The Mother of Invention

by Shannon – Today Shannon’s Mother, Joyce Elaine Parish Bice, turns 80 years young.  That is 29,200 days made better by having her on this Earth.  I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about her, and, especially, to thank her.  It is because of her that I was allowed to be inquisitive.  It is because of her I learned to be dedicated.  And most of all, it is because of her that I have a passion for learning and a love for those around me.


Joyce and her family – all except the youngest, Sharon. Joyce in front in the white dress. 

Joyce was born in DePeyster, NY on January 19, 1938.  She is the middle of 7 children. She grew up with beautiful long red hair and sparkling green eyes.  Perhaps that is how she attracted the attention of my father, Norman, with whom she has been married 59 years.


June 12, 1959

Joyce worked in a number of jobs, most of them utilizing her bookkeeping and organization skills, from a Sales Clerk at Sears to a Secretary at Connecticut General Life Insurance.  For many years, she worked as an assistant for physician Dr. Abraham, whom she remembers fondly. She went on to have three children, Bryan, Sean, and Shannon, and 4 grandchildren.


The 1960s

For me, what I always remember of my mother is her generosity – in time, in spirit, and most of all,  in encouragement.  She has always made time for those she loved – especially her children.  With me, she spent countless hours chauffeuring me back and forth to basketball practices, school plays, and band performances.

When people ask me what inspired me to become a scientist, I always start with my parents. My mother spent so many hours with me outdoors, riding bicycles together, planting flowers, camping in the summer.

When I got a children’s microscope for Christmas one year, my mother took me to the local hospital to pick up a Petri dish of media to grow bacteria and fungus to look at for the first time.

When I wanted to present at the science fair, my mother helped me locate the raw materials.

When I finally got the telescope I was hoping for, my Mom helped my locate the planets.

Naz graduation

Mom, Dad and I at my college graduation

More than this, my mother always encouraged me to follow my dreams.  To be the best I can be, and to try and make a positive difference in this world.

I am still trying, Mom.  But, I know one thing.  You already have.  I love you, and Happy 80th Birthday.

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