WILKES-BARRE. Pa., Oct. 21 - Patrick F. Joyce, former State Senator, manufacturer and sportsman, died today, following a long illness. His age was 71. His entire life was spent in his native Pittston and suburban Harding.
In 1903 he and a group of associates took over the Howell and King Brewing Company. When prohibition came he engaged in the manufacture of soft drinks and ice cream.
A Republican, he served two terms in the State Senate, was City Treasurer of Pittston for eight years, President of the Council during his period of municipal services and was a director of Ransom Hospital and of Pittston poor districts.
Two decades ago he maintained a large racing stable and was a familiar at Saratoga and other tracks in the East.
His widow, four children, a brother and a sister survive.
The New York Times - October 22, 1938
Hon. Patrick F. Joyce, of 558 North Main street, who had been a prominent figure in the business and political life of Pittston and Luzerne county for a half century, died at 5:10 o’clock this morning after a prolonged illness. In recent weeks Mr. Joyce’s health had been such as to cause grave concern to members of his immediate family and since Wednesday it has been readily apparent that he could not survive. His body has been removed by Funeral Director Charles F. Donnelly to Mr. Joyce’s summer home along Sullivan Trail at Harding, from where the funeral will take place Monday morning at 9:30 o’clock.
In the passing of Patrick F. Joyce the community loses one of its most widely known and prominent citizens, a kindly disposed man who had been honored by his fellow citizens in numerous positions of trust including State Senator for two terms; City Treasurer for a like number of years; president of Select Council and of Common Council, president of the Pittston-Jenkins Poor Board and a member of various civic bodies including the old City Planning Commission.
Although it was quite generally known among Mr. Joyce’s friends that his health had become seriously impaired, the announcement of his death came as a distinct surprise ad the announcement brought sincere sorrow to all who had the privilege of his acquaintance. He had distinguished himself throughout his life by a kindly interest in his fellowmen as well as a devotion to the duties of the various offices which he held. Those who expressed their sense of personal loss in his death did so with a ring of sincerity in their voices which left no doubt that Senator Joyce has left an impress on contemporary citizens of Pittston which shall not soon be erased.
Patrick F. Joyce was born in this city on February 22, 1867, a son of the late Peter and Bridget (Gavin) Joyce. His parents both immigrated to America from County Mayo, Ireland, at an early age and were among the first of the now numerous Irish people to settle in the Pittston Junction section, where the first Catholic Church in the community was built and where the original Joyces and their descendants continued to reside until the present, with the goodwill and respect of their neighbors and friends.
Early in his life Patrick F. Joyce showed an aptitude for business and politics, and although a mild-mannered man possessed of little of the effrontery usually associated with the successful politician, he had a winning personality and he had little difficulty making friends, who, with few exceptions, prided themselves on their personal friendship with him to the end of his days.
Mr. Joyce attended the public schools of Pittston and later took a business course at Wyoming Seminary, Kingston. He served for several years as secretary of Pittston Borough council. He was a member of Pittston City’s first council in 1894, and served as president of both Common and Select branches of City Council under the old bicameral form of government. His term as Common Councilman, representing the Second Ward, expired on March 28, 1899, at which time he was elected to the upper branch, Select Council, and served as presiding officer of that body until 1901.
Although Mr. Joyce was a total abstainer from intoxicating liquors throughout his entire life, he achieved a considerable measure of financial success in the liquor business first as proprietor of a wholesale liquor store at 558 North Main street, in a building adjacent to his home, and later as one of the organizers and, for years, sole owner of the Howell & King Brewery, in the rear of Water street. The brewery, a pioneer Pittston enterprise, had deteriorated about the time Mr. Joyce organized a stock company to take over the holdings and put it on a paying basis. Heirs of the Howell & King estates disposed of their stock to Mr. Joyce and a group of associates. Upwards of 25 years ago Mr. Joyce acquired complete control of the stock of the brewery, which he retained until recent years.
Another business enterprise which Mr. Joyce undertook and carried to a successful issue was the erection of the old Postoffice Building, on lower Water street, at the easterly end of the bridge. The old St. James’ Episcopal Church building occupied that site for a number of years and Mr. Joyce bought the abandoned frame church, had it razed and erected the splendidly appointed three-story brick building which was for years has been one of the leading office buildings in the city. It housed the Pittston postoffice until the present Federal Building on Dock street was built.
During his term as president of Select Council, Mr. Joyce is credited with having fostered and encouraged the old Citizens’ Electrical Illuminating Company which later disposed of its holdings to the Scranton Electric Company, to provide electric facilities for Pittston. He organized the Penn Floral Company, together with the late Congressman Tom Templeton, of Plymouth, and the late William P. Gallagher, of Wilkes-Barre, chief clerk of Pennsylvania Senate at the time of his death several months ago. Mr. Joyce and Mr. Gallagher also were sole proprietors of the Evangeline Chocolate Company for a number of years.
He owned an extensive farm property at Harding years before the present Sullivan Trail was built, which he called the Triple Springs Farm and on which he built a comfortable summer home, which he and his family continued to occupy up to the present. It is from this summer home the funeral will take place. Mr. Joyce was a devotee of horse racing for a number of years and, from time to time, owned several of the speediest three-year-olds entered in competition at Saratoga and other tracks throughout the east. One of the outstanding horses he owned was Pen Rose, named after Mr. Joyce’s staunch friend, the late United States Senator Boies Penrose, and the horse carried off premier honors in numerous track events about twenty years ago.
Throughout all of his active years Mr. Joyce maintained influential connections with Republican politicians of Pennsylvania. One of his most staunch friends was the late Senator Sterling Catlin, who served several terms as representative in the state senate from the 21st Luzerne District. Upon the death of Senator Catlin in 1919, Mr. Joyce was put forth by influential Republican leaders to fill the vacancy. Although he had, up to that time, usually enrolled as a Democrat to participate in politics in his home city, Mr. Joyce had comparatively little difficulty in capturing both Republican and Democratic nominations in 1919 and he repeated the achievement four years later, serving as State Senator from this district for eight years, from 1920 to 1928.
An indication of the influence wielded by Senator Joyce in the Republican Senate of 1927-28, at which time Governor John Fisher and Lt.-Gov. Arthur H. James were at the helm, is that he was chairman of one Senate committee and a member of fifteen others. He was chairman of the committee on New Counties and County Seats and, in addition, was a member of the following: Appropriations, Banks and Buildings and Loan Associations; City Passenger Railways, Corporations, Elections, Exposition Affairs, Finance, Insurance, Judiciary General, Law and Order, Legislative Apportionment, Municipal Affairs, Public roads and Highways, Railroads.
It is generally agreed that Senator Joyce, during his two terms at Harrisburg, acquired for his home community a full share of recognition. He is rightfully credited with having been original sponsor of the building of the Sullivan Trail, from the west end of Exeter avenue, West Pittston, to the Falls bridge and beyond. His influence with officials of the State Highway Department, undoubtedly, hastened the project of building this highway, now recognized as one of unexcelled scenic grandeur and of practical aid to farmers and townspeople in this area.
He used his office to aid the needy and the deserving. He obtained scholarships for a number of deserving young men and women in state-aided colleges and universities, enabling many who otherwise would be unable to study for a profession, to achieve their goal. Many who were sick and required attention at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital or elsewhere found a staunch friend in Senator Joyce. Meanwhile he was liberal in distribution of his farm produce and daily his trucks were to be seen on the streets of Pittston, carrying vegetables and milk to needy families. His children attended St. Mary’s Assumption parochial school and every June, at the close of school, Senator Joyce entertained all of the pupils of that school and their teachers at the Triple Springs Estate, providing transportation and all of the essentials of an ideal school picnic.
With all of his lavish generosity Mr. Joyce was a humble man, who was never known to deliver a long speech and never craved the limelight. It is related that a certain young man who had obtained a scholarship through Senator Joyce’s intercession, dropped in to see the senator to express his appreciation. Mr. Joyce was seated at his desk and, when the young man expressed his gratitude, the Senator appeared astounded. He arose, extended his hand across the desk to the grateful student and remarked: “You are surely welcome. Very few people come back to say ‘thank you’.”
Mr. Joyce was given further opportunity to exercise his generosity by his long years of service on the Pittston-Jenkins Poor Board. He served throughout a major portion of twenty years as president of the Poor Board and it was during his time that the present Ransom Home and Hospital was built and he also had a responsible part in other worthwhile improvements of the institutions of the district.
Fraternal affiliations which Mr. Joyce had included the Pittston Aerie, Fraternal Order of Eagles, of which he was a charter member; the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, and he was for years a member of the Elks. He was also a devout member of St. Mary’s R.C. Church, Upper Pittston, and the Holy Name Society.
Surviving are his widow, the former Mary Hinchcliffe, of Sebastopol, and four children: Joseph, Mary Patricia, George and Frances. His eldest son, Edward, lost his life by drowning in the Susquehanna River near the Joyce summer home in 1925. One brother and one sister also survive, Joseph P. Joyce, former city councilman and city treasurer, and Miss Elizabeth Joyce, both of this city.
A Pittston Newspaper - October 21, 1938