Obituary of Joyce A. Griffith
Joy Griffith of Glenmont, NY joined the streets of heaven on Christmas Eve surrounded by family after a courageous and brave battle with Primary CNS Lymphoma. She fought to the end with hope, enthusiasm, and her ever-present optimism. The passing, like her life, was of amazing grace.
One of Joy’s deepest commitments was to loving and supporting her family. She had a keen sense of adventure and enjoyed traveling throughout the Northeast in search of fun and laughter. She often fondly reminisced about evening concerts at Tanglewood, sunny Cape Cod beach days, Broadway shows, family gatherings in Elmira, and running beautiful scenic routes throughout the seasons. In all of this, her greatest thrill was instilling a sense of giving, learning, and love in her children. She was always a steadfast and wonderful wife and life partner.
Joy was born in Elmira, NY on February 1, 1950, the daughter of the late Florence and Clitius Griffith.
Joy was a remarkable and caring individual with a can-do spirit and hard-working nature that was evident throughout her educational and professional endeavors. A lifelong learner, Joy graduated from the Thomas A. Edison High School with honors, received a BS of Education from State University of Cortland, a MSW from UAlbany School of Social Work, and a Masters in Literacy from The Sage Colleges.
The entirety of Joy’s professional career was focused on helping children and families live their best lives with great health, personal and professional fulfillment, and optimism. She retired as the CEO of the Maternity and Early Child Foundation, where she led a statewide group of programs to provide services to pregnant and parenting teens. She traveled to every area of New York, from rural areas to urban centers, to support best practices for families. No matter the location, the needs of moms were, and remained, the highest priority.
Prior to the Foundation, at the NYS Department of Social Services and Office of Children and Families, she developed and started New York state’s first evidence-based home visiting program. The award-winning model, Healthy Families, provided services across New York state to thousands of families and moms. In doing so, her innovative program increased educational outcomes, reduced child abuse, and increased self-sufficiency throughout the whole family. Her other roles included starting the William B. Hoyt Children and Family Trust Fund for the prevention of child and adult abuse, and programs to support youth in foster care.
While she was focused on creating systemic change, she was equally as engaged impacting individuals. While working, Joy mentored and supported those in need through various avenues: supporting foster care youth through the St. Catherine’s Center ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ program, teaching young learners to read at the AW Becker School, baking cookies and facilitating outings for the Northern Rivers residential care program, and cooking for the Interfaith Partnership homeless meal program.
In everything she touched, Joy sought to create a meaningful experience that would yield positive long-term impacts. Joy’s motto was “we will create systemic change and individual family change all at the same time.” She never gave up hope for a better future for the families of New York state.
Joy is survived by her husband William T. Gettman Jr., children Sarah Gettman and Taylor Gettman, sister Jan Labue (husband Rich), brother Gary Griffith (Partner Jim), sister-in-law Lucy Gettman (husband Mark Seifarth), and nieces Heather Griffith and Rachael Robertson.
Joy supported and loved her family with every action and caring effort. Her smile and pride were contagious and expressed in the success and growth of her children and their ability to be caring, compassionate, and hard working.
The other great pleasures of her life included late nights in the Syracuse Dome (especially when coming home with a win), organizing and playing in golf tournaments, and traveling across California on US-1 (including Napa and Sonoma).
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the AMC Nurses, NYOH, MSK-NYC, and Community Hospice for their support, guidance, and assistance throughout her entire journey.
Calling hours will be held September 24, 2021 at Applebee Funeral Home from 4-7:30 PM. A Celebration of Life will be held September 25, 2021 at Normanside Country Club at 10:45 AM followed by brunch.
In lieu of flowers, Joy has asked that support be provided to the Northern Rivers Home Visiting Program, 60 Academy Rd Albany, NY 12208 or the Little Sisters (LSA) Family and Child Health Services Program, 333 East 115 St NY, NY 10029.