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James Walter Joyce

Died: April 1, 1964

Jim Joyce grew up in Carlsbad, New Mexico, a town with deep Joyce roots; and he attended Carlsbad High School before transferring to Choate. Jim’s father and grandfather also lived in Carlsbad. His father had joined the National Livestock Co, (founded by Jim’s grandfather, J. Frank Joyce) which was one of the largest agri-businesses in New Mexico, with cattle, sheep ranching, and farming interests in five New Mexico counties. He entered Yale with our class and roomed in Vanderbilt Hall along with Thorne McCarty, Guy Moss, and Jeff Parish. Jim was a member of Morse College before his death on April 1, 1964. Along with Jimmy Anderson, Jim was returning from a skiing trip to Aspen when he and Jimmy were killed in a car crash in western Nebraska.

In the obituary published in the Carlsbad Argus in early April 1964, the writer noted Jim was “widely known for his student work in rocketry and science.”

Stephen Gilhuley remembers:

Jim’s inscription in our 1962 Classbook (quoted verbatim): “Say, may your parties be cool and your women warm…”

William Cole remembers:

Jim traveled with me and several others to Coral Gables freshman year over spring vacation…stayed out in the hot Florida sun all day using a mixture of baby oil and iodine for sun tan lotion…got red as a lobster…
Guy Moss remembers:
Jim died in our sophomore year, a victim of an auto accident in Nebraska, coming back to school, if I recall, following a spring break. The news was a very unwelcome start to the final phase of that second year.

He had been my freshman roommate, lower bunk to my upper in Vanderbilt Hall. Jim and I reflected the diversity that so enriches Yale. He was New Mexico to my New York; Choate to my New Rochelle High School; science (his obituary mentioned “student work in rocketry” for example) to my humanities; different religions; different interest in sports, etc. That said, it was easy to make friends with him, and we had many long conversations in that small bedroom double, often in the dark, or walking to or from Commons, dodging water balloons along the way. All of this greatly helped my adjustment to Yale life.

His death shook me up, as I had had no earlier experience with the loss of someone my age, 19. Wandering aimlessly, I came to his dorm door at Morse, where a “business card” sat in a metal holder. It simply read “James Joyce II, Physics, [a telephone number], and Carlsbad, New Mexico.” I took it at once and placed it in my wallet as a reminder of how things could always be worse in life. My wallets have changed often; yet that card is still there, over fifty years later!