Mary Joyce Garry
On April 2nd, 1936, Mary Joyce McAteer was born, first child of proud parents, Bernadette M. Mc.Ateer and James Patrick McAteer of Bayonne, New Jersey. Due to her playful spirit and her light, happy ways, she was soon known as “Joy”. Her sister Elaine was born a few years later, followed by her youngest sister, Bunny.
Joy attended “St. Mary’s of the Sea” in Bayonne, from kindergarten throughout grammar school. Her education continued at the Holy Family Academy in Bayonne, an all girl’s Catholic high school. Her religious school training cemented her deep devotion and strong faith, which carried her throughout her life.
There were many family members who called Bayonne home. Joy often spoke fondly of Sunday’s, visiting grandparents, aunts and uncles and especially playing with her many cousins.
As told by her kindergarten best friend, Antonette “Toni”, the world was a gentler place, where children could happily and safely play and be carefree children. They enjoyed themselves whole-heartedly and wanted for nothing. There was an innocence to the 40’s and 50’s and it was a wonderful time to grow up.
After high school, Joy and her girlfriends got jobs in Manhattan. They would take the ferry to work each day. On weekends, the girls would attend dances at the various churches. At one such dance, Joy met Bernard Frances Garry, Jr., a tall handsome blue eyed college educated fellow who was kind , funny and an excellent dancer. They had a courtship, engagement and marriage which spanned the remainder of their lives. The couple was blessed with two lovely daughters, Laura Jean and Marybeth. They had a beautiful home custom built in the Baltusrol Top section of Springfield, abutting the Watchung Reservation, an area teaming with animals and nature.
The Garry children, attended St. James School, where Joy met other young mothers who lived nearby and formed a weekly mahjong group that continues to play to this day, some 45 years later. These women shared so much over the course of their lives.
When the construction of route 78 threatened to endanger the Watchung Reservation, Joy rallied with environmentalists and activists. This began Joy’s involvement in environmental causes and politics. Over the span of Joy’s life, she was the chairman of the Springfield Environmental Commission as well as Chairman of the Springfield Board of Adjustment. She sat on many other boards as well.
Joy returned to college and received a Bachelor’s degree, as well as a Master’s degree in Planning and Public Policy. Joy earned her license as a professional planner. Her education brought her to Union County, where she worked for more than twenty years. At the time she retired, she was the Director of Union County Community Development Division, Dept. of Economic Development.
On September 12, 2001, her husband Bern, passed away.
Joy has been a church member and contributor to St. James church for more than 45 years, where she was also a lector, reading at mass. Joy was also active in the St. James Senior group and held the position of President for two years.
She would often say that the best and most important thing that she had ever done was to have her children. She loved them so. She loved and supported her daughters fully.
The greatest joy in her life was the tremendous amount of time she was able to spend with her granddaughter’s Emily and Erin. She adored them and was thrilled to be part of their lives, watching them grow and forever cheering them on in all of their endeavors.
Other pleasures included lunching, a good book and the warmth of a special bond that she shared with her kitty Ollie.
Joy will be greatly missed.