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Family, community leaders mourn Joyce Callery, 'first lady of Northern Kentucky'

Posted at 8:02 PM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-08 20:13:25-04

Joyce Callery was known as the “first lady of Northern Kentucky.”

People in Covington, Villa Hills and throughout the region are remembering her fondly. The wife of former Mayor Butch Callery died unexpectedly on Saturday.

“She always told me what I did wrong," said her husband, who served Covington and Villa Hills as mayor. "She was really a good companion. It was a shock to us when she died."

Joyce had a heart attack last week, but doctors thought she had recovered.

Then Butch said the family got the call they dreaded.

"'We need you to get here,'" he repeated. "'It's a Code Blue. Your wife's not going to make it. We don't think we're going to try to bring her back. We don't think we can make it.'"

Joyce’s death shocked those in the political world. Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders said it didn't matter your stance when it came to Joyce.

"Joyce never cared. She's just always a good lady. Always really warm and welcoming. Always had a smile and a hug," Sanders said.

Covington Mayor Joe Meyer has known the family for decades and said she was always by her husband’s side.

"There are some people that said Joyce was really the mayor,” Meyer said, “but she was very much a behind-the-scenes person."

Joyce was 72. The Callerys were married for 52 years.

"She died too soon,” Butch said. “We had a lot of things we were going to do, but we can't do them now. But 52 years was great."

Visitation will be at 3 p.m. Thursday at Holy Cross Church, 3612 Church St., in Latonia, followed there by the Mass of Christian Burial at 6 p.m. Interment will take place at 10 a.m. Friday at Mother of God Cemetery, 2701 Latonia Ave., in Ft. Wright.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to St. Walburg Monastery, 2500 Amsterdam Road, Villa Hills, Kentucky, 41017.

Connley Brothers Funeral Home is serving the family.

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