Longtime Port Washington resident Joyce Dorothy Dendievel Sparozic died Oct. 2 at the age of 92 — two days shy of her 93rd birthday.
Born in London, Sparozic was the daughter of Dorothy Ida Charstone of Great Britain and Pierre Henri Dendievel of France.
Sparozic lived in Port Washington for nearly 82 years after arriving to the U.S. in 1931 aboard the French Line’s luxury steamship, SS Normandie with her family. Her father, a vice president at Le Compagnie General Transatlantique Ltd’s French Line, was re-assigned to the New York office prompting the move.
Family members say, summers were spent by Sparozic cruising back to England, and the French countryside, until World War II — when it was no
longer possible to travel safely across the Atlantic due to Nazi U-boat attacks.
Cruising first class, Sparozic rubbed elbows with President John F. Kennedy and other Kennedy family members; composer Irving Berlin, Josephine Baker, Errol Flynn, James Stewart, Carole Lombard, Constance Bennett, Edgar Bergen, W.C. Fields and Charlie Chaplin, among others. She collected an extensive autograph collection.
Sparozic was involved with helping her parents with the Free French War effort with her father and Bundles For Britain with her mother which often took them to Hearst Castle in Sands Point in the 1930s.
She was a 1940 Graduate of Port Washington Senior High School where she was a member of the Daubers Art Club and PWHS Choir. She enjoyed French, archery, badminton and bridge. Her brother-in-law, William T. Allen, was a former teacher and principal at Port Washington Senior High School.
Despite her petite stature and quiet demeanor, Sparozic bubbled with enthusiasm, independence and artistic license, according to family members.
After graduating from Mayer School of Fashion Design in New York, she became head designer for children’s dresses at Joseph P. Love which sold products to Best & Co., Bergdorf Goodman and Saks.
She was married to Jean Sparozic, a French Merchant Marine in 1946, whom she met during World War II at a dance canteen in Manhattan for French Sailors. The couple had three daughters.
In later years, she worked The Red Door Antique shop on Main
Street in Port Washington, owned by her sister Margaret Baer. She worked at the
Beacon Movie Theatre in the 80s "for fun," according to family members.
She enjoyed attending rock concerts at the Port Washington Library by her future son-in-law, multi-platinum musician and songwriter, John Ford of the British band, the Strawbs and Ian Lloyd’s stories. Ford recently completed an instrumental song, “Rejoyce Joyce,” completed in her memory.
She was an avid fan of the Beatles – her favourite song was “Let It Be.”
She still loved composing music, especially melodies and playing piano — her favorite being “Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life,” by Victor Herbert. She enjoyed collecting antiques, painting and sketching.
Her favourite motto was “Onward and Upward,” always looking at the bright side, her cup being half full rather than half empty and make the best of everything, according to family members.
Sparozic is pre-deceased by her parents; and family members Ida Delaura, Doreen Allen and Ronald P. Dendievel. Survivors include husband Jean; daughters Jill Morrison, Suzy Sparozic and Wendy Dirkes, her beloved “sentinel” Pekinese dog, PanZee; sister Margaret Baer, her brother-in-law, William T. Allen, sister-in-law, Jane Dendievel, two grandsons, Jonathon Dirkes and Ryan Dirkes and dozens of nieces and nephews.
"She was truly a remarkable woman who I learned so much from and owe everything to," said her daughter, Jill Morrison.
Visitation was Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013 from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at Austin F. Knowles Funeral Home in Port Washington.
Mass was Oct. 7 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Peter’s Church followed by burial at Nassau Knowles Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any of the following: Port Washington Public Library, VNALI Meals On Wheels Program, North Shore Animal League, Port Washington Police Department or the Port Washington Fire Department.