Mildred Joy Goodman was the third child born to Horace Sr. and Mildred Goodman. She was born on Oct. 17, 1933 in Big Spring, TX. Joy’s mother passed away in 1945 after which she attended San Marcos Academy in San Marcos, TX. During her time at SMA, she was a member of the National Honor Society and student council, and was a class officer.

Joy was a classically-trained pianist who played in several ensembles. Music became a central theme of her life, as she went on to play piano, organ, and other instruments in each of the churches she attended later in life.

After graduating from high school, Joy moved to El Paso to live with her brother Jimmy Goodman and attended Ysleta Baptist Church. The pastor at Ysleta, Russell Dennis, convinced her to attend Howard Payne College in Brownwood, TX where in 1954 she met her future husband, Billy McClellan.