Joyce Entus, The Hostess of Heaven

Joyce Entus, The Hostess of Heaven

It is not often in life that we come across a real live angel. We had one from the day we opened our doors at Salty’s on Alki in West Seattle. You may have met her, her name is Joyce Entus, and she was the beautiful, unforgettable, vivacious greeter who rolled out the red carpet for the guests who graced our door. I would like to tell you about her.

Joyce had a very accomplished life as a woman in business. In the mid 1960s she managed the waterfront icon of West Seattle, the Beach Broiler Restaurant. By the mid ’70s she owned it. She worked “eight days a week, 25 hours a day,” and loved every minute. Guests came from all over the world to enjoy her food and view, including the great pianist Liberace and famed opera singer Rolf Bjorling.

My husband Gerry met Joyce in the late ’60s, and when we got married, he wanted to introduce me to his friend Joyce. We instantly became friends too — angels have a way of drawing you in — and I loved to stop by and dine on her famous pan-fried sole. In 1985, Joyce wanted to retire, and we were the blessed ones she decided to sell to. We realized that retirement for this energetic lady was going to be challenging, so we asked her to stay on as a hostess for our new restaurant, Salty’s on Alki Beach. For the next 15 years, Joyce greeted Salty’s guests with such a memorable welcome that, even now, few days go by without someone inquiring about her.

During her latter years, Joyce enjoyed traveling throughout the globe but always returned to West Seattle, her favorite place in the world. Although Joyce never married nor had a family, we wrapped her into ours. She was the Matriarch of Salty’s, Grandmother and Mother to our family and friend to so many. As she aged, we took care of her and, even in those days, her caregivers would feel that they received more from her than they were giving.

Joyce had a few mottos she quipped frequently, and to me, they are recipes for a happy life. I would like to share them with you. The first is, no matter what happens in life, smile and keep moving. Which actually seems to work! And the second is, enjoy every minute, and truly she was a laughing, smiling example of how to live that way.

Joyce taught us the true meaning of hospitality, and now that she has passed on, I am pretty sure she has a new job as the hostess of heaven.