on March 10, 2013 - 11:23 PM
, updated March 10, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Oct. 21, 1950 – March 6, 2013
Thomas C. Joyce, an adjunct professor of English at Canisius College, died Wednesday in Buffalo General Medical Center after a long illness. He was 62.
Born in Buffalo, one of eight children, Mr. Joyce was a graduate of Canisius High School and studied at Canisius College.
He began teaching at Canisius College in 1991 and spent the majority of his years there introducing freshman in the All-College Honors Program to the world of English literature.
“Tom was one of our stalwarts in the All-College Honors Program,” said English professor Robert J. Butler. “His courses were always challenging and lively but perhaps more significant, they sparked an excitement in students about literature.”
In addition to his coursework, Mr. Joyce served several years as moderator of the student newspaper, The Griffin, which went through one of its most robust periods under his leadership. And although his position at Canisius was considered part-time, he was a full-time mentor to students.
“Tom Joyce epitomized what is best about a Canisius education,” said Ellen Conley, vice president for student affairs at Canisius. “In the classroom, he used literature to teach students about life, but he also was their strongest supporter outside of class, attending students’ poetry readings and honors events and staying with The Griffin editors until the early morning hours to ensure the paper went out on time.”
Among the many online tributes to Mr. Joyce is this posting from former student Scott Kinmartin: “One of the greatest teachers I ever had was my English professor my freshman year at Canisius College, Tom Joyce. He let us call him ‘TJ’ and kept things informal, allowing us to express ourselves in whatever way we felt comfortable. He graded us with stars and exclamation points, rather than numbers or letters!”
Buffalo News editorial cartoonist Adam Zyglis noted online that Mr. Joyce was “one of the rarest individuals one can meet. He was my first professor of my first class at Canisius College. If it weren’t for him, I would never have been coaxed into joining the school paper, where I began my career as an editorial cartoonist.”
Mr. Joyce participated regularly in Kairos and Fourth Day retreats, often serving as an adult leader. Those who accompanied him describe him as creative, playful, generous, inspiring and someone who always found the best in people – and would tell them so.
“Tom was one of those rare individuals you meet who was always on a spiritual journey,” said Luanne Firestone, interim director of the Office of Campus Ministry. “He has touched the spirits and minds of countless people at Canisius and will be greatly missed.”
Mr. Joyce is survived by his wife, the former Linda Tuttle; a daughter, Gilbert; three brothers, Michael, Brian and Timothy; and four sisters, Kathleen Glascott, Susan Eager, Mary Young and Rosemary.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today in St. Joseph University Catholic Church, 3269 Main St.