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Joy Dickerson Aug. 20th, 1927 - Sept. 19, 2010

September 22, 2010

Joy E.M. Dickerson was born Aug. 20th, 1927, in Vancouver, Canada, and passed away Sept. 19, 2010, in Claremont from injuries she had suffered in a fall at her home Aug. 2.

A long-time resident of Laguna Beach, Joy attended the University of British Columbia after high school, but then followed her parents to Southern California in the early 1950s. After marrying, she took a hiatus from school to raise her daughter, Nancy, but eventually graduated from UC Irvine with a degree in economics. 

Over the next 20 years, Joy put her sharp mind for finance to work as a stock broker, real estate broker and insurance agent, and, in her late 40s, she went back to school again to pursue a law degree from Western State University. After earning her degree, she practiced law in Laguna Beach, specializing in estate planning.

Outside of her fulfilling career, Joy was an avid reader and life-long learner who took enrichment classes into her 80s. She also prided herself on reading the entire Wall Street Journal, along with several other publications, every day, and was renowned in her family for her "clipping service" on various topics of interest to her daughter and grandsons.

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When she was not working, Joy indulged her love for globe-trotting, and had visited many places around the world, including  Egypt, Hong Kong, Korea, Turkey, Greece, Australia, most of Western Europe and even once climbed Machu Picchu in Peru.

Back at home, Joy loved to dance, and tried whenever she could to attend jazz and other arts festivals around the state. Since moving to Laguna Beach in 1965, Joy was a tireless advocate for preserving the city’s unique natural beauty, and served over the years on many local committees to promote ecologically sound policies. In 1993, her house of nearly 30 years burned to the ground, along with hundreds of others, in the Mystic Hills fire. Despite the urging of her friends and family to avoid the stress of rebuilding and simply sell the property, Joy refused to leave, and directed the rebuilding of her home. As a vocal opponent of the "mansionization" of Laguna and surrounding areas, Joy proudly rebuilt her house on the same modest footprint it had been given in 1965. Her heart always belonged to Laguna Beach. 

She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Nancy and Owen Belletto of Alta Loma, Calif.; her grandsons, Steven Belletto, of Bethlehem, Pa., and James Belletto, also of Alta Loma; two nieces, Lara Zacny and Heidi Keimach; and a nephew, Graham Thompson.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you donate a few hours of your time or make a contribution to a charitable cause that would benefit Laguna, such as the Laguna Greenbelt.  A memorial service is planned for 10 a.m. Sept. 25, 2010 in the Sanctuary of Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest Ave.

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