Reverend Austin Joyce 1950 – 2014

Aug 12th, 2014 | By | Category: Joyce Obituaries

POSTED: September 02, 2014

The Rev. Austin Joyce, 64, formerly of Philadelphia, a Christian family and marriage therapist, died Tuesday, Aug. 12, of esophageal cancer at his home in Coatesville.

Born in Honolulu, Dr. Joyce moved with his military family from Guantanamo, Cuba, to Washington, and finally to Philadelphia when he was 6.

“We resided in Philadelphia, a city and culture where the complexities of military and civilian life continually intersected – and had a formative impact – on what would become for me a quest for fairness, trustworthiness, and self-disclosure,” he wrote in an online autobiography.

Dr. Joyce earned a diploma from Bishop Neumann High School in 1967 and a bachelor of science degree in business from St. Joseph’s College in 1973.

“If you’re going to go to college, get a business degree; you’ll always be able to get a job,” he said his father advised him.

Dr. Joyce went on to earn a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1978 and a doctor of ministry degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in 1982. He focused his studies on family therapy, and later became certified as a hospital chaplain and as an equine-assisted psychotherapist.

Dr. Joyce juggled roles as chaplain at the Coatesville VA Medical Center for five years, clinical director of equine-assisted therapy at Dream Catcher Farm in Chester Springs for six years, and as a family and marriage therapist in private practice for 30 years from offices in King of Prussia.

He served as an integral member of the Center for Contextual Therapy for 25 years, the Community in Dialogue for 15 years, and the Association of Christian Therapists for 28 years.

“He touched many, many lives,” said his wife, Faith Hart Joyce. “A lot of what he did was helping people engage their families for healing.”

Even while undergoing chemotherapy treatment in the last year, Dr. Joyce would talk quietly with other cancer patients and also health workers. “He wanted to know their names and all about them. It was his calling,” his wife said. “He was still working.”

He was a golfer, ballroom dancer, and black belt in kenpo karate. He was a loving, compassionate family man, his wife said.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Jonathan; a daughter, Rachel; a brother; two sisters; and many nieces and nephews. A third sister died earlier.

Visitation from 1 to 1:45 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 7, will be followed by a 2 p.m. memorial service at the Coatesville VA Chapel, 1400 Blackhorse Hill Rd. Burial is private.

Donations may be made to Dream Catcher Farm L.L.C., Box 231, Chester Springs, Pa. 19425.

Remembrances of Dr. Joyce for the family may be posted via

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