Joyce G. Nelson

Joyce Gulick Nelson, formerly of Ridgefield and Redding, passed away on October 12, 2015. She was 91 years old and the wife of Sanford “Swede” E. Nelson, who predeceased her in 2012.

Mrs. Nelson was born in Shanghai, China, on May 27, 1924, the daughter of the late Horace and Joyce Gulick and twin sister to the late H. William Gulick. After the early deaths of her parents, her grandmother, Anne Gulick, raised Joyce and her brother in Jackson Heights, New York, where she attended the Garden Country Day School. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, from Wellesley College in 1945 with a BA in English.

After graduation, Joyce attended classes at Columbia University and worked at Standard-Vacuum Oil Company in New York City, where she met Sanford, a civil engineer for the company. She married Sanford in Singapore in 1947. She also resided in Thailand, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), Japan, and moved to Ridgefield in 1957.

During a five-year return stay to Yokohama, Japan, in the 1960s, Mrs. Nelson raised her four daughters, taught Sunday school, led a Girl Scout troop, instructed Japanese women and businessmen in English, and volunteered for the Red Cross at a U.S. army hospital for those injured in Vietnam. She also took up painting in oils.

When Mrs. Nelson returned to Ridgefield in 1969, she resumed her active work with St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, serving on the Altar Guild, the Flower Fund, the Vestry, and other committees. Joyce became the first woman Senior Warden in 1985, guiding the church in that role for six years.

Mrs. Nelson worked for many years in the Ridgefield schools as a tutor for academically challenged students under the Title 1 program and helped foreign students with their English. She continued her love of oil painting, taking classes at the Wooster Community Art Center. An avid knitter, she was teased by her daughters that she could knit, converse (also in French), read a book, and watch television all at the same time.

Joyce is survived by her daughters, Anne Pate, Margaret Vogt, Patricia Hilton-Johnson, and Kathryn Scourby, and five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, three nieces and two nephews.

A Memorial Service will take place on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church; 351 Main Street, Ridgefield. The family will receive friends at North Hall after the service. Memorial contributions may be made in her name to the East Asian Studies Endowed Fund at Wellesley College, or to the public television station of your choice.

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