Joyce Bolles MacNeill


On Saturday, July 10, 2021, Joyce Bolles MacNeill, loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother passed away at 90 with family at her side. Born Sept. 20, 1930 in Walton, to Margaret and Sam Bolles, Joyce grew up and graduated from Walton Central High School as an only child. Her joy in youth was owning and riding her horse on adventures throughout the area. Joyce then went on to attend Bryant & Stanton College in Syracuse. As a student she was an avid marching band member. Along with playing her clarinet at various events, she relished performing for troops returning from World War II. She married her soldier, Art MacNeill in 1951 in San Antonio, Texas, and raised her four children in Walton before moving to the Cortland/Homer area in 1974.

Everywhere Joyce existed she immersed herself in service and her presence was felt. She was the true matriarch of the MacNeill clan, teaming with her husband as guiding lights. That team spawned joy for her four children, Peg, Bill (Sue), Jon (Nancy) and Dan (Sherrie) and their families. Her passions, her inspired focus, was her family that grew to seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Joyce affected and served every community she resided in - as Cub Scout leader, Girl Scout leader, her church or sharing her talent for sewing, quilting and knitting. As seamstress she created many fond memories in the Cortland area with her talent in outfitting people with the ‘right’ fit. Many sought her stitch, enjoyed and wore her craft.

Joyce will be remembered in many ways. Her sweet specialty was making others feel good. She was competitive, relished a victorious hand of cards, loved the game of football and the spirit of that sport. Joyce admired toughness and instilled that behavior in her family. She loved the adventure of driving, her dogs, travel, her coffee clutch, exercising at the YWCA, long walks, and a good cause. All the while, creating experiences while never caving to circumstance. Adversity was part of the adventure.

Her family encourages all to reflect on Joyce. Conger a favorite memory and enjoy her profound effect. That collective smile is her gift and her celebration. If you’d care to share that memory, her family will welcome guests at the United Presbyterian Church, 25 Church Street, Cortland, on Saturday, July 17 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in the church chapel, and/or, join us at a graveside memorial at the Walton Cemetery, 55 Fancher Avenue, Walton, on Saturday, July 24, at 11 a.m.  

For those looking to donate on her behalf, we suggest the MacNeill Scholarship Fund (benefiting those interested in the Celtic Arts, c/o James Engle, 133 Weymouth Road, Syracuse, NY 13205), the United Presbyterian Church in Cortland, NY 13045 or to the fight against dementia/Alzheimer’s disease.

Memorial condolences for the family may be left at


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