Dr. Joyce Kushinka
Dr. Joyce Kushinka passed away on November 8, 2012 in Bridgewater where she had resided for the past three years. Prior to that, she lived in Somerville for 42 years. Joyce was born in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania, on July 11, 1925 to the late Carl and Hazel Williams. She grew up during the depression in a close knit, loving family that placed a high value on education. After graduating from Roaring Spring High School, she received a Bachelor's Degree from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. where she was elected to their prestigious Wheel and Chain Honor Society. After graduating from college at the end of World War II, Joyce bravely set off for Germany to work for the U.S. State Department. Her job placed her in contact with many European refugees whose lives had been severely impacted by World War II. While there, she met her future husband, Michael, who was working for the Displaced Persons Commission. Joyce taught history for 25 years at Somerville High School. During this time she received a Master's Degree from Monmouth College and a Doctorate in Education from Rutgers University. Her experiences in Germany led to her lifelong interest in Holocaust studies. Her dissertation was a study of Holocaust survivors and their experiences assimilating into the United States after the war. She was on the Board of the Institute for Holocaust & Genocide Studies at Raritan Valley Community College where she helped prepare curriculum for middle and high school students. She received a special recognition for her dedication to the Institute. Joyce volunteered in many community organizations including Habitat for Humanity, American Association of University Women, the Somerset County Diversity Coalition, United Methodist Women, the Somerville Public Library, and SHIP. She taught Sunday School for 50 years, first at the New Providence Methodist Church and then at the First United Methodist Church in Somerville. Joyce and her husband loved to travel and during their lifetime visited over 70 countries. She was an avid reader and also, a dedicated Rutgers fan, especially for women's basketball and football. She enjoyed most of all spending time with her family and was devoted to her five grandchildren.
Joyce was predeceased by her husband of 56 years, Michael, who died in 2007, and her brother, Carl. She leaves behind three daughters, Kerry and husband Dave Swan of Branchburg, Candice and husband Glenn Douma also of Branchburg, and Jennifer of South Bound Brook. Also surviving are five grandchildren, Keely and Dyana Swan and Kristian, Kelsey and Ryan Douma and two sisters, Betty Jean Hoover of Roaring Spring, Pa, and Diane Oyler of State College, Pa.
Visitation will be Sunday, November 11 from 4-6 PM at the Bruce C. VanArsdale Funeral Home, 111 North Gaston Avenue, Somerville. Funeral services will be held on Monday, November 12 at 10:30 AM at the Bridgewater United Methodist Church, 651 Country Club Road, Bridgewater. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity, PO Box 6275, Bridgewater, NJ 08807 or United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY, 10087. To send condolences to the family, visit www.brucecvanarsdalefuneralhome.com