Volume 81, Number 2 | June 9 - 15, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Photo by Chester Higgins

Joyce Watson.

Joyce Watson, 90, teacher of special-needs children

By Albert Amateau

Joyce Watson, a Greenwich Village resident for more than 50 years and an active member of First Presbyterian Church, died at age 90 in Beth Israel Hospital on May 29.

She suffered a massive stroke on May 26 and did not regain consciousness, said her son, Orson Watson, of Dorchester, Mass.

She worked with autistic and other special needs children for the Board of Education and the Association for Mentally Ill Children for about 30 years.

Born Mayfield Joyce Lovell on Dec. 4, 1920, in what was then British Guiana on the Caribbean coast of South America, she emigrated to London in 1957, where she met and married Bruce Watson. The couple came to New York and settled in Greenwich Village in 1958. She and her husband, who ran a dry cleaning shop on W. Fourth St. for many years, were divorced several years ago. He died in 2004.

Joyce Watson had a one-woman catering business for First Presbyterian Church events for many years. In addition, she ran a small after-school program in her W. 11th St. home, taking care of Village Community School children of working, single mothers. “She was a real force in the neighborhood,” her son said. “She traveled all over the world but didn’t want to live anyplace but the Village,” he said. “She made new friends all her life — all ages and sexual preferences. She was a night owl so people used to drop in at all hours. She was always helping Caribbean immigrants settle in,” her son said.

In addition to her son, a daughter, Roma, of Silver Springs, Md., also survives. A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Sat., June 11, at the First Presbyterian Church community house on W. 12th St. at Fifth Ave. Greenwich Village Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

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