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Joyce Townley

March 16, 2013

Dear Anne, Steve, Laura and Brian, We remember with deep appreciation Joyce, whom we knew well back in the late 60s on the West Side Campus.  Joe and I enjoyed many occasions with Phil and Joyce, whether out for an evening dancing, or engaged in profound conversations about the current direction of our “mission.”  Joe considered Phil one of his closest colleagues; I held Joyce as a mentor of grace, accomplishment, and mature intentionality, and as a young 26 year old then, I longed to be like her.

As new interns in 1968 we were assigned to the same College (I think that was what we called it then), and Joyce spoke during our evening meals with such delight of “Steve and Laurie” who were getting ready to go overseas as high school students.  We met “Laurie” much later as our dear Laura, when we were assigned to the Philadelphia Religious House with her, and saw so much of her Mom reflected in her amazing strength, intelligence and intentionality.

In 1968 Brian was a little two year old (or so it seemed to me he was about that age) and I will always remember Joyce’s witness in Daily Office about Brian’s profound theological comment to her, occasioned by bubbles at bath time that for her captured the ever-present wonder and awe in ordinary daily acts and encounters.  That year she was assigned (among other things) to head up “maintenance,” handing out brooms, buckets and wastebaskets to us as we did our morning “obediences.”  She always looked like a Glamour model to me, as I swept whatever assigned space after breakfast, and then hurried out to my job as “permeator.”

Joe and I last spent time with Joyce at the reception at Kemper following Phil’s Memorial Service.  Even after 30 years she represented all the qualities we had always cherished as “Joyce.” We give great thanks for her life and the gift her presence offered to our family. Grace, peace and love,

          ~~  Marilyn and Joe Crocker



On my very first visit to the West Side, Joyce took me around the facilities.  In the basement, I watched her use a hoist lift to move garbage up to street level.  I can see her in a colorful pastel outfit, moving with absolute grace and determination.  It was awesome to see this debonair, charming, beautiful suburbanite, be so calm and effective in that environment.  This was in December of ’67 when I came from Kingston, Ontario to attend an SDS conference in Chicago.  Two/three years later, I was, from time to time, Joyce’s ‘second’ teacher to her ‘first’ – teaching RS1.  I particularly remember a fine course in Holland, Michigan.  She was so good.

          ~~  Ken Fisher



Few people knew that in 2011-2012 Joyce was instrumental for the success of launching the Accelerate77 program in Chicago.  After one DePaul University professor had decided to have two of his classes do research in Chicago’s communities, Joyce called several other universities and scheduled ICA appointments to introduce the program.  The result: nine professors from five universities had 225 students engaged in Chicago community research!

           ~~  Karen Snyder Troxel