Joyce Neal Tavenner, 88.
November 12, 1932 to December 29, 2020
Residing at the time in Falls Church, VA, at Sunrise of Falls Church Joyce died on December 29, 2020 in her sleep due to natural causes.
Joyce was born on November 12, 1932 in Taylorsville, NC to parents Edna Harris Little and Ralph Lloyd Little. Joyce grew up in Taylorsville, NC with her siblings.
As a young adult Joyce moved to Washington D.C. from Taylorsville, North Carolina.
Joyce graduated as a stylist from Vidal Sassoon. Joyce devoted her life to making sure that everyone looked and felt their best. Joyce was a genius at her profession who was a continuous lifelong learner often traveling to New York City and Los Angeles for hair shows. Joyce was a stylist licensed in hair and cosmetology for over 50 years.
Joyce owned Lady Elizabeth Beauty, Inc. where the beauty salon was a familiar pillar of the Friendship Heights community and anyone could drop in to say hello. Joyce especially loved the holiday season where the Lady Elizabeth salon served as a gathering place for the community. You could find Joyce in the salon six out of the seven days of the week. On the seventh day she was doing her own books at home and this was her day of rest. If she did not have someone in her chair, then she was practicing a new cut or style on a mannequin or watching videos to learn new technique. Joyce’s clientele over the years included local tv personalities, politicians, and multi-generational family clients. And yes, Joyce always took walk ins, but you might have to wait. She even had a client that would fly in from Florida just to have her hair cut by Joyce. Joyce was a savvy self-made entrepreneur, served as a board member and was invested in many business ventures. Joyce was a genius in her profession as well as in life and worked endlessly to build her skillset and businesses.
Joyce was not only a business owner in Friendship Heights but also a resident for over 30 years. Joyce was an avid balcony gardener whose balcony on the 15th floor had beautifully bloomed pink geraniums that you could strikingly see driving by well into October. During the summers she would try her hand at growing vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers. Joyce’s green thumb brought her many juicy fresh tomato basil and mozzarella sandwiches during the summer.
Joyce was a foodie who loved DC culture and restaurants. When she first moved to D.C. she learned to cook gourmet cuisine while working in a restaurant as a server putting herself through school. Joyce loved to cook Southern cuisine and any new recipe she would get from a client. Joyce especially had a taste for local seafood and would often have crabs with family and made a mean crab imperial and crab cakes. She knew all the best places to eat whether it was delicious Chinese cuisine in China Town or the best seafood in the DMV where she would take the family on an hour-long drive to get there. Joyce’s holiday feasts were impeccably prepared and joyfully consumed. She often prepared for days before holidays with her granddaughter by her side, teaching her the same gourmet skills she had learned so many years ago.
Joyce loved fashion and to shop. Joyce was always stylish and had great taste. She had a gift at making someone look striking and elegant all at the same time. She kept up and studied many fashion icons. Joyce often attended jewelry shows looking for the newest trends. Everyone around her that was lucky enough to be styled by Joyce looked fierce and stunning once she was done.
Joyce spent the last years of her life in the exceptional care of Sunrise of Falls Church in Falls Church, VA where her family grew to include the community at Sunrise, and she was known to staff as “Grandma Joyce”.
Joyce was known to her friends and family to have a joyful soul and facial expressions that were full of life. She was a wonderful storyteller in her strong beautiful southern accent, gourmet trained chef, fashionista, and avid watcher of Saturday Night Live. Joyce had a witty and infectious sense of humor. Even when Joyce faced debilitating medical challenges due to a stroke in 2010, she continued to show all her lively spirit, great sense of humor, spunk, sass, resilience all the way up to her passing. Joyce was a pillar to her family, a beloved mother and grandmother, sister and aunt, whose resilient golden heart was a stronghold to those she loved.
Joyce is preceded in death by her Mother Edna Harris Little; Father Ralph Lloyd Little; Brothers Daniel Little and Mack Little; Sister Rosantha Little; Sister Ezalee Little; Family friend Helen Huff.
Joyce is survived by her son John Tavenner of Roanoake, VA; Granddaughter Kayla Hartline and husband Benjamin Hartline of Winchester, VA; Great-granddaughter Logan Raine Hartline; Brother Fred Little; Nephews Daniel Little, and Butch Day; Nieces Hollie Pharr, Carolyn Day, Mary Schronce, Judy Schronce, Diane Reid and Debbie Isenhour; Friends that became family Thea Lay and children Aubrey and Toni Lay.