HARTWICK SEMINARY – Joyce S. Jones, a long-time resident of Hartwick Seminary and a devoted wife, mother and grandmother, passed away with family by her side Tuesday afternoon, May 19, 2020, at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown. She was also an accomplished seamstress and upholsterer, and had a special love for Otsego Lake, often reminding her family, “Aren’t you glad I moved to Cooperstown; there is not a more beautiful place.” She was 87.
Born Oct. 22, 1932, in Ayer, Mass., she was one of four children of David P. and Alice (Moison) Sargent. Raised on the family farm in Groton, Mass., Joyce graduated from Groton High School with the Class of 1950, and then attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1954.
Later that same year she moved to Cooperstown when she took a job at the Cornell Cooperative Extension. This was quite a step for a young lady in the 1950s to take, and Joyce admitted she was a bit scared moving away from her family and native Massachusetts, but she persevered and did well.
Joyce was especially glad she moved to Cooperstown when, at a New Year’s Eve party, she met Duane E. Jones. On Nov. 26, 1956, Joyce and Duane were married in Groton, Mass., and, after relocating several times, settled into their home in Hartwick Seminary in 1964.
In the mid 1960s, Joyce left her job at the extension office to devote her time to raising her children and caring for their home. She always had talent for sewing, and in the 1970s started working on her own as a seamstress as well as doing upholstery work.
For decades, Joyce faithfully served on the board of directors of the Hartwick Seminary Cemetery Association. She, along with her husband Duane, looked after the upkeep of the cemetery and was the person to call whenever a burial needed to take place. She was also a representative for Cherry Valley Memorials.
Joyce was very devoted to the First Presbyterian Church in Cooperstown, where she was a long-time faithful member, served as a deacon and was in charge of the Columbarium in the Church-yard. Before women could take an active role in church governance, Joyce became a vital part of the church’s Women’s Fellowship, serving as their treasurer and taking part in the various guilds that, at the time, were part of this church group.
As an accomplished seamstress, her passion for this ministry of the church led her to be the mainstay for many years in deciding on and organizing the various sewing projects the women worked on in their Monday sewing circle. They would sell their creations at the Alternative Market held each year just prior to Christmas.
Through the years she also served as chair of the annual Ice Cream Social and the accompanying sale of the women’s handcrafted items, as well as church rummage sales. One of her biggest endeavors was raising awareness of the need to restore the church’s stained-glass windows, and was instrumental in raising the needed funds.
Her legacy at First Presbyterian will live on for years to come in the stained-glass quilted wall hanging she crafted for the church’s 2007 bicentennial celebration. Designed and pieced together by Joyce and her grandchildren, they began choosing fabrics in June 2006 and worked together during school holidays for several months.
It was quilted by Joyce and her ecumenical friends and upon completion in July 2007, her son, Steven mounted it on a wooden frame and it now hangs in the sanctuary above the main entrance doors. The various blocks represent and depict liturgical seasons in the Christian calendar and cycles of life.
Never one to sit idle, Joyce was also an accomplished bowler, and she and her sister, Jan, won the No Tap tournament four years in a row.
This remarkable woman, who was such a vital part of her church and community, and whose hearing loss never kept her from persevering and accomplishing so much, will be greatly missed by her loving family.
She leaves behind four children and six grandchildren, son Steven Duane Jones and his wife, Eva, of Niskayuna, and their children, Cora Elizabeth, Kelly Christine and David Duane Jones; and three daughters, Susan E. Bergene and husband, Gregory, of Cooperstown, and their daughters, Kristin Ellen and Hanna Joy Bergene, Sandra Lee Jones of Middletown, Del., and Sharon L. Otto and husband, Paul, of Niskayuna and their son, Paul Christopher Otto. She is further survived by her brother, David P. Sargent, Jr. and his wife, Janet, of Great Falls, Va., and a sister, Jean Norton and her husband, Lee, of Valatie, and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to her father and mother, who predeceased her in 1994 and 1995 respectively, Joyce was also predeceased by her husband of 42 years, Duane E. Jones, who died June 21, 1999, and her sister Janet Ann Kerr, who died Dec. 8, 2018.
She will be laid to rest alongside her husband in Hartwick Seminary Cemetery.
While there will be no services at this time, please remember your times spent with Joyce, smile, and know she is at peace.
For those who wish to honor Joyce’s life, please consider a memorial donation to Hartwick Seminary Cemetery Association, 1636 Kelly Corners Road, Oneonta, NY 13820, or Habitat for Humanity of Otsego County, 403-B Chestnut Street, Oneonta, NY 13820.
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.