by | Nov 21, 2016 | Obituaries

Virginia Beach—Joyce Hofheimer Strelitz, Our Blithe Spirit—“Gila”—passed away peacefully without regret or fear at home on Saturday, November 5 in the presence of four generations of loving family.

Joyce was born January 9, 1932 to Lee and Margie Hofheimer in Columbus, Ohio, and was predeceased by her brother, Tommy, in 1985.

She married Leonard Strelitz in 1952, a pact that became a blessing to family, friends and community. Joyce and Leonard, along with Buddy and Arlene Strelitz, transformed Haynes Furniture Company into a wonderful business that enhanced the lives of employees, vendors and customers.

In 1965, Joyce and Leonard visited Israel and found their lives’ mission— service to, protection and strengthening of the Jewish people under siege in Israel and trapped in hostile Arab countries and Soviet Russia. A Renaissance woman, Joyce soon rose to the highest positions of leadership, also supporting local arts, education and healthcare, but remained humble, centered and down to earth.

Joyce was too modest to tell her own story. A gifted artist, musician, playwrite, athlete, and intellect. Depression baby selling popcorn at her father’s Indianola movie theatre. Valedictorian of Bexley High School and Connecticut College for Women—if not for a mid-senior year proposal from Dad, while diligently keeping the box score, at the Dodger-Yankee World Series. Always first to finish the Sunday Times crossword (in ink!) A silver life bridge master. A die-hard St. Louis Cardinal fan. An always frustrated, etiquette- obsessed, but still hole-in-one golfer. Her most joyful moment was early this year—her last trip to Israel to celebrate her 84th birthday accompanied by her kids and toasted by dear friends. Most of all, she taught us how to live and how to die.

Joyce is survived by her loving partner, Irving Hodies; her three children, Bonnie (David), Brian (Amy), and E.J. (Randi); along with her 10 wonderful grandchildren: Benjamin, Lauren, Genna, Sasha, Matthew, Talia, Ari, Nathan, Jacob and Jessica, and her newest great-grandchild, Eli.

Joyce’s family will forever remember the tireless compassion of Dr. Barbara Parks. In her honor, please contribute to the Joyce and Leonard Strelitz Memorial Fund at the Tidewater Jewish Foundation or the charity of the donor’s choice.

Funeral services were held at Ohef Sholom Temple, followed by interment in Forest Lawn. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Online condolences may be made to the family at