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Josephine (Joyce)  Gomes-Ribeiro

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“My beloved mother was an extraordinary woman in many ways. Her life experiences are worthy of a book that I am in the process of writing. She will be...Read More ยป
1 of 1 | Posted by: Barbara Lange - McKinney, TX


Joyce went to join the Lord on September 29, 2019. She died of natural causes in the arms of her beloved daughter, Barbara Lange.

Born in Liverpool, England on January 25, 1920, Joyce moved to New York City with her family when she was four years old. She married Nicholas Tafuri in 1935 and they had a daughter, Barbara. Joyce was widowed in 1940.

In 1946 she married Luis Gomes-Ribeiro, an officer in the Brazilian Air Force. They moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where they lived in an apartment facing the famous Copacabana Beach. In 1950, after she and Luis were divorced, Joyce and Barbara returned to New York.

As a part of "The Greatest Generation," she participated in the World War II effort and volunteered at the Stage Door Canteen in New York, where she and many other women would provide social conversation with the military personnel who were on leave. It was a time when patriotism was at the highest level.

She pursued a career in retail and was offered, a sales position at Bergdorf Goodman, a luxury department store on Fifth Avenue across from Tiffany & Company and the current Trump Tower. Because of her excellent organizational skills, she was promoted to a department manager. She remained with Bergdorf until she retired in 2002. During her career at Bergdorf her clients included luminaries from around the world from celebrities to royalty, such as Princess Margaret, Greta Garbo, Mary Tyler Moore, the Kennedy family - the list goes on and on. An amusing incident occurred when she was helping a customer who was interested in buying a belt (a $1,000.00+ item); it was necessary to measure his waist, which she did. When she was finished and he left, her colleagues rushed over, curious to know what she and Tom Cruise had talked about. Her reply was "Who is Tom Cruise?" (She was not much of a movie goer.) A book could truly be written about her 38-year career at Bergdorf.

Once Barbara and her family settled in McKinney Joyce was a frequent visitor. Eventually, after Barbara was widowed, Joyce moved from New York to live with her. McKinney turned out to be a major departure from her life in New York where she could walk or take a bus or taxi anywhere, so there was never any reason to learn to drive. But she was lured to move to McKinney by Bashful, Barbara's precious long-haired Dachshund that Joyce dearly loved. When he passed away in 2018 it was devastating, as she lost her best companion. Finding the house too empty, in May 2018 Joyce and Barbara adopted Josie, a sweet little Shih Tzu who became a cherished part of Joyce's life.

Joyce led a full life and travelled extensively to Europe, Middle East and South America. She had a fear of flying and whenever possible would travel by ship. She personified a lady of elegance, grace and style. She had a beautiful smile and fascinated and captivated people with stories of her adventurous life experiences.

She was preceded in death by her mother and father, Margaret (McEntee) and Frank Mahoney; two brothers Arthur and Michael Mahoney and two sisters Pat Handman and Claire DeRienzo. She is survived by her daughter Barbara, her grandson Andrew, his wife Stacy and great-grandson Tyler who live in Alaska; her sisters Frances Curran; and Jean Dawson and numerous nieces and nephews.

Donations in her memory can be sent to Operation Kindness in Carrollton, Texas and SPCA of Texas in McKinney.

Thanks to the wonderful people of Vitas hospice, especially Matrise Johnson, who did their best to make her final passage comfortable.

At the convenience of the family and friends, a private Memorial Mass celebrating Joyce's life will be held at St. Michael's Catholic Church in McKinney.