Joyce Austin Lafontaine, 89, passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday August 23, 2023.
Joyce was predeceased by her husband, Raymond Lafontaine, sister, Sandra Austin and brother Robert.
She leaves daughters, Susan Markow, Lyn Burke and Katie Mellecker along with 8 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Born to parents Thad and Delva Austin in Maine she was raised in Athol and attend nursing school at Henry Heywood Hospital in Gardner. She would ultimately work at Heywood Hospital as an OBGYN Nurse being the first face many generations of Gardner residents would see. Becoming a Nurse was indicative of a life ahead dedicated to caring for others.
She met and married Raymond Lafontaine, who went on to be the State Representative for Gardner over 17 years. They moved to Boston where Joyce was a senior nursing administrator for trauma surgery at Boston City Hospital.
After Ray’s retirement they moved back to their beloved Gardner, where Joyce enjoyed her weekly ladies golf league at Gardner Municipal GC. Joyce loved the ocean, being with family on the Cape or the North Shore was a highlight of her summers.
If you met Joyce in her later years she exuded class, impeccably dressed, comfortable at public events or cooking for family in the kitchen. But it was her hardscrabble yankee beginnings that shaped her, she was happier with her hands buried in the dirt of her gardens tending to plants and setting an example of her love of life for her children and grandchildren whom she cherished. No family vacation or holiday was complete until “Uppa” was present for the children to cook, clean, care and love unconditionally. Joyce did not miss an event, from high school football games, dance recitals, graduations and of course family births. No problem couldn’t be solved by a good meal and conversation. She taught us all how not just to live, but how to live for family.
A calling hour will be from 10 am -11am, Friday September 1, 2023 in the Mack Family Funeral Home, 105 Central St., Gardner. Followed by a Service at 11am. Private burial will be in the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Winchendon.
After the service the family will welcome friends back to the Lafontaine home for a luncheon at 80 Crestwood Drive Gardner MA.
To send an online condolence please visit www.mackfamilyfh.com.
Mack Family Funeral Home, 105 Central St., Gardner is directing arrangements.
Kevin J. Mack, Walter C. Taylor and Melissa A. McQuaid directors.