Deaths Death Notices
JOYCE, Rita S.
JOYCE - Rita S. Rita was born in North Quincy, Massachusetts. Over 80 years later she died of bile duct liver cancer on Cape Cod. In between, and most importantly: In 1954 she graduated from Archbishop Williams High School (Braintree), and in 1958 from the Boston College School of Education. After volunteering (as part of the Boston College Lay Apostolate) to teach 47 first graders at a Catholic elementary school in Richfield Minnesota, Rita returned to begin her lifelong career of teaching handicapped children. In 1960 she taught a class of mentally disabled children in the Newton, Massachusetts public schools system. In 1962 she taught a similar class in Montgomery County, Maryland, having accompanied her husband Ken (also BC '58) to his judicial clerkship in Washington, D.C. In 1963 she returned with Ken and taught a class of multiple-handicapped children in Wrentham, Massachusetts. In her final move, in 1964 she accompanied Ken to his law school professorship in Buffalo, NY and pioneered a class for emotionally disturbed children in Kenmore, NY. Then after a seven year interlude in which she gave birth to, and began nurturing, her daughter Mary Sheila and son Michael Patrick, Rita turned her talents to the teaching of autistic children, first at Buffalo Children's Hospital and then as the teacher of the first class for autistic children in the Buffalo public schools--which continued until her retirement in 2002. Rita often credited her experience with handicapped children, of all shapes and forms, with her bedrock conviction of the precious nature of the life of each and every individual, born and unborn. For her, working with all of her "kids" was the embodiment of the principle stated in the Inaugural Address of her favorite president, John Kennedy, that "here on earth God's work must truly be our own." Rita not only followed that principle but also inspired others to do the same. Like her mother Evelyn, Rita was an aficionado of international buffets, grand and small. She was also a big fan of bling and her sparkly outf
its always made people's day and prompted many to say "Quack Quack" in admiring recognition. During her retirement, she enjoyed cultivating various seasonal collections and sharing helpful gifts with others. She will be remembered for her immense kindness to all and her infectious laugh that brightened the lives of all who were fortunate to be in her presence. Her love will always be with us. She is survived by her husband Kenneth of South Dennis, her daughter Mary Sheila Joyce of Harwich, her son Michael Patrick of Boston, her sister Mary Margaret Moore (Marcia Brennan) of Salem, her sister-in-law Doris Messenheimer of Charlestown, many nephews, nieces, grand-nephews, grand-nieces, cousins and her precious dog Lucky. She is predeceased by her father George Patrick and Evelyn Mary (Goldberg) Moore, and her siblings, her sister Sheila Washburn of Worcester, Gayle Moore Greene (Richard), of Rockland, her younger brother George 'Joey' Stephen Moore (Ellen), of Des Peres, Missouri, her Uncle Harold Gould (deceased) of Hollywood, Florida and her granddog Gabriel. Visiting hours are 4-7 PM, Thursday December 29 at the MORRIS, O'CONNOR & BLUTE FUNERAL HOME, 58 Long Pond Dr., So. Yarmouth, Massachusetts. A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 AM on Friday December 30 at St. Pius X Church, Station Ave., So. Yarmouth. Donations can be made to Hope Hospice of Cape Cod at www.hopehealthco.org or the National Right to Life Committee. Notes of comfort may be sent to Rita's family at www.MorrisOConnorBlute.com