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Joyce E. Nelson

Obituary for Joyce E. Nelson

August 26, 1946 - January 26, 2020
Wakefield, Massachusetts | Age 73


Joyce E. Nelson, age 73, of Wakefield, formerly a longtime Malden resident, died Sunday, January 26 at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Born in Malden on August 26, 1946 she was the daughter of the late Gustaav and Miriam (Gayton) DeVits.

Joyce was raised and educated in Malden and was a graduate of Malden High School, Class of 1964. Throughout her youth, she and her family spent their summers in Windham, NH, a tradition she carried on with her husband (her high school sweetheart) and their children. Shortly after high school, Joyce worked in insurance for a couple of years before marrying her husband, Robert E. Nelson, in 1967. He soon enlisted in the United States Army and she took on the role of being a military wife while accompanying him to Panama. They began their family in 1973 with their daughter Denise and soon after welcomed Sandra in 1975. They too raised the family in Malden, having been residents for 47 years, and summered at Cobbett's Pond in Windham, NH.

Joyce loved to travel; most especially enjoying trips to Hawaii and a trip with her husband to Alaska was a true joy. Her most cherished trip was a recent excursion to Emerald Isle in the Outer Banks of North Carolina that was a family reunion, brining together more than 50 family members. Joyce had been a two-time cancer survivor, battles she fought through her life. She loved donating her time to schools and ultimately took on a job at the Mystic Valley Charter School in Malden from where she retired. Other joys included BINGO, cards, and any games that brought the family together.

She was the beloved wife of Robert E. Nelson with whom she shared more than 50 years of marriage. She was the loving mother of Denise Manning and her husband Gary of Reading and Sandra Grover and her husband Michael of Wakefield. She was the adoring grandmother of Casey, Brian, James, and Thomas. She was the sister of Judith Daigle and her husband Richard of North Carolina, Richard DeVits and his wife Dorothy of Stoneham, Robert DeVits and his wife Paula of Manchester, NH, and the late Diane Boyle and her late husband William. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and dear friends.

Her Funeral will be held from the McDonald Funeral Home, 19 Yale Ave., Wakefield on Thursday at 10am followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Joseph Church, 173 Albion St., Wakefield at 11am. Visitation for relatives and friends will be held at the Funeral Home on Wednesday from 4-8pm. Interment, Forest Dale Cemetery, Malden.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Massachusetts General Hospital at address: MGH Division of Palliative Care, 55 Fruit St., Founders Suite 600, Boston, MA 02114 or online at; with a designation to "Palliative Care Service Fund."

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McDonald Funeral Home

19 Yale Avenue
Wakefield, MA 01880
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