Joy Garson Howard Kunian Chase, a lifelong Atlantan, avid traveler, successful businesswoman and dedicated volunteer, died in her sleep Sunday at age 92. Sign the guestbook here.
“The amazing thing about mom was she greeted every person she ever met with a smile,” said Clark Howard, the financial guru whose show is heard locally from 8 to 10 p.m. on News 95.5 FM and AM 750 WSB. “Joy was not just her name, it was the perfect description of who she was.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB are both part of Cox Media Group.
“People think he’s such a big shot,” his mom once said of Atlanta’s favorite consumer expert. “You should see him with his brothers. He’s my baby. He’s not famous around them!”
Joy and the late Bernard Howard’s other children are Jackie, Gary, Neal and Clark Howard.
Joy had a love for her friends, travel and serving the Atlanta Jewish community. She was first (and only) woman president of the Atlanta Jewish Home for the Aged and she helped to organize and found the Temple Couples Shelter in 1984.
Per her wishes, Joy’s remains were cremated. A memorial service is being held for family and friends at The Temple on Peachtree street at 3 p.m. today (June 7).
Joy was born May 13, 1924, the youngest of Frank and Gussie Garson’s three children. Growing up in downtown Atlanta, Joy attended the 10th Street School and then Girl’s High. After a year at Larson Junior College in New Haven, Conn., Joy returned to Atlanta and was introduced by her best friend, Ramona Freedman, to a young Army Lieutenant, Bernard Howard, who was stationed at Fort McPherson. They married on Dec 3. 1942.
In the 1980’s she and Bernie, as he was known, opened a decorator’s showroom at Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC) called Howard Unlimited.
In the early 1990’s, Joy went on to work at her friend Shirley Blaine’s travel agency, Age of Travel, before finally retiring in her 70’s. Joy visited every continent except Antarctica.
Widowed in her mid-60’s, Joy went on to find love two more times. Her second husband, Sonny Kunian, died in 1997. In 2009 she married Art Chase, whom she’d met at Parc at Buckhead, the elegant high-rise for seniors behind Phipps Plaza.
Over meals in the dining room, Joy and Art discovered a shared love of travel. Then he started riding the elevator to her floor to “pick her up” before dinner. Soon he was escorting her back to her place afterward.
“We just gravitated toward each other, ” Joy said at the time.
Eventually the two decided they’d prefer to live as one and family and friends gathered in Parc’s second-floor card room to transformed into a wedding hall.
Art’s daughter Cynthia Chase walked with him down the aisle. Joy was escorted by her four children, who walked arm-in-arm with their mother.
“It’s never too late to fall in love,” read their wedding invitations, created by Jackie Howard, owner of the high-end stationery shop Paces Papers.
“The two of you are absolute evidence of that,” said Rabbi Alvin Sugarman, The Temple’s rabbi emeritus, who officiated the sweet ceremony. “It’s always such a joy to marry a couple of young kids.”
Art Chase died in 2011.
Over the years, “Nonnie,” as she was known to her grandchildren and great grandchildren, made a strong impact in different ways in each of their lives. She was generous with family, friends, and – to an extraordinary degree – with strangers in need.
Joy was also preceded in death by her mother, father and brothers, Arthur and Dan Garson.
In addition to her children she is survived by grandchildren Adam, Miles, Heather, Samantha, Ross, Todd, David, Rebecca, Stephanie and Grant; and great grandchildren Jacob, Zack, Danielle, Erin, Gabe, Morgan, Allison, Sloane, Rachel, Simone, Sydney, Gillian and Jonathan. She also is survived by her sister-in-law, Charlotte Garson.
Joy also had a special place in her heart for her grand daughter-in-law, Courtney Slutzky, her caregiver, Karen Poole, and her personal trainer of over 15 years, Tamara Mathias, each of whom took great care of her in her later years.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the William Breman Jewish Home “Bernard Howard Memorial Fund” in her honor or to the charity of your choice. As she always said, “it doesn’t matter where you give, just give.”