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Obituary: Joyce Graham Henderson

Joyce Graham Henderson, most recently of Ripton, Vt. died in Burlington, Vt. early on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 at the age of 60. She was born in Arlington, Va., the daughter of Donald Graham Henderson and Alaine Marsh Henderson, longtime residents of Alexandria, Va; her father worked for the federal government, rising to the level of Assistant Chief of Staff for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 1970s. With the notable exception of a year in London during the swinging mid-’60s, Joyce grew up in Alexandria, and attended Charles Barrett, Thomas Jefferson and finally T.C. Williams High School, from which she graduated as a member of the Class of 1969. She has friends and extended family across the state of Virginia.

Joyce received her A.B. in History with honors from Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio. She pursued graduate work in public administration at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and the Washington Public Affairs Center. After an internship with the U.S. Department of State and a stint at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, Joyce worked as an editor and staff associate in Washington, D.C. for Trans-World News Service and the American Association for Engineering Education. She continued to work as a free-lance writer, editor, and indexer for major scholarly presses throughout her life.

From 1979-1982 Joyce served as project officer at Appropriate Technology International, managing economic development projects in Africa and the South Pacific: she had primary responsibilities for all operations in Kenya, and shared responsibility for projects in Fiji, Malawi, Swaziland, and Vanuatu. This was work of which she was particularly and deservedly proud. From 1982-1984 she lived in Cairo, Egypt, working for Chemonics International’s Basic Village Services Project, and edited a volume of the United Nations’ comprehensive development study of the Sinai.

For the past 27 years, Joyce and her husband William B. Pierce owned and operated the Chipman Inn in Ripton, Vt. She was Ripton’s Assistant Town Clerk, and served several terms on the Regional Planning Commission.

Joyce loved people, and served as an inspiration for many as she battled lung cancer and other adversities with grace, optimism, and determination. She was a voracious reader, with a special love of historical novels and mysteries as well as literary classics. She was adept at all sorts of board games and word puzzles, composing as well as solving crosswords. She was also a skilled needlewoman — knitting sweaters, crocheting socks, and creating needlepoint pillows. She was an amateur photographer, painter, calligrapher, and musician, and a lover of cats. Joyce spoke some Arabic and Swahili as well as French; she lived for a time in England, France, and Italy, loved to travel, and had many friends around the world as well as close to home.

She is survived by Bill, her husband of 30 years, as well as by her brother Geoffrey R. Henderson of Arlington, Va. and her sister Diana E. Henderson of Boston, Mass.

A memorial service in Joyce’s honor will be held at 1 p.m. on Dec. 1 at the Sanderson/Ducharme funeral home in Middlebury, Vt.