We just found out that one of our founding members of VAM passed away in 2021. We are sad for the news.

Joyce Center Decker
(B) 8/22/1924 (D) 9/8/2021

She didn’t beat Grandma Moses (whom she met) in longevity but at 97 she survived most.

Joyce was a fierce individual, an extraordinary artist, a progressive Democrat, a champion of women’s rights, outspoken and stubborn. She remained so for nearly a century.

She was also a teacher, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a grandmother, a great-grandmother and a stickler for proper grammar.

Growing up during the Depression on a dairy farm in Eagle Bridge where she had rabbit for dinner while her parents insisted it was chicken. Where she and her sister tossed their annoying cousin into the pig pen. Illustrations of fashion designs in her diary. Standing at the railroad station in Eagle Bridge with one suitcase waiting for the train that would deposit her in Manhattan where she would attend Pratt Art Institute. She was 17 and had never been there before. Married at 18 in Amarillo, Texas where she illustrated amputated body parts from WWII injuries for a hospital. Becoming a resident of Cambridge, NY. Teaching art, returning to school, returning to school again, having babies and graduating from Skidmore College while pregnant. Founding Valley Artisans, building a kiln in her back yard and living in Cambridge for over fifty years. Moving to Florida, where she continued to create pottery and other art and enjoyed watching beautiful sunsets on the lake behind her house.

Joyce Decker was the kind of person you wouldn’t easily forget and the world seems emptier without her.