Joy Ferwerda, a Learning Disability Specialist in Disability Services at Springfield Technical Community College, was remembered as a kind and supportive friend to colleagues and students who made a meaningful difference. She passed away June 29 after a six-month battle with a rare form of cancer. She was 47.

Joy’s colleagues in Disability Services, Tara Sasser and David Forton, shared memories of Joy. They described her as a passionate and dedicated employee with a big heart who was committed to serving her students.

Vibrant and filled with energy, Joy would never tell her students goodbye or good luck. David and Tara recalled she would say, “I wish you well.”

Tara and Joy ran the soup kitchen together on campus. Tara saw Joy a week before she died and said her friend, a person of deep faith, was at peace.

“She was always willing to help to make life easier for somebody,” Tara said. “She would walk her student around. She wanted to make sure they had what they needed. She wasn’t afraid to stay late if she could help a student or show them where to go. She will be so missed by her students.”

Joy grew up in the Midwest and came to New England to attend Springfield College. She ended up staying in the area, getting married and putting down her roots. She joined STCC on Oct. 19, 2003, and left an indelible mark on those who worked with her and got to know her.

A memorial gathering will be held Wednesday, July 6, 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m., at Avery Street Church in South Windsor, Conn. A memorial service will be live-streamed at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday. To view the funeral, visit Read Joy’s obituary at MassLive.