Joyce Silver Willig

FAIRFIELD, Conn., and BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Joyce Silver Willig, adored wife, mother, sister, sister-in-law, daughter, aunt and friend, died Feb. 2, 2013, surrounded by family and enveloped in love and gratitude. Mrs. Willig was born in Bangor to George and Bobbie Silver.

She was a graduate of Bangor High School and Boston University. Mrs. Willig was married to her beloved husband, Robert, for 50 years and was the adored mother of Alan and Jerilyn Willig. She was a resident of Fairfield, Conn., and Boynton Beach, Fla. In 1982 Mrs. Willig became one of the world's first liver transplant recipients. She used this gift of life to bring joy, love, hope, compassion and kindness to the lives of countless others. Mrs. Willig was a founding member of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Liver Foundation, and she served on the ALF National Board. Mrs. Willig spoke before the U.S. Congress to help change legislation for organ transplantation, and to hundreds of educational, civic and religious groups as an inspirational advocate for organ donation and the celebration of life. Mrs. Willig was a writer, a humorist, a community activist, a much loved high school Yiddish teacher, and the kindest person many have ever known. To her many friends, she was a joyful inspiration. To her family, she was the world.

Mrs. Willig leaves behind her husband, Robert of Boynton Beach, Fla.; her children, Alan Willig of Bridgeport, Conn., and Jerilyn Willig of Watertown, Mass.; two sisters, Bonnie Silver and Kent of Arizona and Janie Silver of Bangor; the memory of her late sister, Nancy Offenberg of Bangor; a sister-in-law, Sharon Willig of Chevy Chase, Md.; nieces, nephews, and scores of extended family members and friends who are grateful to have known and loved her.

Funeral services will be held noon Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the Jewish Funeral Chapel, 118 Center St., Bangor. Memorial week - Shiva will be held 1-8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, at the home of Janie Silver, 140 Palm St., Bangor. Shiva will also be held 1-8 p.m. Friday and Sunday at the home of Bobby and Carol Blackman, 22 Barry Scott Drive, Fairfield, Conn. Those who wish may make a memorial donation to the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, Forbes Tower Suite 8084, 3600 Forbes Ave., at Meyran Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 or the Connecticut Chapter of the American Liver Foundation, 127 Washington Ave., North Haven, CT 06473. Condolences to the family may be expressed at

Published in BDN Maine on Feb. 4, 2013