Monday, June 24, 2024

Joyce Garrett Nelson, 77

TOPSAIL BEACH — Joyce Garrett Nelson gently laid her paint brush and pallet down beside her easel on May 24, 2024, and gracefully slipped away to be with the Lord.

She came into this world on June 23, 1947, one of seven children of Wade and Helga Rogers Garrett. Her father passed away when she was two and Helga stoically raised her four boys and three girls in a small home in West Durham. Through sheer will and determination, on textile mill wages, Helga managed to see to it that all three girls earned college degrees and the four boys were successful in their own respective pursuits.

She graduated from Northern High School in 1965 and took great joy in serving as both a JV and Varsity Cheerleader for the Knights during her high school years.

Joyce married Michael Lee Nelson on August 12, 1972, and they enjoyed nearly 52 years together. They celebrated their romance like a couple of teenagers all those years and never failed to set aside Friday night “Date Night” for each other.

Joyce exhibited a flair for art from a very young age and graduated from East Carolina University with degrees in both art education and interior decorating. She turned down numerous job offers from major fashion houses in New York and other big metro centers and chose to stay in Durham and teach art in the public schools. Elementary school art was her calling and in addition to the traditional painting and crafts she pioneered an Art History program for those young students. Parents often remarked that their second grader would walk into a restaurant and excitedly point out a Van Gogh or Monet print on the wall or say “Look Mommy that one is from Pablo Picasso’s blue period.”

After retiring from teaching Joyce blossomed with her own talents and created an art wearables business trading under the name “ReJoyce”. She began painting handmade earrings on heavy stock watercolor paper for friends and her works were sold in numerous boutiques around the Raleigh / Durham area and beyond. She is survived by her husband, Michael, daughter Michole, son Gabriel (Angie), grandson Anakin as well as her brother Wayne (Debbie), sister Sue (Ray) and numerous nieces, nephews and their children.

While living at Topsail Beach, Joyce hosted a lady’s group at her home every Thursday to play Hand and Foot Canasta. What started small as a group of four quickly grew to the point she would have as many as twenty-four ladies at her home on Thursday afternoons. Lasting friendships evolved from these weekly gatherings.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00 PM on Sunday June 23rd (Her Birthday) at Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel, 1040 S. Anderson Blvd. Topsail Beach. Reverend Chris Teseniar will be officiating. A reception will follow at the Assembly Building, 720 Channel Blvd, Topsail Beach with numerous pieces of Joyce’s art works from over the years on display.

In Lieu of Flowers the family asks that donations be made to Lower Cape Fear LifeCare, 1414 Physicians Dr. Wilmington NC 28401.

Joyce will be dearly missed by a very wide circle of friends and left us with the same graceful charm that she lived her entire life.

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