Joyce Andruzak

Joyce Andruzak

October 27, 1935 May 8, 2020

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Obituary for Joyce M. Andruzak

Joyce M. Andruzak, 84, passed away on Friday, May 8, 2020, at Berkshire Center in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Born in West Reading, PA on October 27, 1935, she was a daughter of the late Stefan and Helen (Gring) Andruzak.

Before child labor laws interfered, Joyce spent many years working for her Dad selling Christmas trees, cotton candy, and spin art. Joyce also spent time as a carney announcer for camel races, which most likely sparked her interest in performance and theater. She appeared in many productions of the Reading Community Players and Wyomissing Institute of Fine Arts before graduating from Reading Senior High. She continued both on stage and backstage while earning a Bachelor of Arts from Pennsylvania State University. Techniques honed as the make-up manager in the 1956 production of “An Inspector Calls” would later be unleashed on her children every Halloween.

Joyce married James Barkley in 1958. A year later, their first child Julia was born with Down syndrome. Younger brothers Jeffrey and James soon appeared on the scene to keep Julia company, whether she liked it or not and for the most part, she did. Debate still rages today as to which one was “Mom’s favorite”.

During the 1960s, Joyce began to torture her children with culture. Her work began slowly: reading lessons were (casually) reinforced with visits to the library. Enrichment soon escalated, and the innocent children never saw it coming. Art museums, shadow play, theater, etc. Joyce particularly enjoyed subjecting the hapless trio to musicals and ballet performances with limited intermissions. Her children’s enthusiasm for their cultural education is well documented in various family pictures, where sad expressions attest to the pain and suffering experienced. (Pictures are available upon request.)

As her children grew and learned more about the world, Joyce also grew -- into an advocate for her daughter Julia. Not content with the poor reactions she would see in others toward Julia, Joyce became a champion for the disabled. Her work with local advocacy groups improved the education, lives and options available for Julia and others with disabilities. While Joyce did not always realize the positive impact her actions and advice had on others, she is considered a leader by her family.

Joyce was an active member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and wanted to improve the lives and opportunities for women. During the 1970s, she combined her love of books and philanthropy into an annual AAUW fundraising dinner featuring recently published authors.

In the 1980s she returned to Pennsylvania to be closer to her parents. Due to various mergers she ended working for several banks without ever changing jobs. She had many interesting stories from her time in the call center - including the man who lost his money in the ATM because he ended up chasing his parrot.
She enjoyed vacationing in Nantucket, one time asking “how far do I have to go out to be rescued by the lifeguard”, knitting, reading, attending theater performances and was devoted to her daughter, Julia and adored her grandsons Matthew and Stephan who in her view could do no wrong.

Surviving are her two sons: Jeffrey Barkley and his wife, Colleen Barkley, of Cambridge, MA, and James M. Barkley, Jr. and his wife, Ellie Barkley, of Downingtown, PA. She is also survived by two grandsons, Matthew and Stephan Barkley, and one sister, Elizabeth Jackson.

Services for Joyce are private and at the convenience of the family. Burial will be in Gethsemane Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Association of University Women, 1310 L St. NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20005, or The Arc (Association for Retarded Citizens) of the United States, 1825 K Street NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20006.

Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, 739 Penn Ave., West Reading is honored to serve the family.
Fond memories and condolences may be expressed at

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Service Details

  • Interment

    Gethsemane Cemetery
    3139 Kutztown Road
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David Murphy

Jim and Ellie - I'm so sorry to hear of your mom passing away. The tribute on this page is amazing and makes me realize you were lucky to have had her around. Sending my love -

David Murphy
Comment | Posted at 11:29am via Condolence

Mike Lindinger

Jim & Ellie, and extended family, I'm very sorry for your loss. Jim I very much looked forward to seeing your Mom at Chester's yearly BBQ; being so sharp & quick-witted (and yes - a bit intimidating!) she was enormously fun to talk with. Knowing what was important to her (primarily high culture) and knowing how you turned out Jim - I'm sure she couldn't be more proud. We'll all be thinking of Joyce the next time someone drags us to a museum or play.
Comment | Posted at 11:13am via Condolence

john rossi

My condolences to you and your family Jim
John R.
Comment | Posted at 09:36am via Condolence

Lise Cherna

Our sincerest condolences. Joyce was a very special lady and a joy to know. Her laugh was infectious and her wit fierce. Jim, thank you for the opportunity for us to get to know her and spend precious bits of time with her over the years. I know this is a great loss to the Barkley family and we will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless
The Cherna Family
Comment | Posted at 09:23am via Condolence

Melody Manley

Jim & Ellie
This is Marci Haslam's sister, Melody. Marci sent me your mom's obituary. I am so sorry for your loss. Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading the obit. How refreshing to have a person's personality jump out at you from what is usually a boring list of a person's life. Made me wish I had known her.
Comment | Posted at 09:11am via Condolence

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