Obituary: Joyce L. Goldman
Joyce L. Goldman, a longtime political activist and resident of Montclair who served as a key aide to two Essex County executives, died on Dec. 15, 2022. She was 82.
Ms. Goldman, who served in several positions in the administration of Essex County Executive Peter Shapiro from 1978 to 1986, became the first woman to serve as director of the Essex County Division of Buildings and Grounds in 1985, where she managed more than 300 employees and a $12 million budget.
She also served as director of constituent services in the administration of county Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. from 2003 until her retirement in 2018.
Born in Brooklyn in 1940, Ms. Goldman was a 1961 graduate of Cornell University. She moved to Montclair in 1969, where she became involved in the peace movement of the late 1960s, as well as local, state and national Democratic politics.
In 1976, she became chair of the Montclair Third Ward Democrats. She was also president of Montclair Democrats for Good Government.
She was active in the Essex County charter change movement in the 1970s and instrumental in the campaign that resulted in the election of Shapiro, then a 26-year-old assemblyman, as Essex County’s first executive in 1978.
Following Shapiro’s election, Ms. Goldman served as his special assistant and liaison to the Board of Freeholders. She also served for four years as executive assistant to the county administrator and two years as the deputy director of Buildings and Grounds. She was director of the Division of Buildings and Grounds during 1985-86.
In the 1970s and ’80s she hosted many events at her home in Montclair for candidates and elected officials, including Shapiro, Sen. Bill Bradley and Rep. Andrew Maguire. She was a delegate to the 1984 Democratic convention that chose Walter Mondale as the Democratic nominee for president.
In 1990, she was appointed director of the Essex County Office of Consumer Services in the administration of county Executive Thomas D’Alessio, serving until 1994.
In 1965, Ms. Goldman traveled to South Carolina to register African American students in segregated schools. In 1972, she traveled to Bangladesh to promote human rights and especially women’s rights there.
In addition to her professional accomplishments, she was a devoted mother, grandmother and aunt who loved life and lived every moment to its fullest. She was a talented painter, photographer, ceramicist and collagist, and won several awards for her art. A gifted writer who authored many plaques and proclamations in Essex County as part of her job, she also wrote poems for family, friends and colleagues on special occasions. At the time of her death she was working on publishing a book of her poetry.
Throughout her life, she loved to travel; she especially cherished the friendships she made in her late 70s during her months-long visits to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where she studied Spanish. She treasured times spent with her late sister and her nieces — from the beaches of Greece to a Grateful Dead concert in New York City this past summer. Her other interests included theater, opera, reading and poker. In her younger days, she played tennis.
Her advice, which she frequently shared with others, was: “When you’re standing in line, take a moment to say hello to the person in front of you and behind you, because you will be amazed at the connections you will find with them.”
Ms. Goldman is survived by two sons, James Goldman (Jackie Paez) of Western Springs, Illinois, and Drew Goldman (Dana Farrington) of Abu Dhabi, and five grandchildren, Peter, Katie and Lulu Goldman and Xander and Reid Farrington.
Arrangements were by O’Boyle Funeral Home, Bloomfield.