Joey (Joann Cramp Hill) Peace
9/28/1951 – 12/03/2017
Died in the saddle, with her boots on, doing what she loved
A devastated community, mourns the unexpected death of a prominent horse woman...
Joey Peace, joint master of the Aiken Hounds, was riding in the field along with huntsman Katherine Gunter on a “live” hunt at Tod’s Hill in Aiken County. The hounds had broke cover on the line of a coyote, and were in hot pursuit of their prey, an exciting and satisfying moment for all involved, keeping an eye on the ground for holes and obstacles, appropriately calling “ware hole” as the horses gallop behind the hounds at full cry. Unfortunately, Joey’s horse tripped and fell to the ground, freakishly landing on top of Joey. The horse immediately stood up, shook himself off, as Katherine and staff waited for Joey to follow suit. (After all, an occasional fall off a horse is a common occurrence when Fox Hunting). The staff and hunt members made a gallant effort and acquired medical attention for Joey, who was rushed to the hospital, and put on life support and diagnosed with a crushed C1. Her husband Jim and close friends gathered around her hospital bed in disbelief, doing all they could to keep her alive until her sons’ Will and Jamie and family could arrive. Joey had other plans, and was taken off of life support that evening….
The horse community rallied, Jane Page Thompson, who had worked with Jim and Joey on many occasions for various benefits & events, took the reins; a challenging task welcomed by relatives and close friends that were still in disbelief.
Jim & Joey’s new home, nearing completion, was unable to accommodate guests. Close friends Sam Cato and Biffy Desmond housed Jamie and Will and family. Like clockwork, the community stepped up to the plate preparing meals, organizing meetings, to arrange the memorial service and reception.
The Memorial Service took place at 11AM Thursday, December 7th at St Thaddeus Episcopal Church, in Aiken, SC. There was standing room only as 500 plus people filed into the church. The members of Aiken Hounds were dressed in their formal hunting attire, the green coats of the staff and the black hunt coats of the members speckled with an occasional “pink” (worn by Masters) jacket felt appropriate in honor of Joey Peace. Joint Masters Linda Knox Mclean and Larry Byers, & superintendent of of Hitchcock Woods, Bennet Tucker recited readings. Katherine Gunter, Huntsman Aiken Hounds and Epp Wilson, MFH of Belle Meade Hunt recited “The Last Fence” by Will Ogilvie, and “Scatter My Ashes” by Michael Fifer followed by Epp’s blowing of the fox horn, a fairly simple instrument. The calls are basically a Morse code of short notes and long ones.
“Gone Away” is the traditional call used when hounds are in full cry and running well together. It is a specific series of long and short notes – an exciting call. It encourages the hounds that are running. It tells any missing hounds that is time to catch up and join in. It also tells the fox hunters that they are likely in for a good gallop.
“Going Home” is the call used at the end of the hunting day, signaling the end of hunting and drawing. It is a long, slow rather mournful note. It fades gradually out to nothing at the end
Joey is survived by her husband Jim; son Jamie & wife Barbara & grandson Riker; son Will & wife Tara and grandchildren Hill & Carson; sister Kathleen Hill Hartford; brother-n-laws Chuck & Tom Peace; and her beloved, faithful Labrador Nack.
First, I would like to thank everyone for being here, your presence
today and the sheer number of people here speaks volumes as to the
number of lives my mother touched here in Aiken. The support our
family has received from the community has been both gracious and
overwhelming. We would not have been able to navigate this process
without support from all of you.
I think we can all agree that they broke the mold after they made my
mother, Joey. She was absolutely an incredible woman, poised, down-
to-earth, stoic, opinionated, a force of nature never to be crossed, yet
all the while completely unassuming in her delivery and presence. She
hated the spotlight, and preferred that others get the attention and
credit. She was a gracious hostess without ever needing to be grand; a
bedrock friend who was there through the best and the worst; a
fearless and dedicated horsewoman; a fiercely independent doer, who
could get more done in an hour than most could accomplish in a day;
she was a devoted wife; a dedicated grandmother; and she was a
mother to so many more than just Will and me.
I have to wonder, or maybe just like to imagine that right now, she is
having an Amstel for breakfast, watching us, and wondering why, we
are all making such a fuss.
We all know that Joey did everything on her own terms, and just as in
everything else, Joey too, died, on her own terms. We know that she
wanted to die on a horse, and we all figured that she would succeed,
but just not this soon. However, make no mistake, Joey Peace was
doing exactly what she wanted to do, with exactly who she wanted to
do it with, when she lost her life. For her, the dream ending, was on
the back of a horse, following hounds, with her hair on fire and her
friends in hot pursuit. We should all be so lucky as she, and die living.
Die living, a life worth living.
We all know that Joey Peace was tough, some might even say that she
was John Wayne tough. I know many of her friends lovingly referred to
her as the Iron Lady, a nickname that she embodied so well, not only in
principle but also in appearance and behavior. We have all seen her
get stepped on, kicked bitten, burned, toppled and hit by all manner of
animals and objects, and I can see her today biting down on her bottom
lip, eyes welling with tears and telling herself to suck it up and rub some
dirt on it. She’ll be ok. She treated all of us, especially her sons, the
exact same way. I’m not sure if it is a rule written down somewhere, or
just a guiding principle by which she chose to live her life, but as far as
she was concerned you never went to the doctor on the same day
something happened. As a child I never got to the doctor the same day
I broke a bone, and it was almost as if she was toughening us up or
teaching us a lesson. So instead, we would complain for at least two or
three days before she would believe us. We also know she never took a
sick day, there is just too much stuff that needs to get done. I fondly
remember several months ago her thanking me for introducing her to,
of all things, Red Bull. She told me, “not only is it helpful for driving
back and forth to Aiken, but whenever I am feeling sick I just take some
medicine and drink a Red Bull in order to get things done.”
Joey, could GET THINGS DONE. You would be extremely hard pressed
to find anyone better. You need your dog buried? She’d be there in 5
minutes, shovel in hand. You need a dinner party for fifty in three
hours? No problem. She’d sort it out. When you set her on a task, it
was truly remarkable to watch, poetry in motion, knocking things out
with the ease and grace of a debutante and the force of a tank. And
just when you thought you had seen it all, when paired with my father,
the two of them could make the impossible happen for friends and
strangers alike, as if for no other reason than it had to get done, if they
didn’t do it then who would, and they certainly didn’t want to listen to
the drama and complaining of someone else screwing it up. They
perfected this art after 40 years of marriage and successfully running a
business, taking care of friends, employees and customers alike.
If Joey Peace said she was going to do something, you could count on it.
Don’t you dare comment on the manner and fashion in which she did it,
but you could count on it being done, and done better than you could
have ever expected, and if you didn’t like that, she’d tell you “Well,
Mum-mum Joey, as she is known to Hill and Carson, was an
extraordinarily proud grandmother. She relished the opportunity to
teach them both to ride a horse, and certainly not one to forget the less
glamorous tasks of cleaning tack, feeding, and mucking stalls. Most
importantly as much if on purpose if not only by emulation, Mum-mum
Joey has taught them to be polite, independent, honest self-starters.
My only regret is that my own son, Riker, will never know his
grandmother, the institution and iconic badass that we all know as Joey
As a mother, you couldn’t ask for anything more. As long as you were
comfortable with the fact that Joey was a mother to Will and I, to our
friends, to many of her friends, and to her animals. On more than one
occasion, people close to Joey, several of whom are here with us today,
have said to me “I wish Joey Peace were my mother”. As we all know
you didn’t go to her looking for a bunch of sympathy, or what you
wanted to hear. You went to her for what you needed to hear, she was
tough love personified, and we are all better for it. Spontaneous or
planned, in both Aiken and Chestertown, there were always lots of
regulars around the dinner table; whomever needed a sounding board,
tough love, a sense of family, warmth, a stiff drink, and home cooking,
preferably meatloaf, Joey was your huckleberry. This extended family
was such a staple of who my mother was, and while she was never
philosophical about it, I believe she loved being a mother to so many,
because people needed her to be. She took on this role for her dozens
of children with a ferocity and loyalty that is unmatched by any, and no
pity or quarter for the fool who ever chose to test her. Joey’s family
was hers, and she was there to protect it.
A friend of mine sent this to me in a note on Tuesday, “Mothers are
often considered the pillar of strength and backbone of the family.
Raising us up, helping heal our wounds both physical and emotional.
Teaching us to be functioning adults in this tough world.” Joey Peace
has been all of these things to so many, but Will and I both had the
privilege to call her “Mom”.