When you get a phone call at a time you normally don’t receive phone calls, from someone you don’t really know that well, and she says, please sit down, you know that the news isn’t good. I received that call last night.
A dear friend and colleague, Joyce Newman, had passed away suddenly. She had the flu. She had gone to the doctor on Monday. She was found by a neighbor who had come by to help her feed her cats. She was only 59.
Joyce was one of those people who made the world a little bit better, but you didn’t really know it. Her vocation was helping us at Parking Today, but her avocation was helping lost and abused animals, particularly cats. And she worked tirelessly and quietly on this project.
A few years ago she had an idea to set up a non profit to achieve her goal and she did it. One day she came to me and asked if she could work four days instead of five, so she could devote more time for her animals. Over the years she has saved countless feline lives, finding them good homes. And that includes at least four who have lived with us over the years.
Her love of animals didn’t stop with cats. I remember one incident where she spent a ton of money at the vets to save a sick mouse. We couldn’t believe it. She found it routine. She took a lot of friendly abuse for that one. She didn’t care.
When we moved last fall, Joyce simply loved her new office. She said she could see the world outside. She needed that. If there was a rainstorm, or a lot of thunder and lightning, she had a huge smile on her face. She and her boyfriend liked to travel to Kansas and hunt tornados. To each their own.
I joked that Joyce did everything at PT no one else did. She was in charge of internet updates, which she did daily. She handled all our social functions including all the fun at PIE, the Temecula group, and our travel arrangements. She kept her eye on things like the calendar in the magazine, the dealer and installer list, updated the information from local, regional, and international parking groups, a thankless task. I could go on but I’m sure I would leave many things out. I know that over the next few weeks, we will discover many things Joyce did. “Why is there no water in the cabinet? Was there a deposit today? Who picks up the mail?”
Joyce was frightened when she started her nonprofit. She was afraid she might fail. But she did it anyway. She jumped into the arena. She got a little bloody, but she persevered. And succeeded. My guess is that had she lived, she would have asked her hours be reduced again this year. She liked working at PT, but she loved her animals.
Her passing will leave us each, in our own way, slightly diminished.
Its a little too soon to know how to remember Joyce in a tangible way. She had no close relatives so her friends in the rescue world, her neighbors, and those of us at PT are sorting. I’ll keep you posted.