Joyce Lewin | 1926-2017

Joyce Lewin passed away peacefully at Birchview Memory Care in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, on Dec. 4, 2017, from natural causes, shortly after her 91st birthday. She was born Nov. 13, 1926 in upstate New York, to Clarence and Calphurnia Chismore.

Joyce spent a wonderful childhood in the beautiful Mohawk Valley area of Ilion, New York, where she graduated from Ilion High School in 1944 as valedictorian of her class. She continued on to Cornell University in New York State where she received her bachelor’s degree in botany. Thereafter she pursued her graduate degree at Yale University in microbiology. Her professional interest lay in marine biology, specifically the study of marine algae or phytoplankton, and she continued this interest as a researcher at the prestigious Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, in Massachusetts, and subsequently the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. Finally, she became a professor at the Department of Oceanography at the University of Washington and started to teach part-time at the University of Washington Friday Harbor Marine Biological Laboratories on San Juan Island. During this time she wrote several scientific articles that were published in the Journal of Psychology. It is here that she came to know and love San Juan Island, and moved here in the late 1970s to stay the rest of her life.

Joyce enjoyed nature walks and was an avid environmentalist on the Island. She enjoyed reading articles on science, nature, and politics, being very involved with the island chapter of the Women’s League of Voters. She often traveled, visiting her relatives in California and Indiana. She was a constant participant in the Islands “French Conversation” group and accompanied her Island friends on a tour to France. She and her sister, Fern, took many trips together. At home, she enjoyed the pleasures of a simple life.

Joyce helped to start up the Mullis Community Senior Center and was a loyal participant in their senior lunch program. She is known for having a very good appetite!! Her inquisitive nature, cheerful disposition, and witty sense of humor endeared her to those who knew her. It was her nature to be in awe of the simplest things, enjoying the sight of colorful flowers, the shape of clouds, a beautiful sunset.

Joyce is preceded in death by her younger sister, Fern Berg, Feb.15, 2017. She is survived by her nephew, Andrew, and her niece Livia.

A celebration of the life of Joyce Lewin is to be announced. Memorial donations in honor of Joyce may be sent to:

– Mullis Community Senior Center, 589 Nash St., Friday Harbor, WA 98250, 360-378-9102

– UW Friday Harbor Marine Biological Laboratories, 620 University Rd., Friday Harbor, WA 98250 360-378-2165

– Natural Resources Defense Council, 40 W. 20th St. New York, NY 10011, 212-727-2700

– World Wildlife Fund, P.O. Box 97180, Washington, DC 20090-7180, 888-993-9455

Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel of Anacortes. To share a memory of Joyce, please sign the online guest register at