Joyce Gibson Roach is an author of fiction and non-fiction, historian, folklorist, rancher and naturalist. Born in Cleburne, Texas to Ann Hartman and Dave Gibson in 1935, but raised in Jacksboro, Texas, she graduated Jacksboro High School, holds Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Texas Christian University and did post-graduate work in English at the University of North Texas. She taught English and history at Keller High School, and in-service courses for Regional XI Educational Service Center in Fort Worth where she also designed reviews for the writing portion of the first Teacher Competency Exams. She was professor on the adjunct English faculty at TCU for some twelve years, taught a variety of courses but specialized in Western Novel and Literature of the Southwest, and still teaches sessions from time to time at TCU on “Where is the Southwest?”
—is a three-time Spur Award winner from Western Writers of America for The Cowgirls, revised reprint by the University of North Texas Press; short non-fiction, “A High Toned Woman,” from Hoein’ the Short Rows, Southern Methodist University Press; short fiction, “Just As I Am,” from Women of the West, Doubleday, She received the coveted Carr P. Collins prize for non-fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters for Eats: A Folk History of Texas Foods, Texas Christian University Press, and the William E. Jary Memorial Award from the Tarrant County Historical Commission for a book of local history, Wild Rose: A Folk History of a Cross Timbers Settlement, The Donning Company and UNT Press. She was a Spur finalist for short fiction, “In Broad Daylight” from Texas Short Stories, Browder Springs Publishing, and a finalist for the Teddy Children’s Book award from the Writers League of Texas for Horned Toad Canyon, Bright Sky Press.
—is a Fellow of Texas State Historical Association, a Fellow of Texas Folklore Society, and an elected member of Texas Institute of Letters and the Philosophical Society of Texas; past president of National Horned Lizard Conservation Society; was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 2010 in the category of artists and writers.
—wrote both book and music for a folk-drama, Nancy MacIntyre: A Tale of the Prairies, which played for a two week run at the Uvalde Grand Op’ry House in 1989. A children’s Christmas play, Legend of the Animals, for which she wrote both book and music, was performed at St. Martin Episcopal Church in Uvalde in 1999. She scripted Horned Toad Canyon as a play, which was performed in 2004 at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame and at the TCU Library as a Friends of the TCU Library event. Performances were repeated at the restored historic Aztec Theatre in Albany as part of Fort Griffin Fandangle events and again in Abilene at the West Texas Literary Festival.
—edited anthologies (This Place of Memory: A Texas Perspective, UNT Press, 1992; Collective Heart: Texans in World War II, Eakin Press, 1996), contributed to anthologies in both fiction and non-fiction form; reviewed books for the Dallas Morning News and historical and literary journals; lectures and speaks to a variety of audiences; served as editor of The Pathfinder, Westlake Historical Preservation Journal; wrote occasional columns for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Northeast Edition, from 1997 to 2000.
—established Texas and Southwest book collections at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame that include books of fiction and non-fiction, documents, personal research, photographs and illustrations pertaining to ranch and rodeo women of the American West, Willis Lane Elementary in Keller that includes fiction, non-fiction, biography, and natural history of Texas, Central High School in Keller that includes fiction, non-fiction, biography, journals, maps, and artifacts pertaining to local history, history of Texas, the American Southwest and West; donated letters and documents pertaining to the J.M. Roach family, among the earliest settlers in Denton County, to the Denton County Historical Commission and Museum; given The Southwest Collection at the Alkek Library at Texas State University in San Marcos her personal writing papers, research for The Cowgirls and letters and research for C.L. Sonnichsen: Folk Historian; given Special Collections at the University of Texas at Arlington materials used for Wild Rose: A Folk History of a Cross Timbers Settlement and The Little Town That Could, Westlake, Texas: Origins and Legacies, called the Lyda White Collection, consisting of photos, documents, narratives, and like materials.
—spends much of her time at Crosswinds, the family ranch in southwest Wise County, where she wages wars over easement agreements with gas, electric, and phone companies, battles feral pigs and drought, maintains a good environment for deer, turkey, and other wildlife, tries to bring back native grasses and generally keep the place wild, cherishes the times she can show her grandchildren the right paths through the natural world, raises cattle, and wonders how to hold on to the land through drought and hard times, needs rain even after she gets plenty of it; incorporated a non-profit organization, Center for Western Cross Timbers Studies, dedicated to documenting, recording, educating and informing about the Western Cross Timbers through a website and in words, photos, and small workshops.
—has two children, Darrell Roach, who graduated from Keller High School, and Delight Justice, who attended Keller High School, graduating from the Oakridge School. Both are graduates of TCU (Darrell, BS, biology; Delight BS, MS speech communication). Darrell, Delight, and Joyce are principals of Ann Gibson Insurance, Inc., a business established by their grandmother, Ann Gibson, fifty years ago in Keller; two grandchildren, Trey Roach, a student at Texas Tech University with scholarships from Cattle and Agriculture associations and Hollyann Roach, a student at Keller Hill School.