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Thursday, February 27, 2014

James Vincent Joyce, born May 29, 1927, of 839 State Route 417, Andover, NY

James Vincent Joyce
James Vincent Joyce, born May 29, 1927, of 839 State Route 417, Andover, NY, passed away peacefully at his home on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014.

US Army Vet
Mr. Joyce was born in the town of Willing, N.Y; the eldest of six children born to the late Vincent James Joyce and Alice Graves Joyce. He grew up on the family farm in Andover and, having left high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in Germany with the Occupation Forces. 

Showing an early entrepreneurial spirit, he was put in charge of a number of PX stores which soon began to show a profit. He made the acquaintance of a young German woman, Helma Petermann, who was working as a translator. They were married in 1948 in Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany shortly before his return to the United States.

Upon his return, he and his brother, Charles, formed a gas and oil pipeline, Joyce Pipeline. In many ways Mr. Joyce embodied the perfect example of the post war American dream. A truly self-made man, he learned to fly both airplanes and helicopters, using them to survey his expanding pipeline business which would eventually extend from Canada, through the United States, and include Central America and Venezuela. The Alaskan pipeline, in which the pipeline company played a large part in constructing, was a highlight of his career. He even traveled to Iran before the fall of the Shah to investigate pipeline construction there but, fortunately, decided against it. He and his wife visited Cuba several times before the rise of the Castro regime and made frequent trips to Mexico. He subsequently developed a love of all things “Latino”, especially the food and music. He even arranged to bring his favorite Mariachi Band from Laredo, Texas to perform at his youngest daughter’s wedding.

In the pursuit of his many interests in the energy sector he invested in coal mining in West Virginia and Kentucky and was an early proponent of replacing Uranium in nuclear reactors with the more efficient rare earth, Thorium; a trend that continues to this day. A lifelong republican, he was never the less, invited to attend both the Kennedy and Nixon inaugural balls.

Starting in 1948 using a Fordson Tractor with a Backhoe attachment, Joyce started his career as a pipeline Contractor. Along with maintaining his local milk hauling route in the Andover area, Joyce started laying small pipelines for local oil producers and gas companies. As the pipeline business progressed Joyce took on more work and with the help of his brothers Charles and later Don, Joyce Pipeline employed over 200 people by the late fifty’s. Joyce utilized local people from the Andover area to provide the dedication and hard work to progress as a company. By the late 60’s Joyce Western had grown to over 1200 fulltime and seasonal employees, expanding into a multi-operation. Never forgetting his home town roots, Joyce was influential in providing the supports for progress in Allegany County, NY. He was instrumental in building the Andover Little League complex and the relocation of the Wellsville Airport to where it is now. Joyce was a self-taught airplane and helicopter pilot of which he always had a helicopter setting in his front lawn, ready to go as needed. Joyce spent hours in the air traveling from job to job in his airplane. As Joyce Western expanded, he started building and operating pipelines throughout the Unites States and performed contracting help in Alaska and Australia.

Some of his proud accomplishments were building and operating a fuel pipeline from Tampa to Orlando, Fla.; building and operating a pipeline for SAC Headquarters in Omaha Nebr., a pipeline to bring jet fuel into Mac Dill Air Force Base in New Jersey, another to provide fuel for the Tampa International Airport, followed by a distribution of Anhydrous Ammonia from Port Tampa to the Phosphate Mines in the middle of the state. Joyce’s forward vision of the future energy needs had him mining Thorium in the Idaho mountains. Other major pipeline projects included welding on the Mooba Pipeline in Sydney, Australia; many projects for Consolidated Gas in NY, PA and WV; including a 55 mile segment of 30” pipe in Chambersburg, PA.; over 120 miles of pipe keyed in the Western NY and Northern PA area for Tennessee Gas; building a gas gathering system for Coors Brewers in Golden, Colo.; installing 36” pipe in Red Rivers Crossings in Texas and Oklahoma; gas gathering work for Phillips Petroleum of Bartlesville OK, and numerous projects over the years in the New England area for Algonquin Gas.

Throughout the remainder of his long life, Joyce remained interested in all things having to do with energy production. He was, however, a doting father, grandfather and great grandfather, enjoying every moment in the company of his growing family. Though Helma passed away in 2002, he remained in the home they built together in 1959. During his declining health he was carefully attended to by his caregiver, Betty Matison and dedicated helpers, family and friends.

In addition to his wife, Helma, he was predeceased by his siblings Charles Joyce, W. Donald Joyce, Joan Dibble and Sandra Howland. He is survived by his sister, Mary Ann Davis of Andover; children, Kathleen Joyce (George) Biondo, of Montauk, N.Y., Vincent James (Deborah) Joyce and Christine (Michael J. McCormick) Joyce, both of Andover; grandchildren, Caitlin Biondo (Josh) Greene of Mill Valley, Calif., Georgia Biondo (Thomas) Flight of Montauk, N.Y., James Vincent (Jennifer) Joyce of Andover, Amanda Joyce (Robert) Phelps of Andover, Lindsay Joyce Barnard of Andover, Maria McCormick (Jonathan) Sorrells of Cumming, Ga., and Michael (Mary Beth) McCormick of Angola, N.Y.; great grandchildren, Scarlett, Beatrice and Harry Flight of Montauk, N.Y., Elsa and Connor Greene of Mill Valley, Calif., Vincent and Harper Joyce of Andover, Leigha and Julianna Phelps of Andover, Elle Barnard of Andover, and Jase Sorrells of Cumming, Ga.

Visiting hours will be at the home of James V. Joyce, 839 State Route 417 in Andover from, 7-9 pm Thursday and 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm Friday. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Blessed Sacrament Church in Andover on Saturday at 11 a.m. with Rev. Thomas Roman as celebrant. Burial with full military honors will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested donations be made to the Andover Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 726 Andover N.Y, or the Andover Main Street Project, P.O. Box 736, Andover N.Y.

Arrangements are under the direction of Baker-Swan Funeral Home in Andover.

1 comment:

Larry R. Fay said...


When my Army hitch was over in 1968, I went to college on the GI Bill. The following summer, I worked for Mr. Joyce on a gasline outside of Galeton.

A fine man and company. Later, after graduating, I worked on the Trans Alaskan Pipeline for MK/Rivers. Working for Mr. Joyce gave me the experience to do Alaska pipeline work.

Mr. Joyce, His Extended Family, and Friends are in my thoughts and prayers.