Theresa Ann (Connolly) Joyce passed away on Sunday, April 2, after waging a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer's Disease. At the time of her passing, she was surrounded by her loving family. Theresa's husband of 60 years, Robert (Bob) Joyce, passed away last September. The family is certain that there is a grand reunion now taking place where Bob and Theresa are reunited in the love they shared so deeply and so joyously for so many years. No doubt, Bob will be standing there, hand outstretched, waiting in a sharp suit and a shine on his shoes. Theresa (Mom) will of course will be "dressed to the nines", with her beautiful jewelry, walking tall and strong (and in her best heels) to meet him.
Theresa was born in Somerville in 1933 to Mary and Jeremiah (Jerry) Connolly. Both Theresa and Bob spent their younger lives in Somerville, where Theresa graduated from St. Joseph High School and Bob graduated from Somerville High School. The story is told that when Bob first met Theresa at a party at the Connolly home, Theresa told Bob to leave the kitchen where he was chatting with her father and to return to the party. Bob, who had an aversion to being told what to do, turned and said to Theresa, "We're not married yet!" Little did they know…..Bob and Theresa were married on January 21, 1956.
Theresa and Bob spent the first year of marriage living in an apartment in Somerville where they welcomed the arrival of their first child, a daughter, Mary Theresa Joyce, affectionately nicknamed "Mary T". Shortly thereafter the family found their forever home in Westford, MA where they welcomed the birth of their first son, Robert E. (Robbie), welcomed the addition of Bob's godson, Lawrence M. into their family, and then welcomed the birth of "The Prince", Jeremiah P. (Jeremy).
Theresa always made sure that the home was filled with love, laughter and music. Without taking a formal lesson, Theresa could sit down and play the piano to everyone's entertainment. She was a warm and welcoming hostess to all, in particular, to all of her children's friends and extended family. She tried to share her love of music and enthusiasm for the piano with Jeremy, the youngest. Much to her disappointment (and to the relief of the family), Theresa finally acknowledged that the transfer of enthusiasm did not take hold, and Jeremy was freed from musical captivity.
When the children were older, Theresa decided to share her loving kindness with the wider community by working outside the home. Much to the joy of her children, she found employment at Westford Academy where her children were students. As would be the case with most teenagers, they could not have been happier to have Mom working at their school!
Later in life Theresa and Bob welcomed much loved additions to their family through the marriages of their children, Lawrence to Francie (O'Connor), Mary T to Rick (Brown), Robbie to Diane (Martin) and Jeremy to Anita (Gaffney). From them came 12 wonderful grandchildren, Lauren, Alana and Michael Joyce, Jennifer and Alexandra Brown, Jacqueline, Jessica and Jamie Joyce, Sean Kevin Hannigan and Penelope, Jeremiah and Joseph Joyce.
Theresa was a woman of many virtues: faith, loyalty, constancy, steadfast friend, willingness to help anyone, welcoming to all she met. But to all who knew her, Theresa will be remembered most of all as the embodiment of kindness and love. Her eyes sparkled and when she smiled and reached out to hug you (which happened often!), everything was okay, the world was filled with warmth, and you did not want the moment to pass. You could feel the depth and sincerity of her love.
Her passing has left a great many hearts broken and eyes that are crying. We were most fortunate to be receivers of her love and her grace in living.
In addition to her children, Theresa leaves a brother, Pat, of Florida, her loving nieces and nephews who have done so much for her (with special thanks and affection to Ellen, Ginny and Joyce who took such a special interest in their lives). In addition to Bob, she was predeceased by her brother, Brendan, and her sisters, Mary and Sheila.
The family would like to thank the Staff of Peregrine Landing and Beacon Hospice for the professional, sensitive and loving care they gave to Theresa during the last part of her journey.
Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Theresa on Monday, April 10 from 5:00-8:00 pm in St. Catherine's of Alexandria Church, 107 North Main St., Westford. Her funeral mass will be celebrated at the church on Tuesday at 10:00 am. Burial will follow at Fairview Cemetery, Westford.
In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation in Theresa's memory to:
Music and Memory
160 First St.
P.O. Box 590
Mineloa, NY 15501
They provide IPods, headsets and personalized playlist to ALZ patients