Joyce Ann (Helton) Acosta

March 12, 1949 - January 18, 2020

Wife, Mother, Sister, Friend, Teacher, YaYa, Role Model and Fan. Joyce Ann Helton had a selfless impact on everyone she touched. Born in Santa Rita, New Mexico on March 12, 1949 to Joyce and George Helton, Joyce naturally embraced her role as a big sister and caretaker to her baby brother, Robert Wayne. The comfort of his voice on the other end of the phone brought her amazing peace, especially over the last few months as she fought an unjust battle with cancer. From the beginning until she said her last goodbye, Joyce relished in watching, teaching, feeding, and supporting those she loved.

At Cobre High School in Bayard, New Mexico, Joyce became a fan and fell in love with the man who would eventually be her number one, Arnold “Skip” Acosta - and the story began. Over their 49 years, 3 kids, 5 grandkids, and an infinite number of friends who became family (you all know who you are) shaped the world of which Joyce was incredibly proud of. Joyce’s three children, Chelsie, Jeramie, and Adam, quickly became her cornerstone at home, on the soccer field, the basketball and volleyball court, the baseball diamond, political stage and every stage each of the kids stood on. If you interacted with Joyce, you knew she loved every moment she could boast about her kids. In 2004, the cornerstone grew when her first grandson came into the world, and until her last breath, the 5 grandkids (Jackson, Monroe, Porter, Barcelona, and Angeles) were Joyce’s most cherished gift. They will always know YaYa’s unconditional love for them through her smile, encouragement, hugs, and personal notes in every book.

Joyce found her passion and legacy in dedicating decades of service to educating our children and supporting the discovery of their own unique journeys. Her acceptance, understanding, and unwavering patience made her more than an educator - Mrs. Acosta was a child’s inspiration. From encouraging a first grader to drawing a tree on the chalkboard in front of the entire class, to cheering on her students from the sidelines for years after they left her classroom, Mrs. Acosta was and will always be standing behind her students.

Joyce’s love of God showed in her service to family and friends across the globe, and in her faithful dedication to the Catholic Church. Joyce was preceded in death by her father, George, her mother, Joyce, brother Vernon George, her aunts Billy Jean, Evelyn, and Sally, her uncle, Howard, and her cousins, Ivan and Troy. She is survived by her husband, Skip; her 3 children, Chelsie, Jeramie (Gary), Adam (Jessica); and her 5 grandkids, Jackson “Jack”, Monroe “Roe”, Porter “Port”, Lona “Missy”, and Angeles “Leo”. She is also survived by her brother, Robert (Judy); nephew, Brandon; her uncle, Bob; cousins, Denny and family, Billy Ray and family, her sister-in-law, Diane, her two brothers-in-law, Mike (Madeline) and Tim (Jan), Bobbie Acosta; cousins, Dickey, Dianna, Chaco, Peggy, Becky, Gail, Mickey; and her Acosta nieces and nephews. 

Special gratitude for the love and support through life to BJ Johnson and family, Audra Woolstenhulme and family, John and Linda Green, and the Taylor family. 

A Celebration of Joyce’s life will be held from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm, on Friday, January 24, 2020, at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, UT. Guests are encouraged to use the complimentary valet parking provided on the north side of the building.

Recitation of the Holy Rosary will begin at 10:00 am, on Saturday, January 25, followed by the celebration of the Funeral Mass at 11:00 am at St. Vincent Catholic Church, 1375 Spring Lane, Salt Lake City, UT. All are invited to the luncheon immediately following.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in honor of Joyce can be made to the Nano Nagle Children’s Center at St.Vincent de Paul Parish School to carry on Mrs. Acosta’s love of children and education.  

Donations can be made online, please designate donation to: Nano Nagle

Or by mail: 

In Honor of Joyce Ann (Helton) Acosta

Nano Nagle Children’s Center 1385 E. Spring Lane Holladay, 84117