Dr. Joye Ann Billow, 70, of Brookings died Friday, December 6, 2013, at Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls after a brief battle with cancer, which she faced in a straightforward manner and with much grace.
Joye was born July 28, 1943, in Middletown, Pennsylvania, to Mary D. (Pierce) and Schuyler E. Billow. She graduated from Middletown High School in 1961. She received BS in pharmacy and a PHD in medicinal chemistry from Temple University in 1967 and 1972. She practiced pharmacy during her college years and joined the SDSU College of Pharmacy faculty in 1972. She was a professor of pharmaceutical sciences and a licensed pharmacist throughout her career.
During her 30 years as a professor, she trained scores of students to take their place in the professional field. These pharmacists work across South Dakota and throughout the nation and the world. Some have joined the faculty of pharmacy schools across the region.
She was a valued mentor to many young women as a teacher and faculty adviser to Kappa Epsilon Fraternity for women—Chi Chapter. During her 29-year tenure in that position she won the Outstanding Advisor Award, the Unicorn Award, and the Career Achievement Award. She also guided the fraternity to become Outstanding Collegian KE Chapter for 2002-2003.
Mentoring female students became an important part of her career as more women entered the field. These students sought her out for advice and information about women’s role in the profession.
She was a volunteer on many pharmacy college committees and helped organize the annual phonathon to raise money for the college. She helped preserve the college’s history by co-authoring a booklet to commemorate its 100th anniversary in 1988.
Working with the SDSU academic vice president, Joye wrote the self-study that earned re-accreditation for the institution by the North Central Association in 1990. The document was named best of the year and became a model for those at other institutions.
She was also chair and vice chair of the SDSU Academic Senate.
She was recognized for her career accomplishments by being named an SDSU Woman of Distinction in 2002. She retired from the university that year.
Her work with women also extended into the Brookings community. Joye was a founding member of the Brookings Women’s Center and served on its board until it closed. She helped established the Brookings Domestic Abuse Shelter. She and her students continued to volunteer time there.
Joye also helped establish the Brookings Hospice organization and was board president for several years.
She was an active member of the Brookings Altrusa and was chair of the board for several years. She and other volunteers organized the popular annual game dinners that were fundraisers for Altrusa charities. She also volunteered for the local chapter of the American Association of University Women. She helped organize the annual book drive and helped plan luncheons to raise money for reading programs.
The SDSU Foundation called upon her to join its women and giving program, a group that provides opportunities for women on and off campus. She has also endowed a Women’s Leadership Award for Kappa Epsilon fraternity members that bears her name.
Joye was an artist who focused primarily on painting and drawing throughout her life. After retiring from teaching, she became an art student and produced pieces that have been featured in local shows. She was a board member of the Brookings Arts Council.
Joye traveled the country and the world after retirement. She spent time in India, Iceland, Europe and Australia. She developed a love for photography during these trips and also took photos locally when she was in Brookings.
Joye is survived by several cousins in Pennsylvania. Other survivors include many friends who will miss her warm smile, can do attitude, and generosity. She was preceded in death by her parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
A visitation will take place Friday, December 13, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Eidsness Funeral Home. Friends may share their memories of Joye through Eidsness Funeral Home. Burial of the ashes will be at Woodlawn Memorial Gardens in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In lieu of flowers, Joye asked that donations be sent can be sent to the SDSU Foundation in the name of the Joye Ann Billow Women’s Leadership Award for Kappa Epsilon.
– Written by Mary Perpich, Friend & Colleague, Retired SDSU Journalism Professor
– Article and photo provided courtesy of Eidsness Funeral Home, Brookings, South Dakota