Gardening 06
Official Obituary of

Eileen Mary Joyce

August 30, 1943 ~ January 21, 2024 (age 80) 80 Years Old

Eileen Joyce Obituary

Eileen Mary Joyce, 80, passed away at Accolade Health Care of Savoy, Il on Sunday, January 21, 2024, after a long battle with dementia. She was born in Urbana, IL on August 30, 1943, the third daughter of Joseph William Joyce and Anna Marie Reinhart Joyce. She was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Margaret. Surviving are her sister Joann Joyce Pairman of Champaign and dozens of cousins.

Eileen graduated from Holy Cross School in 1958 and from Champaign High School in 1961. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in teaching of English from the University of Illinois in 1964, followed by a Master of Arts in 1965. She taught English to high school students in Savanna, Il for 15 years, and attended 2 summer sessions in England at Oxford University. She left Illinois for Austin, TX in 1982 and ventured into the publishing-of-textbooks-world. She worked at various publishing houses in Austin and retired from Holt, Rinehart Winston as a Senior Editor.

Her memory was phenomenal! It amazed family and friends from the time she was a small child until years later, when she was robbed of it by dementia. She was diagnosed in 2015 and moved back to Illinois to be near her family. She was at Amber Glen Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Urbana, Il until the fall of 2023, then was moved to Accolade Health Care of Savoy until her passing. Her family would like to thank Eileen’s caregivers at Amber Glen, Accolade Health Care, Carle Hospital, Transitions Hospice, and Traditions Hospice for all they did during her long ordeal.

Eileen had a keen mind, a beautiful smile, quick wit, and great sense of humor. She also had the ability to make friends wherever she went. She was an excellent tour guide to visitors in Austin and she loved to travel, both in the United States and abroad. She shared some of the adventures by writing her travel accounts for family and friends. A favorite memory happened in Thailand where she rode a camel’s back and held a 3-month-old tiger on her lap and fed him a bottle. Another favorite memory, a cruise on the Nile.

Eileen lived in Austin, Texas for 33 years and made many friends. Five of those friends proved invaluable to Eileen’s sister, Joann. Eileen made the decision to return to Champaign. Her five friends in Austin were extremely loving and helpful. They took turns taking Eileen to medical appointments, finding a terrific realtor to handle the sale of Eileen’s home in Austin, helped with packing, and making travel arrangements for her to fly to Illinois. Joann can never thank them enough. She couldn’t be there in person but there were frequent phone calls and emails to and from her and her “Texas Angels”. The teamwork was amazing.

Eileen enjoyed playing bridge, gardening, crossword puzzles, writing fiction and non-fiction, reading, and watching movies. She also loved to cook. She was still a novice in the kitchen when she made Sunday dinner for her parents and sister. The menu included fried potatoes with onions. After the meal her mother asked where she got the onions and Eileen replied, “they were in a sack on the cellar steps.” Her mother said, “those were tulip bulbs!”

As a member of Pet Helpers, Eileen did foster care for many abandoned kittens until they were ready for adoption. Her own beloved cates through the years were Melanie, Joey, Martha, and Callie.

She donated her body to Science Care for research purposes. Her ashes will be buried on the family plot with a graveside service in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, Pesotum, Il on Wed., April 17, 2024 at 11 a.m. Lunch will be served in the parish hall immediately following the service.

If so desired, memorials to honor Eileen may be made to an organization of the donor’s choice.


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Graveside Service
April 17, 2024

11:00 AM
St. Mary Catholic Cemetery
1247 County Rd 200 N
Pesotum, IL 61863


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