Jim Otis put together. Most kickers and
punters are kind of strange guys,” Dobler said.
“That wasn’t Terry. He was right in the middle of it all in practice,”
Conrad Dobler said. “He ran the opposing defenses for us in practice. Outside
of football, he always made sure I had engagements to do when he worked for the
Conrad Dobler had national endorsements for Miller Beer. Dobler
was one of the Miller All Stars of his era. “He took care of his own. He helped
raise a lot of money for charity. Terry got involved. If you knew Terry, you
couldn’t not like the guy.”
All Clarence Cannon Conference basketball player at Knox County
and current Marceline High School teacher Brian McGlothlin offered the
following comment on playing with Terry Joyce at Knox County.
“Terry was the finest teammate anyone could ask for in sports.
He had a great sense of humor and quick wit,” the 1971 Eagle boys’ district
champion basketball player said.
“When he walked onto the baseball diamond, the football field or
the basketball court he became the most intense and focused person I ever knew.
I don’t think there is any question he was the best all around athlete Knox
County High School ever saw,” Brian McGlothlin said.
“What many people do not realize is the level of fierce competitiveness
he possessed. As his teammate, I was often caught up in the middle of the game
just watching him perform.”
“He was one of my sports heroes growing up,” Milan head
football coach and Knox County R-I graduate John Dabney said. “I remember sitting
in a third grade classroom at St. Joe and feeling the thrill when I heard Terry
Joyce had made the St. Louis Cardinals football team.”
“I looked through a lot of Topps Football Cards before I got
Terry’s card,” John Dabney said. “I still have the card today. I don’t think
Terry really got the recognition he deserved in Knox County. He was a great
athlete, no doubt the best athlete ever at Knox County.”
Terry Joyce is survived by his brothers Tim and Ted, his sister
Tracey Joyce along with his wife Linda (Fett) Joyce and daughter Dr. Lindsay
Ann Joyce of Weldon Springs, Missouri. A complete obituary for Terry Patrick
Joyce is published in the Edina Sentinel.
Terry Joyce went to the Saints joining his brother Thomas Kerfoot
Joyce and his son Brandon Patrick Joyce. Terry was a 1972 graduate of Knox
County High School, along with this reporter.
I was lucky enough to have a front row seat for the early days of
one great athlete and human being. Terry was universally respected by his
fellow students and teachers at Knox County R-I.
Despite not living in the community for the better part of four
decades, many of the on line tributes hosted by the Baue Funeral Home of St.
Charles, Missouri came from current Northeast Missouri residents.
It is hard to describe the thrill and pride this Knox County HS
alum felt when watching Terry Joyce dance across a network television screen
playing at the highest level of his chosen profession.
A strong case can be made for Terry Joyce to be named the most
accomplished Knox County R-I graduate. If there ever is a Knox County R-I Hall
of Fame, Terry Joyce should be a charter member.
Many people saw their best friend laid to rest in St. Charles on
Friday, June 24, 2011. Among those men and women were Warrenton, Missouri attorney
Knox County residents of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s hardly
mentioned Tim Joyce without saying Terry Joyce’s name at the same time. It was
Tim and Terry or Terry and Tim.
“Our mom liked to dress us kind of looking like twins sometimes,”
Tim Joyce told the Edina Sentinel when asked to share his memories. “Terry and
I were inseparable. We were born a year and a week apart.”
“We proceeded on to St. Joseph school in Edina, where we had a
lot of success in sports. You saw that Terry could compete at a pretty early
“He won the state punt pass and kick competition at the age of
12,” Tim Joyce said. “He came within a couple of feet of going to the national
championships in Miami.”
“One of the stories I tell about Terry is a baseball game where
we beat somebody by the ten run rule and he struck out 16 batters when 15 was
the max,” the former Knox County Eagle catcher and first baseman said.
“He kidded me that I let one get away. I told him he was so wild
that no one could catch it,” Tim Joyce said. “Terry threw the ball really
Anyone who was familiar with Tim and Terry Joyce knew that they
did not always agree on everything, especially in the heat of the moment. Tim
Joyce related a story by former Eagle player and coach Terry Morrow.
“He threw a pitch so hard that it bounced under my chest protector,”
Tim Joyce said. “I got out in front of the plate and yelled at him ‘can’t you
see the plate”? Terry said to shut up, get back there and catch.”
“Coach (Kenny) Roberts and Dad were over on the side laughing,”
Tim Joyce said. “That was kind of ironic to anybody who knew Coach Roberts.
Terry was a three-sport athlete in Junior College. He turned down a contract
with the Cincinnati Reds to go on to college.”
“Terry was proud that his only son became a professional football
player,” Tim Joyce said. Brandon Joyce played for the Las Vegas Locos of the
UFL. “He got to play in the first UFL championship game and won. Brandon Joyce
was on the off season roster of the St. Louis Rams until just before training
camp last season.
Brandon Joyce was a Division I football player, first for
Indiana University and later for Illinois State University. Lindsay Joyce was a
four starting Division I volleyball player for the University of Alabama at
“He was very proud of his kids. Lindsay is a doctor and a great
athlete herself,” Tim Joyce said. “Terry knew a lot of people. He made friends
easily,” Tim Joyce told the Edina Sentinel.
“He was as successful in his business life as he was in sports.
He always said, ‘I’m living a dream,” Tim Joyce said of his brother Terry. “For
growing up in a little town that had a high school of 400 kids, he got to live
the dream. There aren’t a lot of people that can say that.”