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HomeObituariesIn Memory: Grace (Joyce) Eileen Hutchings, 106

In Memory: Grace (Joyce) Eileen Hutchings, 106

Obituary - Grace HutchingsMay 26, 2023, Grace (Joyce) Eileen Hutchings, 106, of Fairfield, CT, passed away peacefully in her sleep with family at her side, and her favorite bird, the cardinal, singing outside her window.

Born Grace Eileen Barlow in London, England on April 14, 1917, Joyce was a strong-willed and rambunctious child. Her mischievous antics became the stuff of family legend, including her renaming herself “Joyce” at age five, announcing to all that she didn’t particularly care for the name Grace.

At an early age, Joyce decided that nursing would be her career, and she worked during the war years in London, including through the 9-month-long Blitz bombing. After the war, the ever-adventurous Joyce traveled to Kenya and fell in love with that country, working in and around Nairobi until she was hired to be the nurse with the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer safari, filming the epic adventure movie “King Solomon’s Mines”. The group traveled throughout East Africa, filming on location, and it was on that safari she met and fell in love with her future husband, Roy David Hutchings.

Roy and Joyce immigrated to the US to begin their new adventure, raising a family; first in Rye, NY, then in Westport, and finally in Fairfield, CT. Joyce was a performing member of the former “Nutmeg Players” of Westport and was involved in ministry at First Church Congregational of Fairfield with the Women’s Fellowship and volunteering at “the Store”, both of which she did well into her 90s. She made hundreds of homemade seasonal cards for shut-ins, containing her original poems and verses. She was an active member of the charity organization D.B.E. (Daughters of the British Empire), where she made lifelong friends.

She never lost her wit, her accent, or her love of tea. She always longed to see Africa again. Joyce loved all animals and especially her feline companions, who generally ate at least as well as the rest of the family. We expect she was greeted raucously by her dearly departed Siamese cats, Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum, who must have wondered what took her so long.

Family who went before: Joyce and Roy enjoyed 51 years of married life together until his passing on Oct. 21, 2002. Joyce was predeceased by her father Alexander on Dec. 29, 1931, her mother Eva on Feb. 26, 1983, brother Alexander on Feb. 25, 2015, son-in-law Christopher on Aug. 4, 2022, and daughter-in-law Rena on Oct. 3, 2022.

Family she left behind: Joyce is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Jeanne and Lance Lee of Pacific Palisades, CA, son David of Norwalk, CT, and daughter Judith Dann of Weston, CT. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Heather Lee Messner and her husband Hansjörg Messner of London, UK, Alyssa Lee of Pacific Palisades, CA, Jacob Dann of Asheville, NC, Alexander Dann of Shelton, CT, and Eric Dann and his wife Kaitlyn Uhrick of Voorhees, NJ. Her surviving great-grandchildren are Milena Messner and Thomas Messner of London, UK, and Samuel Ceja of Pacific Palisades, CA. Joyce was extremely proud of all her family, whom she loved fiercely.

The family would like to thank the staff of The Carolton Hospital in Fairfield for their compassionate care and express their deepest gratitude to her long-time caregiver, Juanita Gil, who became like another daughter to Joyce in her last years.

Joyce’s remarkable life will be remembered and celebrated at a memorial service to be held at First Church Congregational, 148 Beach Rd, Fairfield, CT, on Sunday, June 11th at 3:30 PM, with light refreshments to follow. Her ashes are to be interred alongside those of her late husband, Roy, in the First Church Congregational Memorial Garden.

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