Joyce Ellen Burdick Greene, 86, died quietly in her home in Rock Island, Illinois on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, with her daughters by her side. Born in Huron, South Dakota, youngest daughter of Horace G. and Bettie Sue Burdick, Joyce spent most of her childhood in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. As a student at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, she met Edward Greene, whom she married in 1956. After residing briefly in San Antonio, Texas and New York City, they moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they had three children: Jonathan Greene, Pamela Greene Tuskey, and Laura Greene. As Ed worked long hours in the law office, Joyce worked even longer hours at home, using her formidable intellectual, creative, and emotional talents to raise and nurture her children. A self-described “professional volunteer,” she helped patients at Harmarville Rehabilitation Center (now Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital), delivered Meals on Wheels to the elderly, and gave tours of Hartwood Acres Mansion.
Once her children were grown, she turned her considerable energies to supporting the Pittsburgh Opera. In 1991, she became a founding member of the committee to organize the Guilds of the Pittsburgh Opera, which created neighborhood groups with the goal of bringing new subscribers and donors to the opera. During her tenure as president of the Fox Chapel Guild, she helped to host a series of events for old and new opera fans, designed to enrich their understanding and appreciation of the high drama, technical magic, and sheer fun of operatic performances. Her clever PR campaigns helped the Opera Guilds prosper, as did her volunteer work at the Operatunity Shop, a thrift shop in Oakland whose proceeds supported the Pittsburgh Opera.
Around this time she also attended school to become a certified travel agent (and finally got paid for her hard work!). In that pre-internet era, she specialized in finding tremendous bargains for clients wanting to travel to faraway places. And she continued to expand her own horizons, flying to London on the Concorde SST, sailing on the QE2, and seeing Paris for the first time. Even after she retired as a travel agent, she fed her curiosity and wanderlust by planning trips with her beloved Ed all across the United States, Canada, and Europe, until his death in 2003.
After her husband’s death, she stayed in Pittsburgh several years, visiting hospitals and nursing homes with her dog Dakota, whom she trained as a therapy dog. In 2008, she moved to Rock Island, IL, to be near her daughter Laura. Even as chronic back pain slowed her pace, she remained the loving, spirited, witty woman she always was. Her keen intellect, sense of humor, boundless love and nurturing presence will be sorely missed by her family and friends. She is survived by her son, Jonathan Greene of Pittsburgh, PA; her daughter and son-in-law, Pamela and David Tuskey of Richmond, VA; her daughter and son-in-law Laura Greene and Mark Salisbury, of Davenport, IA; four grandchildren and two step-grandchildren. An online memorial service will be held in the coming weeks.
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