Martha Joyal


Born in Warwick, N.Y., Mrs. Martha Joyal (1923-2023) was the third youngest of 11 children. She enjoyed telling funny stories of growing up in a large family where frugality and helpfulness were practiced. She and her husband, Les, had one daughter, Ruth. Upon Les’ retirement, Martha moved to the Eastern Shore to Onancock, settling down in the area in which they had vacationed for many years.

Six short years into his retirement, Les died suddenly following routine surgery. Several years after Les’ death, their only child, Ruth, was diagnosed with cancer, and Martha returned to Warwick, N.Y. to care for her. As the cancer progressed, Martha brought Ruth to Onancock, where she cared for her until Ruth’s death.

In her years on the Shore, Martha was an active volunteer who contributed much to her community. Among her volunteer activities, she started a Medicare assistance program under the auspices of AARP for which she received a national AARP award. She served on the Onancock Town Council, and she was a longtime volunteer for the Eastern Shore Public Library. She volunteered with Virginia Cooperative Extension helping people with budgeting.  She was one of the founding volunteers of the Accomack Interfaith Crisis Council (AICC), which provides emergency assistance to persons in need. She was a long serving member of the selection committee for the Eastern Shore Habitat for Humanity, and she served as treasurer for several organizations including AICC and the Woman’s Club of Accomack County.

A long-term member of Market Street United Methodist Church, Martha worked on many volunteer projects to raise money for the community and abroad. She enjoyed doing crafts, making Christmas ornaments, making jam, and helping with the church’s bazaar. On many Thanksgivings, Martha helped fix dinner for the homeless at Lighthouse Ministries. Appropriately, Martha was previously honored by being recognized by the Accomack-Northampton Advisory Council as Volunteer of the Year.

Martha loved traveling and learning new things. She enjoyed playing mahjong weekly for over 10 years, working out at the YMCA, which she did well into her 90s, attending church activities, and spending time with friends.

Predeceased by her husband, Les, her daughter, Ruth, and her ten siblings, Martha served as an inspiration to many who admired her sense of humor, her positive outlook on life, and her generosity of spirit.

Martha requested that there be no funeral service. If friends wish to make a gift to honor her memory, contributions should be made to the Eastern Shore Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 1299, Exmore, VA 23350 or to Market Street Methodist Church, 75 Market Street, Onancock, VA 23417.

Memory tributes may be shared with the family at

Arrangements are by the Williams-Onancock Funeral Home.

Previous articleStewart Witherow
Next articleDaniel Credle