Joyce Gurian Zarkin (T-15)
Joyce and I met on Thanksgiving Day, 1971. While it
wasn't quite love at first sight, it was close. We spent most of the
weekend together, had our first date on Friday, and I cooked her a meal on
Saturday. We spoke every night the following week and I drove from New
London to Yonkers to see her the following Friday night. That evening,
as we sat together, I told her i had fallen in love with her. Joyce's
comment was, "I was wondering which of us would say it first."
Five weeks after we met, on January second, 1971, we
became engaged. I later learned that Joyce, her mother, and aunts had
already planned our wedding. We were so much in love that the only
question was when we would become engaged.
On August 27th, we were married at her aunt and uncle's
home in Livingston, New Jersey. Rabbi Charles Annas officiated.
As we stood under the chuppah, Rabbi Annas told us that no matter what we
thought at the time, our love was only beginning, and that as we lived ad
shared our lives, that love would grow. I am pleased to say that Rabbi
Annas was right. Our love only increased over the last 36 years.
And the love of a man and wife was only one of Joyce's
loves. There was her love of our children and grandson and the love
she gave so willingly to all her friends.
But perhaps the best indication of who Joyce was was her
love of teaching.
Whether teaching elementary
school, junior high school, high school--each of which she did at different
times--her great joy--other than family--was watching a student learn.
Officially, she taught English, but she taught far more than grammar and
literature. She taught the love of books, the joy of learning, and the
zest for knowledge. Whether in the Peace Corps, where she taught
medical students English (so they could more readily obtain and read
up-to-date textbooks and journals) or a parochial school in Florida, Joyce
unflinchingly gave of herself and enriched to many others.
It is no accident that when she
changed careers, she went from the classroom to the children's section of
the library. What better way to teach the love of learning than in a
house of books.
She even taught a hard-headed
engineer the meaning of unconditional love.
We were a somewhat conventional
family. When Michael came along, Joyce decided that her place was in
the home as a full-time mom. If the proof of a pudding in in the
tasting, the proof of a mom is in the children she raised. Yes, I was
there, but I know who had the bigger influence on our children. They
are Joyce's handiwork and they are her proudest accomplishment.
Today, as we lay Joyce to rest
after a long and terrible illness, Michael and Elizabeth are beside me and
susan is with us in Spirit. We thank God for letting us have one of
his most perfect creations for so long and know that there is a classroom in
heaven waiting for Joyce to fill with love and joy, as she filled our lives.
Rest in peace my darling.
--Jeff Zarkin, loving husband
of Joyce Gurian Zarkin