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Baylor University Live Mascot 'Joy' Dies at 21

Photo: Ronald Martinez

Judge Joy Reynolds, the live bear mascot for Baylor University Athletics, has died at the age of 21, the school announced in a news release shared on its website on Monday.

"One of Baylor’s treasured North American Black Bears, Joy will forever be remembered as an enduring symbol of Baylor’s spirit and tradition," the news release stated. "The University will honor Joy in an on-campus memorial dedicated to the legacy of the past, present, and future members of the Baylor Bear Habitat. Her sister, Lady, who is 20, will continue to receive the world-class supervision and protection of her caregivers in the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat. In addition, for Lady’s continued care as she ages into retirement, the University is moving forward on the construction of a permanent retirement facility, similar to their on-campus housing, at the Bears’ off-campus enrichment area."

Joy was born at West Coast Game Park in Bandon, Oregon, and began serving the Texas-based school's live mascot as a 4-month-old cub. The bear was named in honor of former Baylor first lady Joy Reynolds, the wife of Dr. Herbert H. Reynolds, who served as the school's 11th president and was introduced to her namesake on the front lawn of the couple's residence in June 2001.

Baylor University is planning a remembrance service for Joy scheduled to be held at the beginning of the upcoming fall semester, while cards and letters expressing condolences can be sent to Baylor Bear Habitat, One Bear Place #97185, Waco, TX 76798-7185.

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