Obituary: Joyce Perkit, attorney and activist

June 7, 2013
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Jamaica Plain resident Joyce Lynda Perkit passed away on Sun., June 2, 2013 at age 71 after a long and hard-fought battle with breast cancer. She was a brilliant and learned woman who stood up and defended people’s rights and community causes that she thought were vitally important. She was a highly regarded attorney who practiced entertainment law in the Boston area in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Later, she gave up full-time law and moved on to be a first-rate real estate broker and real estate investor. Her close friends knew what a fountain of knowledge and information she had and how adept she had become at real estate and any area connected to the field.

Joyce was quietly also a poet, a serious lover of antiques and a devotee of music and the arts. Back in the ’80s, when she was practicing entertainment law, she represented an award-winning and successful pop/rock band in Boston, Girls Night Out. The band featured singer Didi Stewart, saxophonist Myanna, guitarist Wendy Sobel and keyboardist, singer, songwriter and arranger Alizon Lissance.

Most recently, Joyce was very active in community land use planning in Jamaica Plain. A graduate of Radcliffe College and Northeastern University School of Law, Joyce was frequently quoted in the Jamaica Plain Gazette when she was active on the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council.

Edward Rose, the founder of the world-famous Rose Art Museum was Joyce’s great-uncle, and when the Rose Art Museum was going to be closed by Brandeis University’s president at the height of the recession, Joyce was one of four key family members of more than 50 who spearheaded the family movement to save the Museum in 2009. The family team won the cause largely because of Joyce and today the Rose Art Museum is thriving once again.

Joyce was the beloved companion of James “Pete” Chamberlain for 30 years. Devoted mother of Kurt Shapiro and his wife Paula of Las Vegas, Nev.; Ivan Zalkind of Walpole, Mass.; and Ariel Keefer and her husband Jamie of Audubon, Pa. Loving sister of Sharyn Lane of Atlanta, Ga. Cherished grandmother of Evelyn and Lily.

Graveside services were held at Sharon Memorial Park, 120 Canton St., Sharon, Mass. on June 5. Expressions of sympathy in her memory may be made to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Attn: Marilyn DeSantis, Donor Relations, 400 West Cummings Park, Ste. 6650, Woburn, MA 01801.