Joyce Pedersen

Joyce Pedersen, 97, of Easton, CT passed away on April 3, 2023 at Bridgeport Hospital. She was born on March 4, 1926 in Manchester, England to the late William and Millicent Durkin.  Joyce was well known for her fine clothing, her love for tea and painting with watercolors.  

Joyce’s life nearly covered 10 decades, with the first two spent in England. From her childhood, Joyce learned early in life the value of good design, color, and texture in fabric as her father was a tailor and made suits for men and women. While sewing was taught to her at an early age, she was also trained in accounting and did the books by hand.   

When Joyce was thirteen, her parents evacuated her on a train with a girlfriend to stay with another family in the countryside during The Battle of Britain in World War II.  She had vivid memories of those frightening times during the bombings and it shaped her values which were deeply rooted in home and family.  Joyce also loved to dance and with a professional partner, demonstrated the latest dance steps while others looked on.  She not only knew the steps to the dances, but also memorized all the words to each new song as soon as they were published.

She came to America in 1950 following her first marriage and settled in Long Island, New York, with her husband and young daughter Geraldine and in 1952 became an American citizen.  During this decade, she did a lot of traveling by ship and had transatlantic voyages on the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, The United States and Saxonia.  Later in the 1950’s she remarried and had her second daughter, Roderike.  

The 1960s were a challenging time.  Joyce worked full time in the dental industry, as both a dental assistant and office manager.  She enjoyed the work and mostly the people, interacting with the patients and managing the office.  Joyce made her own clothes and made Geraldine’s wedding dress, as well as several prom dresses for Roderike.  She also enjoyed knitting, collecting china tea pots and cups, and collecting many pairs of shoes.

By the late ’60s she decided to paint and took her first art lessons in oils and watercolors. She was first taught by Sam Brown in Westport, but over the years she studied with various teachers including George Sutherland, Mary Bartz for decorative painting, Mary Bochanis for still-life scenes and watercolors, and Robert Casilla.   She also attended classes at Silvermine School of Art in New Canaan, CT.  A long-time Easton resident, Joyce was a member of the Easton Arts Council, The Shelton Art League, The Fairfield Arts Council, and The Society of Creative Arts of Newtown (SCAN).  Over her career, she obtained many ribbons for her artwork and in 2021 had one-woman art show at the Easton library. 

In the 1970s, Joyce served as an adult literacy volunteer tutoring a young Vietnamese refugee woman who came to America at the end of the Vietnam War. Joyce loved the work and she taught Phuong (Heitz) to read, write, and speak English.  They became a lifelong friends and she was considered part of the family. 

On September 28,1996, Joyce married Hugh Pedersen after meeting him at the Easton Senior Center and they shared nearly 18 years together until his passing on August 28, 2014. When they were first married, they travelled to Europe together and also took numerous trips in the US, which they enjoyed immensely.

Always willing to cook and entertain, Joyce enjoyed bringing people together to socialize and to share stories about her life.  These stories included escapades to Mexico, on a trip to the Bahamas, and what exactly happened in that drawing class with a nude model.  Some of her famous quotes include: “A penny saved is a penny earned”, “What holds a lot, holds a little”, and “haste makes waste”.   

Known for her luncheons and afternoon tea parties at her home on Bayberry Lane, Joyce always made room for one more guest around the table, something she learned from her mother.  English tea, scones, Eccles cakes, biscuits, sweets, and homemade lemon curd abounded.  If you were special, she would make you an omelet.  Each day, a special outfit was selected with matching necklace and shoes.  She cherished her many friends, neighbors, and fellow artists.

Joyce was a member of Christ Church Parish, the Easton Episcopal Church where she was married to Hugh Pedersen.  She is survived by her two daughters, Geraldine (Alex) Slater of Lawrence, KS and Roderike Pohl (Craig Brown) of Sherman, CT; one surviving cousin Vivien Sheffield living in Southport, England, one niece Justine Ellerby, two nephews John and Paul Durkin of Fareham, England and Verl, Germany; two stepsons Eric Pedersen of Cedar Grove, NC and Neil (Deborah) Pedersen of Chapel Hill; four grandchildren Travis (Karah) Pedersen of Hillsborough, NC and Jeff (Idun Losnegard) Pedersen, of Stongfjorden, Norway, Kyle (Suzi) Pedersen of Asheville, NC and Nora Pedersen of Los Angeles, CA, and five great-grandchildren.  In addition to her parents, Joyce was preceded in death by her brothers William and John Durkin.

A memorial service for Joyce Pedersen will be held at Christ Church Parish, the Easton Episcopal Church on Saturday, May 6, 2023 at 1:00 p.m., 59 Church Road, Easton, CT.  A reception and silent auction of Joyce’s artwork will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, Memorial donations can be made to one of Joyce’s favorite charities: Help Heal Veterans

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