Joyce Decker, Vienna Tiny Tots Village Founder, Dies


VIENNA, VA — Joyce Decker, an involved member of the Vienna community, died on Nov. 14 and has services this coming weekend.

Decker was born in 1930 and grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, New York, according to her obituary. She met her future husband Robert Decker when she was 19, and they moved to DC where he became a Metropolitan Police officer. In 1954, they bought a home in Vienna and grew to a family of seven.

Decker was a strong supporter of the Vienna Little League. Serving on the Vienna Baseball Foundation with Vienna Little League Founders, she fundraised to help grow the league and provide funds for fields. She was the first female trustee for Vienna Little League and received a “Lifetime Commitment to Excellence” award. The town inducted Decker into the Vienna Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 1968, she began a process to open a child care center in an abandoned home in Vienna. While she was working to get the building ready, her husband was struck by a car and took leave from work to recover. Nevertheless, she was able to open Vienna Tiny Tots Village, one of the area’s first private preschool and child care centers. The school has seen generations of children and employees, including her own younger children and later grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Vienna Tiny Tots Village closed in March 2021 after 53 years.

“To some, Joyce was the smiling face who greeted each child with a warm hug and took the time to talk to parents as they came in the door, to others she was a counselor who was always ready to listen and offer guidance and support,” the school said in a Facebook post about Decker’s passing. “Joyce loved the children in the care of her school and enthusiastically encouraged and followed their educational and personal growth, while at the school and beyond.”

Decker battled stage 4 cancer in 1978 and a traumatic brain injury in 2016, both of which she was not expected to survive. After beating cancer, she worked with the American Cancer Society Reach for Recovery program to support breast cancer patients in hospitals and in their homes.

Decker was known for her positive attitude and leading by example. She leaves behind a legacy for students, employees, her husband, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to strive to do their best. Decker was chosen as the Vienna Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year in 1994 and grand marshal of the 60th annual Vienna Halloween Parade in 2006.

She also had a love story for the ages, a 72-year marriage with her husband.

Decker is survived by her husband, Bob, their five children, seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Services will be held Saturday, Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. at St. Mark Catholic Church Vale Rd., Vienna, VA, followed by reception at same location. All are welcome to attend. The family requested in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Susan G. Komen or to St. Jude Research Hospital.

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