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The original item was published from 10/26/2016 3:48:29 PM to 1/4/2017 12:00:03 AM.

News Flash

A - Town General

Posted on: October 26, 2016

[ARCHIVED] Message of the Week (10/26)

Message of the Week
For the week ending October 28, 2016

The Town of Colchester staff and many residents were saddened this month by the recent passing of Joyce Sweeney, a long time public servant and dedicated community volunteer with a notable history and career with the Town.

Colchester born and bred, she was a town resident her entire life. Joyce once recalled to Colchester historian Inge Schaefer, “I was able to ride my horse in the mid-1940s down Lost Nation, Bay, Depot, and Blakely Roads, all of which were dirt roads at the time. If we wanted to go to Essex Junction, we'd go through the village or through the woods [now Westbury Trailer Park]. We also used to ski on Sunderland Hollow. It was all pasture halfway down the hill.”

For nearly ninety years Joyce wore many Town hats and helped shape Colchester as it grew. Feisty, active, and community-minded, Joyce combined a career with marriage and motherhood in an era when it was unusual for married women to work outside the home—and she worked and served in positions that were very often reserved for men. She was an auditor for over twenty years, entered public service to the Town of Colchester when she was elected to the Cemetery Commission in 1968, and continued in that office until 2014. When the Town Charter was amended and the elected office of Cemetery Commissioner became an appointed Cemetery Advisory Committee, Joyce soldiered on as a most valuable member, bringing with her decades of experience.

Her energy seemed boundless: in addition to being Colchester’s Cemetery Commissioner, over the years she became a Lister, was elected the Town Clerk, a Prudential Water District Committee member, a legislator, a member of the Civil Board of Authority, and was the Town Assessor. Inge Schaefer remembered: “She would show up for a property inspection with a huge measuring tape in hand, along with a notebook and property-related documents. No property was too steep, rocky, wet, or dense for Joyce not to inspect it thoroughly. We would watch with amazement as she measured questionable building dimensions or walked out the four sides of a property until she was satisfied she had all the required information.”

Ms. Schaefer also noted that, “Joyce always put the Town first and contributed to it every day of her adult life. She supported her church, the United Church of Colchester, the Colchester Historical Society, sang in the Community Chorus, and delivered Meals on Wheels.”

Joyce Sweeney was a big personality in a petite package: intelligent, honest, kind, formidable, warm, and true; she was loved and respected. She will be sorely missed.

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