Joyce C. Roche, a retired educator, died on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. She was 70.
She was born on Oct. 18, 1948, in Abington to Vernice and Joseph Jones. She had three siblings and was the baby of the family. She spent her early years in Oreland and then moved with her family to the Germantown section of Philadelphia.
She was baptized at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church as a child and Enon was the only church home she knew until her death.
She graduated from Roosevelt Junior High and Germantown High School. She received her bachelor’s degree from Cheyney University and became a certified special education teacher in the School District of Philadelphia.
After completing her degree in 1970, she began teaching at Roosevelt Junior High School and continued her career at Roxborough High School, from which she retired after 30 years.
She had three loves in her life — her family, her church and her Philly sports teams.
Roche was an avid Philadelphia sports fan and held season tickets to both the Sixers and the Eagles. She celebrated the Eagles Super Bowl win with her family. Her family said it was not uncommon to hear her joke about both teams and share her thoughts about what the teams could do better to improve their winning records.
She met and married Antoine Small Sr. and one son, Antoine, was born to their union. She was a loving mother and she ensured Antoine was exposed to everything the world had to offer, including travel.
Roche visited many countries including Cuba, South Africa, Senegal, China and numerous countries in South America. She took her last trip in August 2018 with her sister, Lorene, and good friend, Alicia, on the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas, where they visited Italy, Spain and France.
After retiring, she cared for the matriarch members of her family — her mother, Vernice, and her aunt, Bettie. She would often take them to lunch, to the mall or to Enon.
She loved the role of grandmother. Her three grandchildren benefited from the attention and love she showered on them throughout their lives.
In the family, she played the role of coordinator. She never forgot the importance of keeping the family together and coordinated most of the holiday dinners whether she was hosting or not.
Roche was a staple in the Enon Church family and served as the announcement clerk and on several ministries including the Senior Choir, the Mass Choir and the Lott Carey Ministry.
She was involved in the community. She was an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Rho Theta Omega Chapter, where she reached Silver Status for 25 years of membership in 2017.
She was also a member of the National Association of University Women-Suburban Philadelphia Branch, which she co-chartered with her sister Lorene in 2006, and the Cheyney University Alumni Association-Montgomery County Chapter.
She was preceded in death by her parents; aunt; niece, Monique Sylva; and brother-in-law, Valjean Sylva Sr.
In addition to her son and sister, she is survived by: her granddaughter, Shanice; grandson, Nasir; great-granddaughter, Autumn; brothers, Mingo (Karen) and Jerome (Gayle); and other relatives and friends.
Services were held Jan. 14 at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, 230 W. Coulter St. Visitation was 8 am. Services followed at 10 a.m. Burial was in Whitemarsh Memorial Park.
Deborah L. Wilson Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the National Association of University Women-Suburban Philadelphia Branch — Scholarship Fund, 2543 Gypsy Lane, Glenside, PA 19038.