Rose Garden PhotographsMyrtle Mae (Wallace) Atkins Joesler was born April 21, 1888, the daughter of Bartow P. and Lilly M. (Smith) Wallace. Myrtle was born in Silver City, New Mexico, close to the family home in Duncan, Greenlee County, Arizona Territory. She was the eldest of ten children.

After spending time in Oklahoma where Myrtle's grandmother lived, the family relocated to Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory. Myrtle, at the age of 17, met and married Thomas William Atkins (b.1882),  June 8, 1905. Myrtle and Tom were charter members of the Prescott Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Church activities were a large part of their lives. Tom even fashioned the offering plates by hand from wood as his gift of love. In this setting, their children were born –Thomas William Jr. (1906-1931), Naomi Wallace (Atkins) Boyce (1909 - 2005) and Ira Verlo “Scotty” (1916- 2004).

Myrtle’s first marriage ended, and she married John Chris Joesler (1895–1958) on December 31, 1932, in Los Angeles, California. Apparently, they divorced before 1940.

During the middle years of Myrtle's life, she lived in Phoenix, Arizona, and the church was still important to her. A minimum of one day each week was spent at the Dorcas Society meeting of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which provides food and supplies for the needy.

Her granddaughter, Margot, remembers spending hours threading one needle after another for the ladies who were quilting. Some of Myrtle's fondest memories and funniest stories derived from this activity.

One memory was of the time when Myrtle, Jenny Andross and Grandma Arkebauer went to Monument Valley, as they did each fall, to deliver a carload of quilts to the Indian school. They planned to spend long hours each day for at least a week sewing clothes for the needy Indian children. They slept at night in a very primitive, hoganlike structure. One night Grandma Arkebauer woke up and let out a stifled scream. Myrtle and Jenny, quick to the rescue, helped her liberate the mouse caught in her hairnet.

One year, the cook at Arizona Boarding Academy left midyear, and Myrtle volunteered her services to run the school cafeteria. Almost every summer found her back in Prescott cooking for junior camps.

Great-great-grandchildren Shawndra and Melissa Hogle, Eric and Devon Speyer, and Tiffany Miller had the privilege of hearing stories of the olden days from Myrtle, their great-great-grandmother. Their parents and parents' siblings, as well as Myrtle’s seven great grandchildren and their parents and her three grandchildren, have all enjoyed "Nana's" stories, such as the times her father raced the "new black iron horse" in the family buckboard on the way to town.

Myrtle died on May 29, 1987, and was buried in Wickenburg, Arizona.Whether she was Myrtle, Sis, Mums, Grandmother or Nana, she will be remembered by her family with love. 

Donor: Ira “Scotty” V. Atkins
Photo Located: RGC MS-39, Box J, F-Joesler, Myrtle
Updated: 10/22/2015, Gretchen Hough Eastman