Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

'Family matriarch' Joyce Vercoe an amazingly strong person, says daughter

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Joyce Vercoe. Photo/Supplied
Joyce Vercoe. Photo/Supplied

Joyce Vercoe will be remembered as the matriarch of the Vercoe family, and for her tomato relish.

Joyce Elizabeth Vercoe was born March 9, 1915. She passed away at Tauranga Hospital on October 8, in her 102nd year.

Her daughter Sandra Vercoe said her mother was the third of nine children brought up in Waitoa.

Mrs Vercoe's mother and father, Alice and Dennett Wright, were dairy farmers in the area.

After the children grew up, the family shifted to Mount Maunganui before Mrs Vercoe was to meet her future husband Len Vercoe.

Mrs Vercoe and Len were married in 1935, and after their marriage they lived in Paeroa where Mr Vercoe opened a butchery.

They had four children, Sandra, John, Robert and Cheryl.

Joyce Vercoe, her four children Sandra, Cheryl, John and Robert amd husband Len. Photo/Supplied
Joyce Vercoe, her four children Sandra, Cheryl, John and Robert amd husband Len. Photo/Supplied

After the butchery the couple moved to Greenlane in Auckland where Mrs Vercoe bought a stationery shop.

The couple then retired before Mr Vercoe passed away in 1982 after heart problems.

Because most of Mrs Vercoe's children had ended up living in the Mount, she moved back to the area about seven years ago.

Mrs Vercoe was very active with the Methodist Church most of her life, was the first secretary for New Zealand First when they established in Auckland and also a financial adviser to the Red Cross.

"She was very community focused. Her brain was fine until the very end," her daughter Sandra Vercoe said.

Ms Vercoe said her mother was a lovely old lady, and was famous for her roast dinners and tomato relish.

"We need to find that recipe of hers."

Even though Mrs Vercoe lived in her own home until a short time ago, she was still "a bossy old girl, and was telling us what to do until the day she died," she said.

Mrs Vercoe was survived by two siblings, Keith and Lola, her four children, seven grandchildren and many great and great-great-grandchildren.

Family was her life, Ms Vercoe said.

"She was the matriarch of the family, and she was involved with everything every day. She was still worrying about us right to the end. She was an amazingly strong lady and person."

Joyce Vercoe and her family on her 100th birthday. Photo/Supplied
Joyce Vercoe and her family on her 100th birthday. Photo/Supplied

A service to celebrate Joyce's life will be held at the Wesley Church, 100 13th Ave, Tauranga on Saturday October 15, at 11am followed by private cremation.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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