Floral 13

Joyce Mavis Callender

1933 ~ 2021 (age 88)


Joyce Grant-Callender was born in Verdun (Montreal), Quebec on May 15, 1933, the youngest of four children to Alfred Nathaniel Grant and Mary Adella (Taylor) Grant. She was christened at the historic Union United Church and was an active member of that congregation throughout her youth, participating in the music program and social groups Girl Guides and “Sepia Girls”.  She was active, personable and made friends wherever she went.  In 1950 she graduated from Verdun High School where she had a passion for Latin and served as senior class president. For post-secondary studies, she matriculated to Sir George Williams College (now Concordia University) where she did a course in business. After receiving her diploma, she started her career as a bookkeeper and secretary with National Laundry, a company that did business on both sides of the US-Canada border. In 1953 in the midst of the Korean Conflict, she was part of a chaperoned group of young ladies from Montreal who attended a dance being held at Fort Devens. It was at this dance that she met a soldier by the name of Dexter Callender. They were engaged a year later and married on September 1, 1956. After relocating to Boston, Joyce worked for Hub Floral in the Fort Point area until the first of her four children was born. She spent the next several years raising and educating her children. When they were all in school, she went back to school herself for additional training and joined the Beth Israel Hospital medical records department, a job that she loved. She then worked for John D. O’Bryant as his secretary for several years upon his election to the Boston School Committee. She then joined Gillette’s medical department, and then the cardiology department at University Hospital. In her capacity at these organizations, she helped many young people get hired and start their careers.

Music was what brought Joyce solace through many challenging and difficult times. An early piano student of her older sister Violet, she became a superb pianist and vocalist.  As a member of Saint Mark Congregational Church, she sang in the Chancel Choir, served as a soloist and most recently as a member of their handbell choir. At the National Center of Afro-American Artists and the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts, she performed in productions including Ballad Caribe and Kismet. She performed for a number of years with Handel & Haydn Society and Chorus Pro Musica, bringing her children to sit and listen in the back of Symphony Hall during dress rehearsals, expanding their musical education. Often at home, she would just sit down at the piano to play and sing and fill the house with joy.

Civic involvement was also important to Joyce, as she involved herself in election campaigns, community groups and most recently working at the polls for the elections department for the City of Boston.

In the late 70’s, Joyce became a member of Twelfth Baptist Church, where she enjoyed serving as secretary on the Board of Missions and as a member of the choir. She made two trips to the Holy Land with Reverend Haynes.

Nothing was more important to Joyce than her four children to whom she dedicated every resource she could find to ensure that each one had exactly what they needed for personal growth and to become the best individuals they could be. In this she spared nothing and gave her all. Whenever we said to her, “Mummy, I love you”, she always said “I love you more”.

Joyce leaves to mourn her children, Ivy Adele, Dexter, Jr. (Rana), Susan Joy, and Grant (Kerry), her sister Violet States, and her beloved grandchildren Susan Veronica Callender, Dexter Callender, III and Charles, Marlena, Ryan, Eamon, Sarah. She is predeceased by her brother Roy and sister Ivy. She also leaves her dearest friends Carmen Goodridge and Cicily O’Bryant, other relatives and a host of friends young and old made over a lifetime.


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