Scholarship Honors Friend

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By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Tuesday, January 2, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

David Witham, left, a former WHS student, donated a new scholarship to the school recently. Also pictured, from left, are Brenda Silvi, Mary Myers, Dennis Kepner, Doran Morford and Sue Brooks.
[Photo by Jackie Ricciardi]

HAMPTON -- A Massachusetts man has set up a memorial scholarship for his longtime friend who died two months ago after a five-year battle with cancer.

David Witham, owner of the Bar Harbor Inn and other properties in Maine, set up the scholarship with the Winnacunnet Scholarship Foundation in memory of Richard "Dick" Joy.

Joy was a resident at Hampton Beach who passed away on Oct. 27 at the age of 74.

"Dick was a really good friend and he was always involved in mentoring the youth in the community," Witham said. "I thought this would be a fitting tribute, to have a permanent scholarship to keep his legacy alive."

Joy's daughter, Brenda Silvi, said the scholarship is a fitting tribute to her dad who spent his retirement years living at the beach coaching youth hockey, and working at the Seacoast Learning Collaborative and the Stratham Village Academy.

"My father loved Hampton Beach and that is why I think it's wonderful the scholarship is going to students at Winnacunnet High School," Silvi said. "My father spent his childhood here and that's why he wanted to retire here. He loved the ocean and loved the beach."

Witham said he donated $100,000 to the memorial fund with the hope that it would generate interest in the amount of $5,000 each year to be used for the scholarship.

He set up a similar scholarship at Northern Essex Community College in memory of another longtime friend, Edward Sheehan.

Dennis Kepner, of the Winnacunnet Scholarship Foundation, said this was one of the more "substantial donations" that the foundation has received. The foundation currently distributes roughly 45 scholarships a year but this is only one of three in which the recipient can receive it for each of their four years in college.

The only stipulations are that the student must be in financial need and a participant in the youth hockey program.

Silvi said her dad, who worked in the computer division of Honeywell and Damon Engineering in Needham, Mass., before retiring to Hampton Beach, loved working with students and helping them succeed.

Sadly, Joy became well-known in the media not for his work with students but from his job working as a part-time toll-booth worker at the Hampton Toll Plaza on Interstate 95.

On Sept. 5, 2000 Joy was struck by a car that four teens from Andover, Mass., had stolen.

Silvi said that her father spent several months recuperating from injuries including a dislocated right kneecap, broken bones in his left ankle and a gash on his lower left leg.

"When my father went to the sentencing of the juvenile who was driving the car he forgave him," Silvi. "That was they type of man my father was."

Anyone interested in setting up a memorial scholarship can contact Dennis Kepner at (603) 926-3051 or via e-mail at Those who wish to contribute to the Dick Joy Memorial Scholarship can do so by mailing Susan Brooks, 7 Hilda Drive, Hampton, 08342.

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