At the age of 6, working on a first-grade art project in her hometown, East Northport, N.Y., Joyce Carpeneto gave an early glimpse of the kind of person she would become.
"We were sitting next to each other working, and she had crayons and I didn't," said Mary Jane Tenerelli, remembering their first encounter, in 1966. "She offered to share her crayons with me and we'd been friends ever since."
Ms. Carpeneto, who would have turned 42 on Oct. 1, was well known as the "epitome of cool," but only one thing surpassed her reputation as a great dancer and a fashion trend-setter: "She was generous to the point that people were devoted to her," Ms. Tenerelli said. "A couple of years ago, she set me up with her ex-husband. That's got to be the most generous thing ever."
Ms. Carpeneto, who worked in client services for General Telecom, was also the kind of person who would jump between a friend and a class bully, as she did in junior high when Ms. Tenerelli got into trouble.
"Joyce got in the middle and said, 'Leave Mary Jane alone,' " her friend said. "I never had a problem with that bully again."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 25, 2001.