Michael P. Joyce passed away on November 6 ,2021 He had character. He was a character. His desire to help people was rivaled only by his ability to create mischief. He was most at ease with others. Whether it was history, sports, or politics, he reveled in conversation. He thrived being around people at the house in Canton, the Eire, Wampy, the deck in Marshfield, the South Boston Yacht Club, or one of his many hiding spots, which he collectively referred to as “church.” He possessed the wisdom of an old man with the spirit of a young one. He had a wry smile; a childlike glint in his eye; a great laugh; and a cutting wit. He was the type of guy who would walk into a place not knowing a soul, and would walk out with five new friends, a few of whom he would, to the surprise of his family, bring home without notice to a holiday dinner. He was an avid sports fan with an assuredly dispassionate interest in the point spread. His principles were simple and steadfastly held: he believed in family, friendship, loyalty, and lending a hand to those down on their luck. He had an abundant soul, and wasn’t afraid to share it. He never forgot that that he came from “the corner” in Neponset, and never refused a favor to a relative, friend, friend of a friend, or a stranger. He was fiercely independent up to his last day. As he said, “I am the only captain of this ship.” He left this world the only way he would have it: on his own terms, peacefully passing at his house in Canton on November 6, 2021.
His professional accomplishments were many: a graduate of Boston Latin (’61); Boston College (’65), and Suffolk University Law School (’68). He served as the Chief of District Courts in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office counseling many a young attorney to “do the right thing” and to “cover your ass.” He taught as an adjunct professor at both Suffolk University Law School and Harvard Law School. He served as an Administrative Judge at the Department of Industrial Accidents; and as a partner in the successful law firm, Branca, Powell, & Joyce, which focused on worker’s compensation or, as he put it, helping working people.
He was married to the love of his life, “the cupcake,” Joanne L. Joyce (Derba) who predeceased him in 2018, for what he described as 48 years of “marital bliss.” He was a tremendous father to his two children, Jeannemarie Joyce of Milton and Michael Joyce of Westwood. He was omnipresent in their lives, as a coach, mentor, career counselor, and for one odd stretch of time he was a repeated and unsolicited supplier of batteries and flashlights. He was one of the best friends they could ever ask for. He is also survived by his son-in-law Keith Doucette and his daughter-in-law Kate Devlin Joyce, both of whom he loved deeply. He was proud to be a son of Dorchester and the son of Irish immigrants. To his mother Delia Joyce (McDonough) and father John Joyce (both deceased), he was acutely aware and appreciative of the sacrifices they made to offer a better life to him and his siblings. If he had any regrets, they were likely to be manifested in a wish for one more dinner with the cupcake, and one more hockey game, soccer game, car ride, or day at the beach with his grandchildren, Lily Doucette (18), Sean Joyce (13), Delia Joyce (10), and Ciara Joyce (5). He loved being their Big Papi and they adored him. He is survived by his six (6) siblings whom he loved dearly, John Joyce, Charles Joyce, Mary Clifford, Eileen Bayer, Annmarie Dickson, and Margaret Joyce Pleasants. He is also survived by dozens of nieces and nephews, including the Joyce, Clifford, Bayer, Dickson, Pleasants, Larkey, and Criess families.
Most of all, those who knew him best will remember him as a devoted husband, father, and grandfather; a guy’s guy; a man who loved to help others; and as a bigger than life personality who chose to live rather than exist. He was truly one of a kind. His family asks that you honor him with laughter instead of tears, and raise a parting glass of remembrance by sharing is his favorite toast of “Up Galway!”
Visiting hours in the Dockray & Thomas Funeral Home, 455 Washington Street, Canton on Wednesday November 10th from 3-8pm. Funeral Mass at St. Ann Church 251 Neponset Ave Dorchester Thursday November 11th at 11am. Burial on Friday November 12th at St. Mary Cemetery, Canton at 10am
In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to the Rian Immigration Center https://www.riancenter.org/get-involved/support-us/ or Dana Farber at https://danafarber.jimmyfund.org/site/Donation2?df_id=2100&mfc_pref=T&2100.donation=form1&utm_source=dfh&utm_medium=button&utm_campaign=AGDFH031519&s_src=AGDFH031519&s_subsrc=AGDFH031519 .
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Michael P. Joyce, please visit our floral store.