Did Joe Rantz Marry Joyce Simdars? What Happened to His Wife?

George Clooney’s ‘The Boys in the Boat’ follows the story of an underdog team who proves itself to be the best of the best, turning the tide in their favor just when it seems like they have lost. While the entire team of nine people is at the center, the film mainly follows Joe Rantz, a rower on the team, who comes from humble beginnings and makes a place for himself in history. While he is completely focused on rowing and making sure his team wins, he also develops a strong bond with a girl named Joyce Simdars. The film confirms that the rowing team wins, and Joe comes back home with a gold medal, but what happens to him and Joyce?

Joe and Joyce Spent the Rest of Their Lives Together

In ‘The Boys in the Boat,’ Joe and Joyce meet at the university, where she mentions that they’ve known each other since childhood and that Joe had a crush on her when they were little. Their romance takes flight as Joe joins the rowing team and pushes himself to mental and physical limits to match the pace of the team, making them one of the best. While the film captures the love between Joe and Joyce, it takes some creative liberties while presenting their stories to the audience.

Joe and Joyce knew each other since they were kids and fell in love while they were in school. Joyce was born on November 7, 1915, to Otto August Simdars and Madge Enid Thomason. They lived in Sequim, Washington, where Joyce attended the same school as Joe. Having been around each other since a young age, they developed a close friendship, which turned into a romantic relationship by the time Joe was ready to leave for college. Joyce is described as a friendly and affable person who loved taking pictures. Her favorite subjects were Latin and Mathematics.

He was a year above her and left for the University of Washington, where she followed him the next year. Apparently, Joe had already proposed to Joyce before leaving for college. According to a close source, they’d been in a meadow looking for four-leaf clovers. Joe claimed that he’d found one, and when Joyce asked him to show it to her, he opened his hand to reveal an engagement ring.

In college, Joe and Joyce strengthened their relationship. As shown in the film, Joe was not in a financially stable place. His father had abandoned him years ago, and his brother, Fred, helped him through school and get a spot in college, especially after he was spotted by Coach Al Ulbrickson. On some days, he didn’t have enough money to feed himself so he would go to soup kitchens. When he and Joyce went out on dates, they would make do with soda crackers and a can of tomato soup. Most of the time, they hung out at the cafe in the college or went for simple picnics around town.

When Joe dedicated himself to rowing, Joyce wholeheartedly supported him and followed the team’s entire trajectory, listening to the radio if she couldn’t attend any game by herself. On the day that Joe graduated from the University of Washington, he and Joyce got married and remained with each other till the end. He put his chemical engineering degree to use and found a job at Boeing. Meanwhile, Joyce worked as a clerk. Together, they had five children, whom they brought up in a house in Seattle’s Lake Forest Park, which they’d bought in 1941. It is now home to their grandson, Fred. Joyce Simdars died on September 4, 2002, at the age of 86, due to natural causes. Joe joined her five years later, on September 6, 2007, at the age of 93.

Read More: What Happened to The Boys in the Boat After the Olympics?