Cover photo for Joyce Trent's Obituary
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1925 Joyce 2024

Joyce Trent

June 5, 1925 — March 4, 2024

Avon

AVON — Joyce Marie (Huron) (Hutchens) Trent, a descendant of Hendricks County pioneer farmers and an accomplished businesswoman, died peacefully March 4 while in the care of Life’s Journey hospice in Avon, Ind. She was 98, having lived nearly all of those years in or near Avon.

            Joyce faced several hurdles in childhood, in part from being born just as the country was about to plunge into the Great Depression, in part from circumstances peculiar to her situation. She overcame those hurdles to lead a fulfilling life of financial success, varied interests, rewarding volunteer experiences and benevolence to public causes.

            Joyce was born on June 5, 1925, to Leroy and Myrtle (Games) Huron. Both of her parents were deaf and had met at the Indianapolis School for the Deaf. Leroy was engaged with his father in farming land that had first been farmed by his grandfather on U.S. 36 in Avon, roughly the current site of the Beechwood Center, which took its name from the farm.

            Soon after Joyce was born, Leroy became ill with stomach cancer. Myrtle’s older sister August Williams, a widow raising a 6-year-old son, came to live with them and help care for Joyce and Leroy. Leroy died when Joyce was just 19 months old. Myrtle, needing income and wanting to be around other deaf people, became a live-in domestic servant at the school for the deaf. Joyce was then raised primarily by her aunt, though her mother would visit from Indianapolis when she could. Joyce learned American Sign Language to help her communicate with her mother. Joyce and her cousin Ancel lived essentially as sister and brother. August and the two children lived in a two-story building that had housed a school in the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century. The Huron family had donated land for the school, near the present site of an Avon Fire and Rescue station on U.S. 36; when the Washington Township schools built a new school in 1916, ownership of the building had reverted to the Hurons.

            In her earliest years, Joyce was especially close to her Grandfather Seth Thomas Huron, who had taken a large role in orchestrating living arrangements after Leroy’s death. She called him her “buddy.” It was a remarkable family to have been born into. “Tom” was one of nine children of Benjamin Abbott Huron, the original homesteader of Beechwood Farm. All nine had at least some post-secondary education; they included two physicians, one lawyer, a postmistress and three college professors; each of the nine taught school at some point.

            “I have always been proud of my heritage,” Joyce has remarked.

            (The original settlers, including Benjamin’s brother Seth, had carried the “Hurin” spelling of the name. At some point, Benjamin began using “Huron.”)

            At the age of 12, Joyce took on a newspaper route, delivering the Indianapolis News to neighbors. After walking the route for a couple of years, collecting as little as 12 cents a week from each of about three dozen customers, she had enough money to buy a bicycle. She continued to deliver papers until her senior year of high school, when she took a job cooking dinner and cleaning up for a couple who both worked. As late as 2014 she boasted that she still had the bicycle.

            At her graduation in 1943, she was approached by the relative of a classmate about taking a job at a bank. The following Monday she went to work at Indiana Trust Co. (a forerunner of Merchants Bank), beginning a banking career that spanned the next 45 years. While working that first job, she was able to live with her mother in an apartment in Indianapolis. Myrtle was by now working as a domestic for an Indianapolis family.

            In December of 1945, Joyce married Arnold Hutchens, a U.S. Army veteran who had served in the Philippines during World War II. He was a native of Wabash, Ind., and the couple initially lived on his family’s farm in that area. But after a couple of years with little to do day in and day out, Joyce insisted that they move back to Avon. She was rehired by her first boss and began taking night classes in banking. Some years later she moved on to Speedway State Bank and 1st Bank and Trust; she continued to take night classes and became active in Credit Women International. She was once honored as Credit Woman of the Year in her district, and attended many conferences of the organization. Having begun as a file clerk, she  worked her way through various jobs until, by her retirement in 1988, she was vice president and loan review officer.

            Arnold died in 1985. Over the next dozen years, Joyce indulged her interests in travel, photography and nature. One of her great pleasures was volunteering as a docent at Eagle Creek Park.

            “During my high school I thought I would like to be a teacher, as I was quite often used to fill in down in the grades when a teacher was absent,” she wrote years later in remarks prepared for a luncheon presentation. “But this was not to be.”

            The Eagle Creek experience partly fulfilled that long-ago dream.

            “I took school children on trails and pointed out wildlife — flowers and trees,” she wrote. “I really enjoyed working with the kids.”

            She turned her pride in her heritage into a public benefit by funding the Huron Heritage Room at the Avon-Washington Township Library. In addition to supporting it financially, she contributed many heirlooms and family documents to the collection. She also was active in the Avon alumni association, keeping up with her former classmates. In 2015 she was recognized as one of 20 Notable People of Avon.

            In October 1997 she was married to Wendell Trent of Plainfield, who had been widowed 18 months earlier. They had been born less than three weeks apart, had grown up just a couple of miles apart, and had attended 12 years of school together at Avon. They made their home in a quaint A-frame on a farm outside North Salem for several years, spending winters in North Fort Myers, Fla. They then shared a condo near Prestwick golf course before moving into assisted living nearby.

            Together they enjoyed activities with Wendell’s family, their winters in Florida, and golf — Joyce even had a hole-in-one. Joyce retained interests in gardening and nature, especially humming birds, many of which visited feeders at their North Salem chalet, which they dubbed “Maybe Lodge.”

            Wendell passed away in March 2022.

            Though Joyce had no siblings or children of her own, she was twice blessed with “adoptive” families. The first was Ancel’s children and grandchildren, who called her “Auntie.” The second was Wendell and his three grown children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Their love and care for her were more than rewarded by her generosity and pleasant companionship.

            She was a member of the Plainfield Christian Church and the Red Hat Society.

            Services will be Friday, March 8, at the Plainfield Christian Church (800 Dan Jones Road, Plainfield, IN 46168) with visitation from 11 a.m. to noon, followed by a celebration of life and interment at North Lawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Avon-Washington Township Library.

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