PORTSMOUTH - Joyce Reopel Zabarsky passed away peacefully at her home on Wednesday, January 16, 2019. Joyce was born on January 21, 1933 in Worcester, Mass., to Ernest and Ada Reopel. She is survived by her husband of 64 years, Melvin; daughter Hannah and husband Paul Burke; grandchildren Christopher Ian and Julia; and daughter Lydia Zabarsky.
Joyce was a Renaissance woman. She studied at the Ruskin School of Fine Arts, Oxford, England; The Yale Norfolk Art School; and was a graduate of the Worcester Art Museum. Joyce won numerous awards and grants for travel and study, including a fellowship to Yale Norfolk. She was a professional artist and an Associate Professor of Art at Swain School, Wheaton College and UNH. Joyce was a conservative rebel who became very involved in both local and State politics having been a founder of the Historic District Commission in Portsmouth as well as serving as a State Legislator.
Together with her husband Melvin, they purchased an early 1700's home in the South end which they spent many years restoring together. Joyce held a great interest in history, having spent eight years researching their home, and was a long time member of the Portsmouth Athenaeum. Joyce was the original "foodie" loving to reinterpret recipes from her extensive travels with her husband. She spent a number of years in Northern Spain enjoying the rich culture and working on her art. Joyce was a natural storyteller who later wrote a book of her time spent there.
SERVICES: There will be a Memorial Gathering in February to celebrate Joyce's life.
Published in Seacoastonline.com from Jan. 25 to Jan. 28, 2019.