- Joyce Elinor Worcester Hilliard, 85, passed away on Nov. 8, 2016, due to lung cancer, with the love and support of her daughter and grandson.
She was born March 18, 1931, to Erma (White) and Verrill Worcester in Columbia, Maine, "during a blizzard" along with her twin sister.
Joyce first came to Portland during World War II with her family while her father worked in the shipyard. She came to love city life, and when the war was over did not want to move back Downeast. Shortly after graduating high school she headed back to Portland and worked first at Union Station as a waitress and then at Union Mutual.
At age 24, in the mid 1950s, she and some beloved girlfriends headed west on an adventure. She lived for several months in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she married. She then moved home briefly to Columbia, Maine, and had her only child. Soon it was back to Portland, where she "knew she could earn a living and support a child" as a single parent and where she resumed work at Union Mutual. Joyce was extremely proud of her work ethic and contribution to the company, earning her several promotions despite only having a high school diploma. Any time she was asked about her job she would quickly say, "The smartest thing I ever did was not learn to type, it saved me from being pegged into the secretarial pool." All told, she worked for what later became Unum for a total of 38 years.
While she may not have wanted to live Downeast, she loved going "home" to spend time with her parents, especially at large family get-togethers around the holidays. Nothing made her happier than a big crowd for a lobster feed, Thanksgiving dinner, or the Christmas traditions with her sister Julia and the Metzler family. Later in life, her greatest pride and joy were her two grandsons, Patrick and Garrett, to whom she imparted endless and incalculable lessons and wisdom. She was a very loving and giving mother and grandmother and, despite being almost completely blind due to Macular Degeneration, she never passed up a chance to go on a trip or to a college rugby game of Patrick's. Some of the things she considered her greatest events in her life were buying her house, as well as attending her daughter's and later her grandson's college graduation.
Before losing her sight Joyce was an avid reader, news hound, quilt maker, knitter, and cross stitcher. It was reading, however, that she mourned the loss of the most. She enjoyed her flower gardens and vegetable gardens, always planting more than she could ever eat, "there needs to be plenty to go around the neighborhood." She looked forward to her yearly shopping trip with Mel and Cathy, Magic of Christmas with Sonny's girls, and joining the Bunko girls for trips to plays. In very recent years the family Alzheimer's curse caught up with her, but she did not let anyone or anything diminish her fierce need for independence, not much slowed her down and she amazed many by living alone in her own home until 3 weeks ago.
Joyce will be greatly missed, especially by her daughter and grandson. Rarely a day went by that they didn't see or talk to each other, often many times a day.
Joyce is survived by her daughter Lauren Cormier, grandson Patrick Cormier, sisters Julia Worcester, Cassie and her husband Jim Hardwick, sister in law Marilyn Worcester and brothers Verrill "Sonny" Worcester and Everett Worcester and his wife Lenore along with many cousins, nieces, nephews and her God grandchildren. Joyce was predeceased by her parents, brothers David and Dwight and a grandson Garrett Verrill Cormier.
Visiting hours will be held at Jones and Rich Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St., Portland, Maine, on Saturday, Nov. 12th, 2016, from 5 - 7 p.m. A graveside service for family will be at Mailley Hill Cemetery in Columbia, Maine on Sunday, Nov 13th, 2016, at 1 p.m.
Joyce requested that in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation be made to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation or the Alzheimer's Association.