One of the biggest joys of working at the Yuma Sun is having the ability to work with people who know the community so well.

Joyce Lobeck, who retired this week from our newsroom, was one of those pillars. She has an intricate knowledge of Yuma County that spans a wide variety of topics.

For example, she’s well-versed in agriculture. To some, that might sound like an “easy” topic, but in Yuma, it’s actually quite convoluted. Joyce understands the growing seasons here, which fields grow which crops thanks to the right soil mixture. Agriculture in Yuma is a science, and Joyce can take that information and help readers understand it. She also knows the history behind Yuma’s water rights, and how important it is to protect those rights.

But the beauty is the fact that Joyce could step right out of those fields and into city council chambers, covering complex issues on a completely different front.

Reporters are a unique breed of people. They need to know a wide variety of information on a wide variety of subjects – and Joyce took that to a new level. She covered agriculture and government, yes – and then could turn around and cover health issues, breaking news stories, court cases and election results, too.

And yet, she could just as easily write a lovely profile on a jewelry designer or a philanthropic club.

All the while, Joyce kept her finger on the pulse of Yuma’s business community. Businesses come and go, and Joyce kept us all informed of the changes. But her knowledge exceeded the Comings and Goings column. She was able to focus on bigger-picture scenarios in the business community, with coverage that looked at area trends and how they impacted Yuma County.

Joyce built an immense network of contacts across Yuma County, from Yuma Regional Medical Center to Yuma City Hall, from farmers to business people to the county elections office, and that’s not an easy feat to accomplish.

Joyce could write a story, but she was more than just a reporter. She is someone who actively cares about this community, and the people who live in it.

Already, I miss seeing Joyce every day. But not all is lost. Joyce is at heart a newswoman, and I’m sure her byline will continue to appear every once in a while in the pages of the Yuma Sun.

Joyce, thanks for your 31 years of caring, dedicated coverage!

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