Joyce Wetherald Fairchild, 90, of Barrington and Hog Island

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Joyce Wetherald Fairchild, 90, of Barrington and Hog Island, passed away on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 peacefully at home. She is survived by her husband Daniel Fairchild. They were married for 69 years. She was the daughter of the late George Wetherald and Ada Powell Wetherald. Besides her husband Dan, Joyce is survived by her five children Patricia Fairchild of Warren,; Elizabeth Fairchild of Starksboro, Vt.; Thomas Fairchild of Warren; Kiloh Fairchild of Los Angeles, Calif.; and Bruce Fairchild of Sparta, N.J. along with their spouses and life partners John Sessions, Herb Olson, Teresa Frydryk (deceased), Wendy Farr, Lyn Hoge, and Alison Cooper-Knight Fairchild. Joyce is also survived by her sister Diane Wetherald Romano and her husband Sam of White River Junction, Vt. She leaves eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews—all of whom loved her dearly. 

Joyce was born in Providence and was a longtime resident of the city. She attended Hope High School and Brown University (Pembroke College) and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1947. She was an active Brown alumna, worked in the admissions office, and served as a university trustee for several years. Joyce was also an active member of Central Congregational Church. Since marrying Dan in 1947, she spent every summer on Hog Island, where she read books to all the children, dug gobs of clams, and planted many a beautiful tree.

After a brief stint in advertising, Joyce spent the first part of her adult years raising her five children while spending her “spare” time playing tennis and bridge with Dan and friends, acting in local theater productions at the Barker Playhouse, volunteering at Lippett Hill Tutorial, and participating in the League of Women Voters. She was an enthusiastic debater. Her children remember she won most of the debates she participated in and usually won debates with Dan and her children as well. 

When her youngest children were teenagers, Joyce returned to work, spending several years as assistant to Lila Sapinsley who was minority leader in the Rhode Island State Senate. Joyce also found time for many other activities: She continued volunteering, serving on the board of Children’s Friend and Services for several years and as a driver for Tap-In. She learned to play the flute. She took annual biking trips with friends all over the United States and Canada, only occasionally getting lost. She traveled extensively with Dan, sailing with friends in the Caribbean and Maine, spending weeks every winter in Puerto Rico, touring and cruising in Europe and Alaska—though she was not much of a cruise fan—and making a myriad of friends at Elder Hostels. One of her favorite trips was rafting on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. She became an avid knitter and was part of a knitting circle with several friends (really an excuse to get together to talk). Her crowning knitting achievements were the personalized Christmas stockings she made for every one of her children and grandchildren. She was also an ardent gardener. She refused to let any plant die so she made cuttings of everything, which she grew in her sunny Barrington kitchen and gave them to family and friends or returned to the outdoors come springtime. And she remained a mother, taking care of her children’s little ones and their pets so her own kids could spread their wings.    

A memorial service is planned for the spring. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Children’s Friend at 153 Summer Street, Providence, RI 02903. 

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