Cover photo for Joyce Wargo's Obituary
Joyce Wargo Profile Photo
1929 Joyce 2021

Joyce Wargo

September 22, 1929 — March 19, 2021


Joyce Belyea Wargo

Myosotis sylvatica, the wood forget-me-not, or woodland forget-me-not, is a species of flowering plant in the family Boraginaceae, native to Europe.

According to one German legend, while God was naming all the plants, one tiny plant that was still unnamed called out to Him, saying, "Forget me not, O Lord!" In response, God named the plant with the very same words. ... He heard a tiny whisper saying, "Forget me not!" It came from none other than a tiny blue flower.

Joyce Belyea Wargo was a unique woman, knowing all the Latin names of the flowers she grew in her garden, and many others she didn't grow. Myosotis sylvatica was one of her favorites she did grow.

Joyce passed away on March 19, 2021, in Goose Creek, South Carolina, at age 91. She lived for more than two decades in the Charleston area.

Born September 22, 1929, in Manhattan, New York, she was the daughter of Harold C. and Adelaide Belyea, graduates of Yale and Wellesley. Joyce graduated with a degree in Zoology from Syracuse University, where her father was a professor of Forestry.

For many years she lived in Rochester, New York, where she worked for French's Mustard Company, all the while fighting for gender-pay equity. She later moved to the Hartford, Connecticut, area, where she worked in hospitals.

In a long career as a Microbiologist she was one of the first to work with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, before it became known. She also worked at NASA in a top-secret capacity with the Apollo Lunar Module that landed the first humans on the moon.

Joyce was moved by literature, science, dance and music. She sang with the Rochester Oratorio Society and with many church choirs, and also sourced her inspiration from great writers. Poets Sylvia Plath and Billy Collins and humor essayist David Sedaris were among her favorites. She was devoted to the New Yorker magazine, which she read cover to cover every week.

The last book she read was a novel by Ottessa Moshfegh titled, appropriately, "Homesick for Another World."

Joyce is survived by her daughter, the photographer Sharon Margaret Wickham, from the San Francisco Bay Area; and a sister, Ruth Rowland, of Massachusetts.

Joyce Belyea Wargo had two favorite adages she would say after many a challenging day:
"It's not the end of the world" and "the show must go on."
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joyce Wargo, please visit our flower store.


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