Photography

Erwin Michael "Mickey" Joye

May 4, 2023

Obituary

Erwin Michael “Mickey” Joye of Pamplico, SC and Princeton, NJ passed away on Thursday, May 4, 2023 after battling Parkinson’s disease for more than a decade. He was 78 years old. Our hearts are heavy with loss but also full of joy and gratitude for the time we shared with him.

He is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Lucy (Sticco), his eldest son and daughter-in-law, his younger son and fiancée, a grandson, three siblings and their spouses and a multitude of caring extended family and friends. He is predeceased by his parents and two brothers.

Mike was born on October 16,1944 to Amy (Evans) and Acue “Stoll” Joye and grew up in the small farming community of Pamplico. During summers he cropped tobacco on his Grandaddy Evan’s farm alongside family members. Sandlot baseball and ‘half rubber’ matches filled his early years. He was a proud member of the Pamplico High School basketball team when they won the state championship. He shared in the Southern heritage unique to the Pee Dee region. The values of hard work, honesty, and perseverance learned during these years always remained with him. Though his Southern accent could wax and wane from day to day, his love for those in his homestate was a steadfast part of his identity.

Mike attended The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduating in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. He was awarded a four-year Navy ROTC scholarship for his undergraduate education. The first two years of his military assignments were as a naval officer at sea. Upon completion of his duties, he was discharged in 1970 from the U.S. Naval Station in Brooklyn, NY as a Lieutenant, receiving a letter of commendation stating: “Your leadership, intelligence and self-discipline have been in the highest tradition of the United States Navy.” Mike's four-year service was an important part of his life. He often said that the responsibilities required to fulfill his military duties shaped his future.

Three years later in 1973 Mike earned the degree of Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School. He was recognized as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar for outstanding academic achievement. Mike launched his professional career in the New York City law firm LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby and McCrae where he became a partner in the practice of insurance law. Mike believed in working hard and playing hard, and he unfailingly arranged his busy schedule to play short stop for the inter-firm softball games that he enjoyed.

Mike had an adventurous spirit and an open inquisitiveness about the world. From 1978-1980, he took a hiatus from the law firm to teach constitutional law at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria during that country’s transition from a military dictatorship to a constitutional government modeled on the U.S. Together, he and Lucy traveled widely throughout northern Africa and experienced the languages, foods, and traditions of the people along their journeys. Their travels furthered their respect and appreciation for different cultures.

Upon returning home to the U.S., Mike continued to practice insurance law as general counsel at American Insurance Group (AIG), Reliance Insurance Company and American Reinsurance Company. Throughout his legal career, Mike developed a reputation for his keen intellect, good judgment and honesty. He used his abilities in combination with an unrelenting work ethic to help resolve complex issues for his clients. Later in life, he applied these skills to public service as a member elected to the Montgomery Township Council.

Despite long commutes, longer office hours and frequent business trips, family was Mike’s priority. No matter how busy, he always made time to help his children with homework, offer wise advice, and engage in the lives and the laughter of his sons and their friends, often hauling them to early morning ice hockey games in the big red family van with the notorious “JOYBOYS” vanity plates. Those who knew him remember his contagious optimism, intelligence, and broad knowledge of history and sports, especially the Yankees and his alma mater UNC Tarheels basketball team.

We miss Mike dearly.

Memorial services are planned in Princeton, NJ and Pamplico, SC.

In lieu of flowers the family would be grateful for donations made to support the work of Mike’s neurologist, Dr. Matthew Swan, for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at Mount Sinai Hospital NY at: http://giving.mountsinai.org/movement 

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