Joyce Amanda Lewis Beard was known for her quick wit, quick tongue and feisty disposition.
She died March 22, 2012. She was 77.
She was born to the late Charles and Juanita Lewis on Feb. 6, 1945 in Philadelphia. She was educated in the Philadelphia public school system and graduated from Simon Gratz High School in 1963.
Joyce accepted the Lord as her personal savior at the age of 12 and was baptized at Wayland Temple Baptist Church located at 25th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, under the leadership of the late Rev. Charles Smith.
She married Henry Beard, Jr. and from this union four children were born, Michael Beard, Sr., Kelly Beard, Tiffanie Beard and Jorrae Beard.
Beard worked in the garment industry for over twenty years where she learned the style and art of fashion. Her love of fashion prompted her to learn how to sew and she spent many hours making clothes for herself and her children. As the garment industry diminished locally, Beard transitioned and received additional training to become a certified nurse’s assistant. For more than 20 years, she worked as a CNA and retired from Total Health in January 2007.
She joined Vine Memorial Baptist Church in 1980 and later became a member at Freedom Christian Bible Fellowship under the pastorate of Apostle Gilbert Coleman, Jr. for twelve years. While a member of Vine Memorial, Beard became an active member serving on the Usher Board and as a Sunday School teacher and received her teacher’s certification.
"Mom," as she was affectionately called, loved the Lord with all her heart and would insist on weekly family devotions in her dining room. It wasn’t uncommon to see hear heading to Vacation Bible School each year, with at least 15 neighborhood children trailing behind her.
Beard was also famous for providing the fried chicken, boiled eggs and sweet pickles at ever church picnic and block party. She served as the block captain for the 1200 block of Allison Street for many years and she took her role very seriously.
It wasn’t uncommon for Beard to chastise her children and everyone else’s children who were in close proximity of her presence.
Beard was a true urban missionary as she would constantly bear witness to the goodness of the Lord to all who would listen, that is, when she wasn’t chastising them. She kept tracks, bibles, pens with scriptures and anything else that resembled God’s love and she would disseminate those trinkets to people in passing, often stopping them in their tracks to express God’s unfailing love towards them.
Beard most enjoyed her children, and the company of her closest childhood friends, Mary Hall, Juanita, and Jeanette Burns. She would spend countless hours with her friends sitting around the dining room table reminiscing on their childhood years.
She also loved her younger brother, Robert Lewis, Sr., immensely. Her brother was totally committed to his sister and in her later days, Lewis was the rock that kept everything together.
Beard developed an extremely close relationship with her next door neighbor Delores Monroe and they maintained that closeness through all the years of her life. She was also extremely close to the family’s matriarch, Marie Matthews and they would spend countless hours on the phone talking about everything from the children, to God, to current events. She also held a very special endearment to her oldest two cousins, Oscar George Fuller and John Matthews.
The family said Beard's most endearing attribute was the ability to chastise and restore a person in the same breath. Her unyielding, uncompromising, no nonsense approach to the word of God was unwavering.
Beard was extremely proud of her accomplishment of raising her children in a safe, loving and caring environment, and was determined to ensure her girls knew they were strong, intelligent and courageous. Further, she would not cease to tell anyone who would listen of her children’s accomplishments.
She was predeceased by her son, Michael A. Beard Sr.
She is survived by three daughters, Kelly Beard, Tiffanie Beard and Jorrae Beard; daughter-in-law, Beverly Beard; three grandsons, Michael T. Beard, Jarrett Beard, and Devon Beard; four granddaughters, Katrina Andrews-Beard, Ashley Beard, Turquoise Pitts and Kailyn Beard; two great-granddaughters, Lacey Pollard and London Pollard; brother, Robert Lewis, Sr.; sister-in-law Sandra Lewis; nephew, Robert Lewis, Jr. and wife, Angela Lewis; aunt, Marie Matthews; uncle, Randolph Matthews, Sr.; cousins, Oscar Fuller, John Matthews, Sheila and Regina Matthews; and other relatives and friends.
Services were held March 30 at Freedom Christian Bible Fellowship, 6100 West Columbia Ave.