Joyce Barrow passed away peacefully of natural causes at Kimball Farms Nursing Care Center in Lenox, MA, on Aug. 24 at age 89.
The eldest of four children of Belle and Jacob Gitelman, Joyce Shyra Gitelman was born on Nov. 1, 1927, and raised in Rochester, NY. She was immersed in the arts at an early age, with intensive studies of both classical piano and ballet at the Eastman School of Music through high school.
In 1949, Joyce graduated with honors in English from the University of Rochester, where she wrote for the school newspaper and edited the yearbook. Seeking new horizons, after college graduation she adventurously set out on a cross-country trip, residing in San Francisco and Honolulu before returning to settle on the East Coast.
Joyce married Bernard Barrow in 1954 while he was a doctoral student at Yale School of Drama. Their daughter, Susan, was born in New Haven. Bernard began his academic career
at Brooklyn College and the young family moved to Brooklyn, where the couple’s son, Thomas, was born. In 1960, the family settled in Great Neck, where Joyce raised her children after the marriage ended in divorce.
Continuing her studies, Joyce earned a masters in Art Education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, and taught art in public school on Long Island for several years. However, preferring the business world to the classroom, she became a specialist in the complex field of employee benefits.
Joyce began her corporate writing career at Martin E. Segal Company and worked for Warner Communications before her retirement from professional life as manager of benefit communications at Con Edison in New York City.
Beyond writing, it was to the art of painting that Joyce devoted her creative energies. She was a dedicated student of painter and critic Sam Feinstein (1915–2003), whose teachings reflected the aesthetic theories of his mentor, Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann. Joyce was a regular at Feinstein’s painting classes held at his New York and Cape Cod studios for many years. Joyce’s acrylic paintings on canvas, largely still-life and abstract compositions, are striking for their vibrant color palette and complex interrelated shapes; they reflect the richness of her luminous artistic vision.
After more than five decades of residence in Great Neck, Joyce moved to Kimball Farms Life Care Community in Lenox, MA, in the fall of 2013, where a one-person exhibit of her works, Explorations in Color, was shown in May 2015.
She is survived by son Tom Barrow of Waltham, MA; daughter Susan Barrow of New York City; sister Nathalie Schwartz of Rochester, NY; and brother David Gitelman of Port Orange, FL.
She was predeceased by her brother, Hillel, in 2015.
At her request, no memorial service was held. Contributions in her name may be made to Gould Farm Therapeutic Community, Office of Development, through Finnerty & Stevens Funeral Home, 426 Main St., Great Barrington, MA 01230. To send remembrances to her family or sign the guest book, go to www.finnertyandstevens.com.