Obituary: Joyce Peck
Joyce Bainton Peck was born in New Haven, Conn., on Sept. 17, 1927 to Roland Herbert Bainton and Ruth Woodruff Bainton, the middle child of five siblings: Olive, Herbert (deceased), herself, Cedric and baby Ruth (deceased). The family raised goats, chickens and organic vegetables in Woodbridge, Conn., with homemade “Heidi” murals in their basement.
Joyce completed her undergraduate studies at Smith College in Massachusetts and earned a master’s degree in education at North Adams State Teachers’ College and a master’s degree in music at UNC-CH. She taught in the voice departments at UNC-CH and Duke in an adjunct capacity. Organizations like University Women, the Chapel Hill Music Teachers’ Association, The Three Arts and the Justice and Peace Commission of the Church of Reconciliation filled her busy days most recently.
Gardening, child care and vocal pedagogy were mainstays in Joyce’s life while she was a talented vocal soloist balancing personal career options and attending to her family’s needs. As fiancées, Joyce and her husband-to-be, William Jay Peck, went to work in the German refugee camps after the Holocaust. Together, they also responded to growing Hispanic needs in a Mayan partnership, leading mission trips to Guatemala featuring 23 annual weaving sales, the profits from which support the work of indigenous people. Raised Quaker and congregational, she heartily embraced her in-laws’ Presbyterian roots by joining, with Bill, the Church of Reconciliation, a Chapel Hill congregation committed to racial equality, in the 1960s.
Her love of the Spanish language included her appreciation of the local Tertulia group, classes with Rosa Perlmutter and film gatherings at Chicle in Carrboro. She loved donating to charities like Oxfam, CROP Walk and the Guatemalan support group of the Church of Reconciliation.
She is survived by her husband of 60 years, UNC-CH Professor Emeritus of the Department of Religious Studies Dr. William Jay Peck, of Massachusetts. They raised four children: Christopher Martin Peck (deceased), Timothy Bainton Peck, Steven Dudley Peck (deceased) and Kathryn Melissa Peck. She enjoyed “grandmother bliss” 14 and a half years with Guatemalan adoptee Alyee Peck Whitesides, a current Chapel Hill High School freshman with wonderful parents, Tim Peck and S. Janet Whitesides.
Joyce rallied hard for six weeks with ovarian and peritoneal cancer and was surrounded by her family.
A memorial service will be held at the Church of Reconciliation on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 2 p.m., led by Rev. Mark Davidson. In lieu of flowers, special family messages and quotes for compilation should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with joycepeck in the subject line.