In Memory of




Obituary for Joy Ann Iaquinta

In the symphony of life, our beloved Joy Ann (Hladish) Iaquinta played her final note unexpectedly on December 14, 2023, casting a crescendo of sorrow upon our hearts. After a year that could rival a rollercoaster, she departed her earthly stage after 71 years, leaving behind a legacy as vibrant as the melodies she once played.

Joy's journey began on June 25, 1952, in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Born to Carl and Helen Hladish, this musical maestro mastered the piano, piccolo, and organ, serenading her community. By age fourteen, she became a member of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony (MYS) and the Northwest Chamber Ensemble in Chicago, Illinois. These affiliations led to international performances in Germany, England, Holland, and France. But the highlight of her young travels was a solo performance with the MYS at the 1968 World’s Fair in San Antonio, Texas. Joy attended Big Foot High School class of ‘70, Walworth, Wisconsin. Joy often spoke about the late concert pianist, Jane Elizabeth Palmer, one of her revered teachers. Joy attended Carroll College, Waukesha, Wisconsin, where she received a four-year music scholarship and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music (class of ‘74). College was also when she would meet her future husband of 34 magical years, Joseph Iaquinta. Joy also studied music composition at the prestigious University of Indiana School of Music and the University of Minnesota.

Joy turned her musical knowledge and skills into a notable career, spreading her love of music and the arts far and wide, as a music educator and performer, both in Wisconsin and New Hampshire. She left her mark at many elementary and junior high schools in Wisconsin teaching music awareness, creative movement, musicology, choir, and beginning orchestra programs. In New Hampshire, she sparked the joy of music in young minds at the Presentation of Mary School in Hudson, Infant Jesus School, and offered private, in-home lessons in voice, piano, and flute.

Joy was an avid theater buff, a passion she shared with her husband. Working closely with the Peacock Players, Actor Singers Junior, and Fairgrounds Middle School. She then worked for several years with the Nashua School District as a paraprofessional at Fairgrounds to continue her compassionate legacy of helping young minds flourish. Joy shared her gifts with over 23 churches in the Nashua area and played with the Nashua Chamber Orchestra, New Hampshire Philharmonic, Merrimack Valley Flute Choir, and was a part of the Eclectic Woodwind Quintet. She was known to moonlight as a percussionist as needed and accompanied many high school musical and ballet class/concert scores.

Beyond the stage, Joy lived a full life and did not let the hardship’s life sent her way slow her down. Not many could say they were in a near fatal automobile accident and still take on the world for the next 45+ years. She was a cheerleading coach, a skiing enthusiast with tales of adventures at Steamboat Ski Resort in Colorado, a cake-writing champion at Carvel Ice Cream Bakery, a prominent member of Mothers of Twins, and a race car driver. Her love for Volvos was only rivaled by her prowess in cribbage though we all know her son John is the unequivocal victor. Her talents were as diverse as her spirit.

Joy’s warm smile, giving heart, and caring nature left a lasting impact on those fortunate enough to interact with her. It would be remiss not to say that she loved fiercely and gave selflessly. Even when she had nothing, she gave everything. She will be missed tremendously for the way she sang everything, how contagious her excitement was, her infectious laugh, and her adorable facial expressions. She gave the best hugs, always added a little back scratch, and made sure you left with something. Joy was a woman you could always rely on when in need and could sit and talk with for hours. She enjoyed spending time with her friends, going out to eat, and pampering herself when possible with a manicure and pedicure. She loved late night shopping trips (you know the ones we are talking about!) and rewatching snap chats of her silly grandchildren.

As a candle connoisseur, Joy lit up not just rooms, but hearts, finding courage and strength in her faith. She was a fierce believer in God and spent much of her life serving the divine with her kindness and musical talent. Her warm smile, generous heart, and caring nature resonated with all lucky enough to cross her path. She was MiMi, the "Mimster," to her five grandchildren, creating memories that will stay in their hearts forever. Joy spent as much time as she could with her children and grandchildren. Games they loved playing together included Wits and Wagers, Mexican Train Dominoes, and Trivial Pursuit. She also loved to entertain and taught her family the art of proper table setting. Joy was a master multitasker and always had a full calendar. As parents Joy and Joe taught each of their children and grandchildren that hard work is important, treating people kindly is imperative, and to never give up. A common motto at the Iaquinta house was “pain is my friend” as Joy powered through constant pain - she turned it into a life lesson that became a mantra.

Joy is now reunited with her loved ones who preceded her in death, her husband, Joseph Iaquinta, her son, David Iaquinta, her parents, Carl and Helen Hladish, and her mother-in-law, Mary Iaquinta.
In addition to her beloved father-in-law, Dr. Frank E Iaquinta, survivors include son and caretaker John Iaquinta of Nashua, NH, daughters Helena and Samantha Iaquinta of Manchester, NH, and Deborah Adedokun of Columbia, SC; her grandchildren, Cameron, Max, Gabriel, Francesca, and Josefina; her loving brother, Mark Hladish, and his wife, Gretchen; her brothers and sisters by marriage and their spouses, Anthony and Lynne, Frank and Sharon, Catherine, Michael, Lynn, and Mary Anne. Joy's nieces and nephews meant the world to her, and she took great pride in watching them grow; Marky and Annie, Courtney, Zeven, Colton, Antonia, Mario, Gina, Frankie, Lauren, Jessica, Brien, Jackie, Christian, Jenna, and Julia.

Joy leaves behind a network of close friends and relatives who will forever cherish the memories they shared with her. She always spoke about how blessed she was to have you all in her life and knew how loved she was. Please know that her children greatly appreciated each and every one of you for elevating our mother’s quality of life by caring for her so deeply. It really does take a village and Joy’s village was one of the best!

Joy’s life was filled to the brim with love because of all the many people who cared about her and made it as such. We would love for you to continue to share your memories of her so we can pass them down to her grandchildren and keep her amazing legacy alive. You can add to the comments on this page or on Helena’s Facebook page. Thank you all for being a part of her story, she will never be forgotten!
We have all gained a new angel on our shoulders. May Joy's spirit continue to bring light to our lives, and may her smile and fortitude be a source of comfort during this unbelievably difficult time.

SERVICES: A memorial service will be held at Community Chapel, 5 St Laurent Street in Nashua, NH 03064 on Saturday, January 27th at 11am EST. In lieu of flowers, let the music play on by making donations to The Nashua Chamber Orchestra or the Merrimack Valley Flute Choir in Joy's honor.