Joice Beatty, whom friends describe as a tireless volunteer and “fierce supporter of seniors” and other worthy causes, died Nov. 14, 2017 of complications from surgery. She was 74.
A celebration of life will be held at 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at the Native Sons Hall, 1313 Spring St. in St. Helena.
Beatty left her mark on the community through the St. Helena Rotary Club, where she served as president twice, most recently in 2015-2016, through her leadership of the St. Helena Beautification Foundation, and through her involvement in various boards and agencies devoted to elder issues.
“She was a fierce supporter of seniors with a huge heart and a great sense of humor,” said Julie Spencer, executive director of the Rianda House Senior Activity Center, where Beatty served on the board from 2006 to 2011.
Beatty was also a member of the Napa County Commission on Aging, Napa Alliance on Aging, Area Agency on Aging serving Napa and Solano counties, Napa County In-Home Supportive Services Advisory Committee, and the Napa County Elder Abuse Prevention Planning Council.
Spencer said Beatty’s deep knowledge of senior issues was invaluable during the early days of Rianda House, when she gave solid advice on programming, accessibility issues, and how to connect seniors with various services.
Yvonne Baginski, who served with Beatty on the Napa Alliance on Aging, remembered one occasion when an elderly resident of an assisted living facility was illegally confined to her room for three days as a punishment for hitting another resident with her cane. Beatty and Baginski stepped in and got her transferred to another facility. From then on Beatty personally managed her care.
“If you had a problem, she would sit down with you and help you find some answers,” Baginski said. “And she knew a lot of people, so she could pull them in to help. She was a good guy — she wore the white hat. She was always fighting to make sure people’s rights were being respected.”
In 2011 she helped champion the Napa County Caregiver Ordinance, which requires caregivers to undergo a background check and apply for a permit. It was the first of its kind in California and has become a model for other jurisdictions.
“She was the most energetic, upbeat person,” said Pat Dell, who played bocce and served on the Rianda House board with Beatty. “She was truly someone who loved life, and it’s a shame she had to lose it so soon.”
Kelly Crane, a fellow Rotarian who played bocce with Beatty and knew her through various nonprofit activities, said she “cared about people in a way that was unique, and was always willing to share an opinion of how things could be improved.”
Jennifer Lamb, another longtime friend of Beatty, praised her for her energy, generosity and willingness to take on any good cause, with a talent for rallying other people to help out.
A Rotarian since 1989, Beatty organized the annual Winter Ball fundraiser, Kentucky Derby fundraisers and charity golf tournaments, and was deeply involved in the development of Rotary Centennial Park in front of Vintage Hall.
Her work raised money for the St. Helena Hospital Foundation, St. Helena Preschool For All, and the Boys & Girls Club, which named her an honorary member. She also traveled to Russia, Africa and Mexico to help with Rotary projects.
As a driving force behind the St. Helena Beautification Foundation, Beatty worked to protect St. Helena’s elm tunnel and presented the foundation’s annual awards to properties that had been visibly rehabilitated and improved.
A post on the foundation’s Facebook page called Beatty “inimitable and indefatigable.”
“We can hardly imagine a St. Helena without Joice valiantly leading a dozen causes in addition to her long-time presidency of our St. Helena Beautification Foundation,” the post stated. “She will be deeply and lovingly missed.”
Beatty is survived by her close friend and ex-husband Mike Beatty and their two sons J.R. and Patrick, all of Angwin.