School 17

Joyce Eleanor (DellaGatta) Shea

December 29, 1946 ~ November 27, 2021 (age 74)


Joyce Eleanor Shea, passed away at Anna Jaques Hospital on November 27, 2021. She was born in Boston, MA on December 29, 1946 to the late Gennaro and Eleanor (Catazone) DellaGatta. She is survived by Edmund J. Shea, her husband of 54 years, two children and five grandchildren. Joyce has long been a resident of Newburyport, happily moving here after many visits to the area to enjoy the city and Plum Island. She loved being by the water, and walked the beach and trails at the Parker River Wildlife Refuge for as long and as often as she was able.

Joyce lived in Saugus for most of her early years, graduating from Saugus High School in 1966. She then worked in the insurance industry, where she met her loving husband Edmund. The couple moved to Newburyport in 1976 with their two children, Kelly Shea-Knowles and Christopher J. Shea. Joyce earned a degree in Early Childhood Education and taught pre-school at Mrs. Murray’s Nursery School for many years until she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a disease which she fought gallantly for 40 years. She was known as a patient and encouraging teacher, and was an advocate of the importance of early childhood education. For Joyce, helping children to grow and develop a strong foundation for learning was a true calling.

Joyce, or “Nonnie” as her grandchildren called her, adored her grandkids: Matson and Eleanor Knowles and Marianna, William and Meghan Shea. She was always happiest when the family would gather for meals or for special occasions and holidays, because that’s when her house was filled with children again and she would engage in her favorite pastime: cooking and baking for days to have everyone’s favorites ready for them to enjoy. Those who knew her knew that you should always arrive at their house with an appetite, and that you would never leave hungry. She was always a gracious and welcoming host to her family and friends.

At Joyce’s request Services will be private. Due to Covid 19 family is planning on a Celebration of Life to be announced at a later date. The Twomey, LeBlanc, & Conte Funeral Home Newburyport, is assisting Mrs. Shea’s family with her arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Our Neighbor’s Table to support their work at providing our community with nourishing food, kindness and dignity.

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