'A born encourager': Tributes paid to retired teacher and bandmaster

Ron Joice conducting at his 90th birthday concert event at the Salvation Army.

Ron Joice conducting at his 90th birthday Salvation Army concert event. - Credit: Gareth Joice

Tributes have been paid to a retired teacher and bandleader who devoted his life to music education. 

Ronald Joice, a skilled pianist and euphonium player who was also a lifelong Christian, died aged 93. 

Ron was born in September 1928 in Brandon, a coal mining village in County Durham, to salvationists Jane and Stanley Joice. 

From 1946 to 1952, he served with the Royal Air Force music service, during which time he met Daphne, whom he married in August 1950. 

Ron played euphonium in the RAF band, pictured here playing in front of King's College, Cambridge.

Ron played euphonium in the RAF band, pictured here playing in front of King's College, Cambridge. - Credit: Gareth Joice

After leaving the air force, he trained to become a music teacher, beginning his career in education at Saffron Walden County High School. 

Ron subsequently moved to Havering to take up a position at a school in Rainham, before switching to Abbs Cross School in Hornchurch where he spent the rest of his teaching career. 

At each school, he was involved in extra-curricular activities, building up brass bands and orchestras – whom he took on tours abroad – and organising annual musicals. 

Ron and Daphne Joice on their wedding day in 1950.

Ron and Daphne Joice on their wedding day in 1950. - Credit: Gareth Joice

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He and Daphne were lifelong Christians and were involved in the local Salvation Army, with Ron serving as its bandmaster in Romford. 

He also worked at Havering Music School, where he was principal for a time.

Son Gareth remembered him as a devoted teacher and a “born encourager and motivator”. 

“He was very genial, a man who was very hard not to like – always willing to have an encouraging, positive word with someone, get alongside people and show them a bit of love," he said.

“He was able to make a brass band play greater than the sum of its parts."

A rotarian in Havering, Ron was a recipient of the Paul Harris Fellowship, bestowed by the organisation in recognition of service to Rotary. 

Ron and Daphne Joice

Ron and Daphne Joice - Credit: Gareth Joice

After his retirement from Abbs Cross, he continued his involvement with music, playing the organ at South Essex Crematorium in Upminster. 

He and Daphne – who herself died in October – spent their final years at Parkside Care Home in Gidea Park. 

The Recorder was present for their 70th anniversary celebrations last August. 

His eldest son Adrian said: “He was my dad, but to everyone else he was a great Christian, a great musician and a great encourager."

Ron, who died on December 22, is remembered by daughter Claire Groombridge, sons Adrian and Gareth Joice and seven grandchildren. 

The Recorder wants to help our readers pay tribute to lost loved ones by publishing obituaries in the paper, celebrating their lives and achievements.

Find out more at Obituaries in the Recorder: Pay tribute to lost loved ones or fill in the form below.