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Zelda “Joyce” Rollen


Zelda “Joyce” Rollen, 73, of Orange Park, Florida, passed away on Friday, June 23, 2023.

Joyce was born to Grayson and Zaidee Rollen on November 21, 1949, and grew up in Selma, Alabama, where she graduated as the Valedictorian of Parrish High School in 1968.

While majoring in Chemistry at Auburn University, she participated in a cooperative research program at the CDC in Atlanta. She earned her B.S. in 1973.

Joyce was an avid reader and a classic film buff. Her love of movies led her to work at three theatres, including the historical Wilby Theatre in Selma and the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

She spent several years at the CDC before moving to Orange Park, FL in 1982. She worked briefly for the Naval Drug Screening Lab prior to settling into a longer career as a chemical engineer for the Naval Air Depot.

She was the most extraordinary mix of southern, country girl, brilliant, methodical scientist, and soft-hearted friend and advocate for every human and critter she ever met.

Her smile was a sly invitation, and her laugh would pull you into a world viewed through a storyteller’s eyes. She joked that she had a knack for making a short story long. That she did, and she did so with such joy and enthusiasm that she made you feel as if you’d lived it right along with her.

Joyce opened her heart and home to a Dutch exchange student in 1989. She loved being a host mom so much that she welcomed seven more students from around the world. She cherished her “kids” throughout her life and traveled across the globe to visit them and their families. She also treasured her international adventures with her dear friends and niece.

She had a deep faith and lived a life of service, whether helping friends, family, her church, or community members. She was a devoted volunteer for Kairos and Kairos Outside, ministering to prisoners and their families. She was the Linen Queen at The Clothes Closet and Food Pantry, where she spent years washing, meticulously folding, and organizing linens for community members in need.

Joyce was preceded in death by her father and mother, Grayson and Zaidee Rollen, and her beloved big brother Terry Rollen. She is survived by her sister-in-law Terry, niece Suzanne, nephew Scott and his wife Stephanie, grandnephew Justin, and grandniece Audrey, as well as her international kids and 11 grandkids.

The family will receive friends on Saturday, August 12, 2023, at 9:30 AM at Orange Park United Methodist Church, 2051 Park Ave., Orange Park, FL. The service will start at 10:00 AM, led by Rev. Bob Standifer and Rev. Linda Standifer, and will be followed by a reception in the Fellowship Hall.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to:

The Clothes Closet and Food Pantry

P.O. Box 2892 Orange Park, FL 32067