Joyce Markisz Skwara, 88, passed away peacefully at her home Oct. 29, surrounded by her devoted family, after a brief illness.
Joyce was born in Holyoke, Mass., March 17, 1924, to Anthony and Anna (Barnas) Markisz. Her parents and sisters, Viola Markisz, Jane Markisz Cynarski, and her beloved husband, Chester H. Skwara, predeceased her.
Joyce attended Holyoke High School, graduating in 1942. Her friendly personality and natural communication skills were recognized early in her life when she was hired as an executive assistant at the Spaulding Golf division in Chicopee, Mass. She lived with her parents and sisters in Holyoke’s Riverside Polish community, where her father worked at the American Writing Paper Company paper mill and her mother worked as a seamstress at Skinner Satin Company. Joyce was extremely popular and had many friends from her childhood that she maintained a close relationship with during her entire life.
She married the love of her life, Chester Henry Skwara of Peconic, on May 20, 1950, at Mater Dolorosa Church in Holyoke, where both of their parents had also been married. They were fortunate to have had a fulfilling marriage, working the family farm in Peconic, and joyfully celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2010.
They are survived by four children, Chester H. Skwara Jr. of Greenville, S.C., Captain David M. Skwara of Annapolis, Md., Paula S. Croteau of Southold and Patricia Knez of Riverhead.
In 1968 the Skwara family farm was sold and Joyce began a successful career at North Fork Bank and Trust Company. She initially worked as a teller at the Southold branch, training and befriending John Kanas, who eventually became the bank’s president. Joyce was quickly promoted to manager of the Love Lane branch in Mattituck. She made many business friends and was an active member of the Mattituck Chamber of Commerce. She was proud of Love Lane’s development and was often asked to judge the Little Miss Mattituck contest. Again, her affable personality and genuine ability to communicate with people led to her promotion to vice president in the public relations department. She retired in 1996 at the age of 72.
As a devoted parishioner of Our Lady of Ostrabrama R.C. Church in Cutchogue, Joyce was an active member of both the Rosary and Columbiette societies. She regularly participated in monthly altar duty and felt honored to carefully iron the sacred altar linens. She was a frequent volunteer at Community Outreach and an officer at the Southold Senior Citizens Group. Joyce lived an extremely productive and happy life and lived by one motto, “You will be happy when you give to others,” hence family and friends always came first. Her days were often spent enjoying a good cup of coffee at her kitchen table while taking numerous phone calls, mostly listening and offering gentle caring words to friends and family. Words cannot express how deeply Joyce’s “words of wisdom” will be missed.
Joyce leaves behind beloved grandchildren Andrew Skwara of Nashville, Tenn., Evan Skwara of Denver, Colo., April Rice of Jacksonville, Fla., Andrea Skwara of Brooklyn, N.Y., Ivy Jane Croteau and Markis Croteau of Southold, N.Y., and Laura Knez of Riverhead, N.Y. Joyce also had three great-grandchildren.
The family, who surrounded her with love during her brief illness, will hold a wake Friday, Nov. 2 at DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Southold. A funeral Mass will follow at Our Lady of Ostrabrama on Saturday, Nov. 3. A traditional corned beef and cabbage luncheon will be held in her honor at the family home on Wells Road in Peconic following her burial.
In lieu of flowers, it was her wish to have donations made to Stony Brook University Medical Center, Emergency Room Nurses, Attn: Susan Kahn. Susan and her team of caring nurses have been the guardian angels in the years of caring for Joyce and her family.
This is a paid notice.