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1963 – 2013
Joy Covey, a devoted mother, a stellar Internet executive and a committed envi-ronmentalist, died on Sept. 18 at 50 years old. An avid athlete, she died in a tragic cycling accident while riding a favorite hillside route in Woodside, Calif. Joy had moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in recent years after living in Park City, Utah.
But it is how Joy lived rather than how she died that is most important.
For a person who would be a rising star on the Internet stage later, Joy came from relatively humble beginnings. After graduating in 1982 from California State University in Fresno, Calif., she began her career as an accountant at Arthur Young, where her first assignment was counting the beans at Denny's restaurants. She then earned a joint law and business degree from Harvard University, which was followed by a short stint at the investment firm of Wasserstein Perella & Co.
After her involvement in taking a small Silicon Valley software company public, she then helped sell it and moved to the buyer in Massachusetts. But Joy soon returned to Silicon Valley, where she looked for "the next big thing" in tech.
However, Joy was approached about the then-fledgling online bookseller Ama-zon, which was located in rainy Seattle. At first, she turned the job down, but agreed to have lunch with its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos only as a favor to its headhunter. Joy spent the first ten minutes of their meeting telling him why she wasn't interested in work-ing there.
But that was not exactly true. "After I got home, I kept talking about it," she said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 1999. "It was important for me to work somewhere I believed in."
And believe she did. By the end of the decade, Amazon was on a tear after its 1997 IPO, which she shepherded as one of the few women leaders in the very small Web industry. While she left Amazon in 2000, she has been credited with being a key reason for its initial success, and also for leaving in place a structure that allowed it to soar.
Recently, she had become a force of nature – literally -- by working relentlessly for the Natural Resources Defense Council as its treasurer.
Mostly, she was a person of substance, of heart, of grit and of much-needed hu-mor. Joy did not just tell it like it was -- she lived it like it was, too. In addition to cycling, she traveled widely, skied the slopes of her beloved Wasatch Mountains, water-skied, kite-surfed, and generally, took life by storm.
Joy leaves behind her son, Tyler, whom she loved dearly.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, at Stanford Memo-rial Church, Stanford, Calif. For more information and to RSVP to the memorial service, please go to joycoveymemorial.eventbrite.com.
Remembrances: Written memories of Joy will be collected at the service and later assembled into a private book for her beloved son, Tyler. Memories may also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributions: To honor Joy, contributions may be made in memory of Joy Covey online at www.nrdc.org/Joy-Covey or by mail to: NRDC, 40 West 20 Street, New York, N.Y. 10011.
Published in The Park Record from Nov. 9 to Nov. 12, 2013