Cover photo for Joy Lynn Solberg's Obituary
1947 Joy 2023

Joy Lynn Solberg

September 8, 1947 — December 28, 2023

Ellensburg, Washington

Joy L. Solberg, 76, longtime Ellensburg resident, passed away on Thursday, December 28, 2023 at the UW Medical Center in Seattle. Her memorial service will be conducted at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 13, 2024 at Mercer Creek Church in Ellensburg with urn committal to follow at the IOOF Cemetery. Viewing for family and friends will be from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 11, 2024 at Johnston & Williams in Ellensburg.

Joy was born on September 8, 1947 in Portland, Oregon, one of two daughters born to Cornelius and Emma (Long) VanderMaas. She grew up in northeast Portland and graduated from Jefferson High School in 1965. After taking a year off to go skiing and exploring around Sun Valley, Idaho, Joy returned to Portland and earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Portland State University in 1970.

In 1971, Joy was introduced by a mutual friend to a young and handsome medical student named Don Solberg. Two weeks after a somewhat comical series of events surrounding their “first date” - a hiking/camping trip that the two took to Denny Creek - they fell in love. Don proposed six weeks after that and they were married on June 17, 1972. They celebrated 51 years of marriage this past summer.

As a young adult, Joy worked as a telephone operator and computer specialist for AT&T in Seattle until she and Don moved to Greeley, Colorado where Don completed his Family Medicine internship and residency and Joy worked for the local telephone company until the birth of their first daughter, Jessica. After residency they moved to Granby, Colorado, where Don worked as a small town rural physician twenty miles from the nearest hospital. Joy volunteered with the local mental health board, and was a full-time mother. Daughter Kristin was born during this time. Joy looked back at this time as a bit isolating, but loved the great local skiing. In December of 1978, the Solberg family moved to Ellensburg where Don began practicing medicine in January 1979, and they have made their home here since that time.

During Joy’s years in Ellensburg she was heavily involved in the community including being a longtime member of PEO, serving eight years as a member of the Ellensburg School Board (with part of that time as Board President) and was also a founding member of Jazz in the Valley and the Laughing Horse Arts Foundation.

She will be remembered for her beautiful smile, upbeat personality and for the way she genuinely loved each and every one of her family and friends. One of her good friends summed up some of her qualities that will be missed most: “Joy would place her hands on both sides of your face and speak directly to you. She made sure that you were hearing her. Then, she confirmed and reinforced your qualities. She was able to lift you up from a dark place or simply shift your focus to remind you how much she cherished you. Every minute with Joy was a gift.”

Joy is survived by her husband of 51 years, Dr. Don Solberg, daughters Jessica (David) Black  and Kristin (Jon McClelland) Solberg, grandsons Daxton and Patrick, all from Ellensburg; as well as her sister, Kay Brown of Texas, and a very large network of extended family and dear friends. She was preceded in death by her parents.

Memorial contributions in Joy’s honor are suggested to the Laughing Horse Arts Foundation, PO Box 214, Ellensburg, WA 98926.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Johnston & Williams of Ellensburg. Online condolences may be left for the family at

To send flowers to the family in memory of Joy Lynn Solberg, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, January 11, 2024

10:00am - 4:00 pm (Pacific time)

Evenson Memorial Chapel at Johnston & Williams

301 East 3rd Avenue, Ellensburg, WA 98926

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Pacific time)

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Photo Gallery

Visits: 3

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers