Joy Sykes Adams

Published 11:07 am Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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Joy Sykes Adams was born in Washington, North Carolina on September 18, 1934, the son of Euris Bryan Adams and Mildred Carawan Adams. Joy’s father was a retailer and entrepreneur working in high end men’s clothing and his mother was a nurse. As a young teenager, Joy was expected to work hard in the family business even before he graduated from Washington High School in 1952.

On June 20, 1954, Joy married his lifelong sweetheart, Ruby Jean Bierman. Joy had enlisted in the Army and that took the newlyweds to Raleigh, North Carolina, for a few years, where their only child, Patricia Bryan “Trish” Adams, was born on September 19, 1959.  The young couple then spent several years in the San Francisco Bay area, where Joy served in the Army and achieved the rank of First Lieutenant, and Ruby worked in banking. 

The couple moved back home to Washington, NC, in the early 1960s. Joy worked with his family first at the Pamlico Social Club and ultimately at their new venture, The Brentwood Lodge and Supper Club, which offered Washingtonians fine dining, a recreation room, live entertainment and a swimming pool. Many young newlyweds enjoyed magical wedding receptions there, where dancing all night to live music would be followed in the wee hours by a huge breakfast buffet. 

Ruby established a fabulous career at the Home Savings and Loan, where she rose to the rank of Secretary Treasurer. She and Joy worked hard, saved their money and bought a little home on East 13th Street. From this initial home they were then able to sell and build a beautiful custom built home in the Smallwood division of Washington. Ralph Darmstad was their contractor and their home was quite unique and avant garde in style and plan for that time.

Joy’s origins were on the Pamlico River, where he developed an enduring enthusiasm for sailing. In the 1960s, the young family enjoyed sailboards but then graduated to a 23-foot sailboat, named “Triad,” the source of many fun family sailing adventures on the Pamlico. Eventually Joy and Ruby bought an iconic, gorgeous 28-foot Island Packet, named Razzmatazz.

Joy ended his working life with a stint as a Postal Service Carrier, and when he and Ruby retired, they sold their home in Washington and went sailing down the intracoastal waterway on Razzmatazz. After a few years of sailing adventures, they made a home in Punta Gorda, FL, and subsequently in Rotonda West, where they spent more than 20 happy years enjoying a well-earned retirement, and many visits from Trish and her son, Devin.

Aside from sailing, Joy was a master of crosswords, evil sudoku and billiards, enthusiasms he passed on (in spades) to his daughter,Trish. (For you pool sharks out there, his best run was 43). He loved reading about science and scientific progress. He was singularly devoted to his wife, Ruby, for every moment of their 69 years of marriage, and she to him. He deeply treasured his daughter and grandson and always encouraged their academic and artistic pursuits.

Joy passed away peacefully on May 7, 2024 after a brief but fierce battle with cancer, in the Brookdale Senior Living Community where he and Ruby had made their home since Dec. 2022. He is survived by his bride, Ruby, his daughter, Trish and her wife Jill Healy, his grandson, Devin F. Adams and his husband John Riley, his three nieces, Vicky Grist Barris, Lucy Grist Walker, Jami Grist Burns, and numerous grandnieces and grandnephews. Joy was predeceased by his parents and by his only sibling, Carolyn Adams Grist, who died in 2007.

As a true gesture of his dedication to science and learning, Joy donated his remains to the Florida Anatomical Board, where his body will contribute to the education of students at the Medical School at the University of Florida in Orlando. If he were still here, Joy would say “Hug your grandchild. Go sailing for crissakes. Carolina BBQ and Carolina basketball are the only BBQ and the only basketball. Take care of Ruby.”