Joy D. Gaudreau, a homemaker and writer, has died

Joy D. Gaudreau, a Baltimore native and homemaker who enjoyed writing, died Nov. 16 at the Arbor Trace retirement community in Naples, Fla., of complications after a fall. She was 92.

The only child of Arthur Barton MacGreal, a certified public accountant, and Jane Moffett, a schoolteacher, Joy Diane MacGreal was born in Baltimore and raised in Roland Park.

She was also granddaughter of the Earl of Abingdon of Wytham Abbey in Oxfordshire, England, her son said.

"Her father, a graduate of both Oxford and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, served as a major in World War I attached to the American Rainbow Division with Gen. Douglas MacArthur," said a son, Ken Gaudreau of Salisbury. "Her father was always called 'The Major.'

"After the war, her father maintained a CPA practice in Baltimore representing mostly restaurants, proudly maintaining his English citizenship throughout his life," her son said.

As a girl, Mrs. Gaudreau developed a lifelong appreciation for fine food.

"Due to her father's role of accountant to many fine restaurants, as a young girl she grew up thinking it was normal to dine at such five-star restaurants as Haussner's," her son said.

A 1942 graduate of Notre Dame Preparatory School, Mrs. Gaudreau declined a full scholarship to study journalism at the University of Missouri and, because of World War II, enrolled instead at what is now Notre Dame University of Maryland.

She later studied English and creative writing at the Johns Hopkins University while raising her family.

Mrs. Gaudreau was 16 when she met her future husband, David Lucien Gaudreau in the 1930s, at a dance while visiting a friend at Sherwood Forest in Anne Arundel County.

In 1946, she married Mr. Gaudreau, by then a civil engineer who had joined the architectural firm of his father, Lucien E. D. Gaudreau, as a project engineer.

He later established his own firm, D. L. Gaudreau Inc., specializing in the construction of nursing homes and institutional buildings.

Because she had spent her younger years eating in restaurants, the first thing Mrs. Gaudreau had to learn in her marriage was how to cook, her son said.

"She had a set menu that she used from Monday to Sunday, and while she was no Julia Child, she did master the many variations of Hamburger Helper," her son said with a laugh. "At Christmas, we had ham, less risky cooking than a turkey."

"In those days, the 1960s and 1970s, our grandmother lived with us and she was a fabulous cook and handled the cooking," he said. "When she passed away, my mother said, 'What do we do now?'

"Her favorite thing was going out," he son said, "and that continued until the end of her life."

Mr. Gaudreau died in 2011.

"During their 65-year marriage, they lived in homes built by her husband on Lake Avenue, Boxhill Lane and Piccadilly Road before settling on Chestnut Avenue in West Towson," her son said.

"Fiscally conservative and risk-adverse, they never had a mortgage, instead financing each house from the profit of the sale of the previous one," he said.

In addition to maintaining homes in Naples, where she wintered, she also had homes in Ocean City and Sherwood Forest, where she spent summers.

Mrs. Gaudreau returned to Sherwood Forest this summer and danced at the 100th anniversary celebration of the community, her son said.

Mrs. Gaudreau was a lifelong reader and was never without a book, her son said. She also enjoyed writing.

"She was a great wordsmith and a great writer. It was a gift," said her son, who recalled that during her children's school days, she was always "tweaking" their papers.

Mrs. Gaudreau enjoyed writing letters to the editors of The Baltimore Sun and the Naples Daily News.

She was also a longtime volunteer at the Naples Hospital Center.

A stylishly dressed woman who her son said was always "well-coordinated," Mrs. Gaudreau was an avid bridge player and theatergoer. She was also a season ticket holder to the old Morris A. Mechanic Theatre and the Naples Philharmonic.

She was a former parishioner of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Towson.

Mrs. Gaudreau was a communicant of St. Leo the Great Roman Catholic Church, 28290 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs, Fla., where a Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday.

Mrs. Gaudreau is also survived by two other sons, Bryan Gaudrea of Catonsville and Stephen Gaudreau of Fort Myers, Fla.; a daughter, Diane "Dee" O'Donovan of Fort Myers, Fla.; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

frasmussen@baltsun.com

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