Joyce Rudolph, Longtime Burbank Writer, Dies

Photo courtesy Joanne Lento Miller | The combined stories by Joyce Rudolph and David Laurell, pictured here in 2016, have documented more than 60 years of local history in the pages of the Burbank Daily Review and Burbank Leader.

First published in the Feb. 26, 2022, print issue of the Burbank Leader.

This past week, Burbank lost one of its greatest resources of history with the passing of longtime Burbank Leader writer and features editor Joyce Rudolph.

Having worked for the Burbank Leader and its predecessor, the Burbank Daily Review, for almost 40 years, Joyce, a graduate of Burbank High School and California State University, Northridge, was a human repository of institutional knowledge about Burbank and Burbankers. She was also a darn sweet and kind person, and a dear colleague and friend of mine.

I first met Joyce back in the 1980s when, thanks to my work with Dick Clark Productions, I was able to pull some strings and give my wife a rather unique Christmas present. Word of that gift got around and pretty soon we got a call from Joyce who wanted to do a story on it. Little did either she or I know then, that within a relatively short time I would be hired as a columnist for the Leader and Joyce and I would become colleagues and friends.

Joyce Rudolph

In the mid-1990s, when our then-parent company, Times Community News, promoted Joyce to oversee features for their papers in Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge, she brought me along with her. During those years, she and I got to know everybody who was doing anything interesting or positive for their communities. She and I loved working together and sharing the tales of thousands of great people, many who went on to become close friends of ours.

When Joyce retired in 2011, her plan was to follow in the footsteps of her late mentor, the Grand Dame of Burbank Volunteerism, Mary Alice O’Connor, and be an active volunteer for local nonprofit organizations. She also wanted to carry on the work of her close late friend Mary Jane Strickland, who founded the Burbank Historical Society, by making sure Burbank’s rich history was properly catalogued and preserved.

Those plans were upended 3 1/2 years ago when she was diagnosed with cancer, something she revealed and candidly wrote about in guest columns for the Leader.

While her retirement was not the one she hoped for, she gallantly dealt with her disease while continuing to care for her mother, Dorothy, until she died last year. She did those things with grace, always maintaining kindness, compassion and humor.

When I received the news that Joyce had lost her battle with that wretched disease on Saturday, Feb. 19, just after 3 p.m., it didn’t come as a shock. In the days leading up to her departure from this world I had exchanged numerous phone calls and electronic messages with many of her close friends knowing, as we shared our stories about her, that her time to go was nigh.

With Joyce having now done what we’ll all eventually do — close this chapter and move on to the next — those of us who knew and loved her should take solace in what Dr. Seuss once said when the time comes to say goodbye: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

And so, to Joyce, I want you to know, when I think of you it will always be with a smile. It will be a smile that comes from so many memories, and the knowledge that you live on, not just in the hearts of those you touched while of this earth, but in the thousands upon thousands of yellowing newspaper clippings that are tucked away in scrapbooks, desk draws, file cabinets and attics all over Burbank that carry your byline. Each one of them documents a story you told of someone who played a role in the history of the city you so loved. They are preserved historic treasures that, without you, would have been lost to the ages.