Obituary of Joyce Isabel Vitalis
Joyce Isabel Vitalis was born on June 8, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York, to Herbert & Isabel (McKay) Chapman. She spent 3 years there, before moving to Long Island, in September 1944. Joyce and her brother, Rick, were adopted by her stepfather, Andrew Gibson, in 1954. The family then moved to Clearwater, FL, where Joyce attended high school.
Joyce attended Asbury College and the University of Kentucky, earning a degree in Speech Pathology. She moved to NJ after college and spent summers waitressing in Point Pleasant Beach. She married her husband, Lewis Vitalis, in February of 1971. They were married 52 years. Their only daughter, Hope-Ann, was born in 1978.
Joyce and Lewis moved to Medford Lakes, NJ, shortly after they married. She worked as a speech therapist first in Pemberton and then in Haddon Heights. She spent many years as a member of Medford United Methodist Church, singing in the choir and participating in women’s groups there. In her later years, she also frequently attended Fellowship Alliance Chapel in Medford as well as Pine Grove Baptist in Evesham. She loved the Church and was eager to share about her relationship with Jesus and her longing for Heaven with all those whom she encountered.
Joyce lived life to the fullest in everything she put her hand to. She was passionate about helping children, spending her life working in the public school system to help those struggling with language skills. She sponsored many children through World Vision and Compassion, and volunteered in the NICU at Cooper Medical Center in her retirement years. She used her resources to support countless causes close to her heart...whether giving to the rescue of elephants in Africa or supporting children in Appalachia, Joyce was a giver right through her last days.
Her passion extended to her love of family as well, and one of her greatest joys in life was spending time with her five grandchildren. She sent cards and called each of them for every holiday, was present for all celebrations, and arranged for a beach house every summer to spend time with them at her beloved Jersey shore. Her zest for and enjoyment of life leaves an indelible impression upon her grandchildren.
Joyce’s husband, Lewis, predeceased her by three weeks. She is survived by her daughter, Hope-Ann (Vitalis) Germoso, her son-in law, Steven, her cousins, Art and Tom (Jan) Hildebrandt, her best friend, Meredith Pillatt, and many many friends whom she counted as family.
There will be a private burial for immediate family this weekend. There will be a Celebration of Life in June at the Jersey shore, Joyce’s favorite place to spend time in the summer. Details to follow.