Daniel Festus Joyce

Dan Joyce, of Duxbury & Milton, December 30, 2018.

Dan Joyce was a “Man for Others” whose big heart knew no boundaries. Although cancer took him much too soon from this world, he lived a full life and impacted many. He was the family leader, playing the role of a great husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, friend, and hard-working executive.

He lived his life seeing the best in others, always lending an empathetic ear, and offering a helping hand. To Dan, a helping hand was never a passive affair. It meant getting involved by rolling up his sleeves and doing something (whether you wanted the help or not). He did not ask for any “thank you’s” either as he experienced personal satisfaction from the act of helping itself. He was a man who simply enjoyed doing for others.

Dan lived an examined life and so it is fitting that his obituary includes a reflection on his life and his impact to those around him.

Dan loved and was dedicated to his wife Janet. She came first and foremost. Ensuring her happiness was his top priority and their bond laid the foundation for their whole family. They made decisions together and would joke that “Dan may be the head, but Janet is the neck pointing him in the right direction.”

Dan was always close with his family. When he and Janet moved into their first home, they moved across the street from where Dan grew up. He wanted to stay close to his mother, father and sisters Marybeth and Susan. Later he was delighted to be so close to his niece, Mollie, and nephew, John.

Dan had a special relationship with his sons. He formed a close bond with his sons both collectively and as individuals. He was by their side through childhood, adolescence, college, early adulthood, weddings, and the formation of their own families, Dan was an active force in their lives. Danny II, Doug, and Ryan would seek his advice and also simply enjoyed spending time together, especially at Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, and BC hockey/football games.

Dan was a serious man of faith. He found his moral compass early in life during his adolescent years at BC High. Dan fully integrated the Jesuit values around being “Men for Others” as his personal value system. He emphasized the importance of service to his sons and lived it every day. This was exemplified by his involvement in the Chernobyl Children’s Project which brought Alosha O’Brien into Dan’s life, whom he loved with all his heart. His faith also called him to make pilgrimages to Medjugorje and El Santuario de Chimayó in New Mexico.

Dan was strong in commitment. His word was his bond. As the local Cub Scout Master, he showed the importance of this value to his sons at an early age.  Every year, he led the Christmas Wreath Sales Events no matter the weather conditions. Despite rain, sleet, snow, or the many nor’easters of the mid 90’s, he and his sons were behind the folding tables outside St Agatha’s Church.

Dan was self-made and self-reliant. He excelled at BC High and went on to study computer science at Boston College. He engaged with digital technology as a man that would master it.

Dan was dependable. As a father, he was at his son’s games, sometimes was the coach himself, loved to do the pinewood derby with Cub Scouts, and would always follow-through on his commitments. In adulthood, Dan was the Do-It-Yourself expert that his sons turned to for advice on how to fix things around their homes. Professionally, his dependability was a key aspect of his latest role as Information Security Officer at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals where he was trusted with the protection of medical information for the company.

Dan was proud to be an IT leader. He had a long successful career in Information Technology focusing the last half of it in the Healthcare sector at Philips and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals. He was fully committed to using technology to improve the outcomes and lives of patients. Even during his own journey as a cancer patient, he could spot workflow inefficiencies and speculate which technical fixes could improve the patient experience. He was relentless.

Dan was a talented coach. He was an expert in helping people find solutions to their problems. In the middle of challenging or heated situations, Dan would never start with telling you the answer. Instead, he would start with questions designed to help calm you down, realize the situation was manageable, and then talk through to a solution. Dan gave people confidence in themselves when they needed it the most and enabled their development.

Dan was charming and could effortlessly disarm any disagreement in search of common ground. He would give preference to preserving the relationship over proving himself right. His not-so-secret weapons included his contagious laughter and injecting his unique sense of dry humor at every chance he could.

Dan was fun. He enjoyed new experiences with friends and family. He was a key organizer of the bi-annual Joyce family reunion (> 300 people). He found enjoyment in hosting many dinner parties at his home in Duxbury. Over the years there were also multiple family cruises and trips to Disney. During the course of his illness, Dan and Janet rented beach homes for family weekends and organized the release of Chinese lanterns over the water (of course not in MA but in a state where Chinese lanterns are legal).

Dan enjoyed watching movies. In his down time, Dan loved to watch Oscar-nominated movies and then try to predict the winners during the award shows. Dan loved the movie Gladiator and the 2001 Oscars was a full family event with Dan, Janet, and his sons all watching it together with the hopes it would win (which it did).

Dan was a great story teller. He could turn any mundane topic into an epic adventure. It was exciting to hear Dan recant some of the wildlife sightings and encounters when walking in the conservation land behind his home. He also enjoyed sharing the elk hunting stories from his travels to Belarus.

Dan was an optimist that loved to keep wonder alive in the world. With his grand-children,  Dan enjoyed introducing them to anything new, be it toys, tools, or concepts. For example, he loved talking about Santa and explaining Christmas. Dan’s family would joke about the similarities between him and the character Clark Griswold played by Chevy Chase in the movie Christmas Vacation. Dan just loved feeding Christmas wonder to the children.

Dan was loyal and was invested in your success. He wanted you to achieve your goals and would be the first one in line to celebrate your wins, big and small. He was loyal to those around him and could be counted on to be there for their life events. This was exemplified in all the weddings, christenings, holidays, wakes, and funerals that he attended.

Dan was kind to animals. He had a number of special dog relationships over the course of his life with BC, Bingo, Skipper, Chip, Annie, and Brady. He was particularly close with Brady who was at his side during his passing. Dan had a special place in his heart for all animals and would always pull his car over and jump out to help a frog, turtle, or any other animal cross popular Cape Cod roadways. He could never pass an animal seemingly in danger.

Dan was a fighter. He never gave an inch in his fight with cancer. He bravely embraced every treatment and never uttered any complaint on his discomfort. Even when starting hospice care, when asked by the nurses on how we was doing, his response was always “I’m ok.” His strength was an inspiration to his family. He did everything in his control to help his family through this journey with him.

Dan Joyce was a great man and the world is a lesser place without him. His name survives in his son and grandson. Though he will be dearly missed, his legacy lives on through his grandchildren and all the lives he touched. He was truly a “man for others.”

Dan is survived by his wife, Janet Ann Joyce; and his children Danny F. Joyce II and his wife Anisa, Doug Joyce and his wife Jaime, Ryan Joyce and his wife Renanah Joyce, John Galvin and his fiancé Maria Costa, & Mollie Galvin & Alosha O’Brien; and grandchildren Danny F. III, Kellan, Pierce, and Lily Joyce. He is survived by his siblings Marybeth Joyce of Milton, and Susan Galvin of Milton.; He was son of Festus & Rita Joyce. Dan was also blessed with over 70 cousins.

The family expresses gratitude to the physicians and nurses at the Dana Farber Hospital and the Visiting Nursing Association in Norwell for their compassion & caregiving with Dan.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Saint Agatha Church, Adams Street at Brook Road, Milton, Friday, January 4 at 10:00 am. Relatives and friends are welcome. Visiting hours at Dolan Funeral Home, 460 Granite Avenue, EAST MILTON SQUARE, Thursday 4-8 PM.

In lieu of flowers the family request is to please pay it forward and perform an act of kindness for someone in need in keeping with Dan’s spirit.