Marie E. Joyce (right) and Andy Mosher (left), her partner of 25 years.
Marie E. Joyce (right) and Andy Mosher (left), her partner of 25 years, in summer 2014.

Journalist Marie Elizabeth Joyce died peacefully Dec. 29 at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., from metastatic breast cancer. She was 49.

Joyce was born May 13, 1965, in Buffalo, N.Y. She grew up in Marlton, N.J., and graduated from Camden Catholic High School. She attended the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she was the editor in chief at The Cavalier Daily, a student newspaper, a post that earned her a prestigious room on the Lawn. Joyce graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English literature in 1987.

Joyce worked as a reporter at The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va. from 1987 to 1994. She covered medicine at The Virginian-Pilot from 1994 to 1999. Joyce won a dozen awards for her writing from the Virginia Press Association while working for these two newspapers, including first-place prizes for spot news writing, features and a series. Her 1993 series about breast cancer, called “A Woman’s Story,” won Best in Show, the association’s highest honor. She also won first place in the feature writing category in 1998 for a story called, “A Partnership for Life,” about Drs. Howard and Georgeanna Jones, who pioneered the field of in-vitro fertilization.

Joyce traveled to Africa as a Knight International Press Fellow from 2000 to 2001, where she trained journalists in Lusaka, Zambia. Joyce worked as a free-lance writer and volunteer for many organizations after she returned from Africa. Her volunteer projects included tutoring schoolchildren in writing at the Museum of Unnatural History, the Washington branch of the 826 Project. She was also a fellow with the Organization for America, a Democratic group, from 2013 to 2014.

Joyce is survived by her partner of 25 years, Andrew G. Mosher, of Washington; her parents, Phillip and Mary Joyce of Marlton, N.J.; and her brother, Thomas Joyce; as well as four dogs and 11 cats. Funeral arrangements are pending. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Martha’s Table of Washington.

Liz Szabo has covered medical news for USA TODAY since 2004. Previously, Szabo worked for The Virginian-Pilot—with Joyce—for seven years, covering medicine, religion and local news.

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