Baylor Mourns Passing of Beloved Former First Lady Joy Reynolds

April 14, 2022

WACO, Texas (April 14, 2022) – WACO, Texas (April 14, 2022) – The Baylor University family is grieving the loss of beloved former First Lady Joy Reynolds. The wife of Baylor’s 11th President and later Chancellor and President Emeritus, the late Herbert H. Reynolds, Mrs. Reynolds fulfilled her role as First Lady with boundless grace and energy.

“Today the Baylor University Family joins together in remembrance of beloved former First Lady Joy Reynolds,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “Mrs. Reynolds dearly loved Baylor University. We remember her as a gracious First Lady with a strong faith and servant’s heart, who alongside her husband, President Herbert H. Reynolds, hosted many events in their home and created a welcoming spirit for generations of Baylor students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors from throughout the world. We give thanks for the extraordinary life and Christian legacy of Joy Reynolds, and we express our love and sincere condolences to her children Kevin, Kent and Rhonda, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and the entire Reynolds family.”

Joy Copeland Reynolds was born April 27, 1931, in New Willard, Texas, the daughter of Charles Omer and Maud Alexander Copeland. She was a graduate of Livingston High School (1948) and Baylor University (1974), and she was honored as an Outstanding Graduate of Livingston High School in 1995.

Joy met the love of her life – Herbert H. Reynolds – in 1947, and they were married on June 17, 1950. Joy was Herb’s biggest encourager and supporter for 60 years from the time they met in 1947 until his death in 2007. She served faithfully alongside Herb during his 20-year career in the Air Force and his 38 years of service to Baylor. Joy was the First Lady of Baylor from 1981 until 1995, and she fulfilled that role with boundless grace and energy.

Mrs. Reynolds also was honored in June 2001 by the Baylor Chamber of Commerce with the naming of its bear cub in her honor. Today, Judge Joy Reynolds lives with her sister, Judge “Lady” Sue Sloan, in the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat on the Baylor campus.

“She’s meant so much to Baylor over the years, and she and Dr. Reynolds have done so much for Baylor and for Chamber that there was no hesitation,” said Tyler Sellers, a student bear team member when he brought the cub to meet Mrs. Reynolds for the first time at her home near campus.

While Herb was in the Air Force, Joy and Herb and their family moved seven times from the time they married in 1950 until they settled in Waco in 1969, but Joy always made sure their family had a comfortable home filled with love in every location.

Joy was preceded in death by her husband, Herb; her parents, Maud and Charlie Copeland; her brothers, Omer Copeland, Mann Copeland and D.J. Copeland; and her sisters, Helen Copeland Ashworth, Emma Copeland and Erlene Copeland Wiese.

Joy is survived by three children and their spouses, Kevin and Cathy Reynolds, Kent and Katy Reynolds, and Rhonda and Greg Winslett; seven grandchildren, Jonathan Reynolds and wife, Rebekah, Melinda Reynolds Kirkpatrick and husband, Steve, Sam Winslett, Nicole Reynolds, Jake Winslett, Trey Winslett and Dylan Reynolds; five great-grandchildren, Haddie, Jude, Beckett, Lily and Poet; and sister-in-law, Ann Reynolds Payne and her husband, Charles. Joy will be remembered by her family as a loving and encouraging mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Joy was a faithful member of First Baptist Church of Waco for over 50 years.

The family will hold a private graveside service. In lieu of flowers, friends and family can send a memorial to the Baylor Line Foundation, P.O. Box 2089, Waco, TX 76703 or to Buckner International, 700 N Pearl St, suite 1200, Dallas, TX 75201.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.