Joyce Milsap, Ronnie Milsap’s Wife of More Than 50 Years, Dead at 81

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Ronnie Milsap is a legendary performer, and Joyce was at his side for his entire career. She passed away Monday. However, her cause of death is unclear at this time, but it is known that she battled leukemia in the past.

Joyce’s cousin threw a dinner party and the soon-to-be couple met there that night. Before long, they were deeply in love. Joyce and Ronnie Milsap tied the knot in 1965. Their romance would burn bright for more than five decades, according to Taste of Country.

However, Joyce wasn’t just the star’s wife. She was, in a way, his muse. She was his inspiration. About this, Milsap said, “When people tell me they love my music I always smile, because that music is pure Joyce.” In fact, she was the one who convinced him to move to Nashville and pursue a career in music. The Hall of Famer is trying to keep his spirits up at this time. “Blessedly/Thankfully, she’s in heaven with our Todd.” He added that he knows that his late wife is still with him every step of the way, as she was from the day they met.

 Joyce didn’t just convince Ronnie Milsap to pursue his career. She helped him along the way. She would help him load his gear in at shows in the early days. Joyce was also there when songwriters pitched her husband songs. She would help him decide which ones to cut.

Currently, Milsap has 35 chart-topping singles and has notched 49 top-ten hits. Without Joyce’s influence, his career may not have been as successful. More importantly, Milsap wouldn’t have been as happy as he was or had such a solid rock to lean on in the hard times.

Artists and Friends Mourn Joyce Milsap’s Passing

 Members of the Oak Ridge Boys formed a close friendship with the Milsaps over the years. Yesterday, the band tweeted about her passing. “Joyce and Ronnie Milsap have had a renowned and well-known romance through 54 years of marriage,” the post began. The post went on to announce that Joyce had “passed on to Glory,” earlier that day. The Oak Ridge Boys closed the tweet by sending love and prayers to Ronnie Milsap.

Soul singer Sam Moore took to Facebook to mourn the loss of Joyce Milsap. According to his post, Moore became friends with the couple five decades ago. About Joyce, Moore said, “Joyce had leukemia and she suffered for many years with it and from it. She was an amazing wonderful woman, a devoted wife, a loving mother, and a dear dear dear friend.” Moore ended his heartfelt post with, “Rest in Heaven, Joyce Milsap let God hold you in his arms and be with the angels.”