Michael Joyce passes away

Published: 30/12/2021

Michael Joyce, former Senior Managing Partner of Cooper and Tanner has sadly passed away at the age of 68. Michael had been seriously ill for the last few months; however his passing has come as a great shock to his family and all his friends and colleagues both past and present.

This coming year would have marked Michael’s 50th anniversary with Cooper and Tanner, that in itself is a remarkable achievement. He joined the firm in 1972 at the age of 18, directly after leaving school. He actually had a place to study law, but decided that a more rural career would suit him and so the legal profession’s loss was our gain. He then studied to become a chartered surveyor by postal course whilst working full time, and in due course became qualified as a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Fellow of the Association for Agricultural Valuers. Michael subsequently became a hugely respected land agent and livestock auctioneer whose expertise and experience was unrivalled in the region. Michael originally worked in our Castle Cary office before moving to the Frome branch, then based in North Parade. Each Wednesday Michael could be found on the rostrum in the old Frome cattle market, at that time held in what is now the town centre car park. When it was clear that the town centre market was no longer viable Michael was involved in helping to create the new cattle market at Standerwick, where he subsequently became the Senior Managing Partner of Cooper and Tanner and where he was based for the remainder of his working life.

As Senior Managing Partner, he played a central role in the ongoing growth and vitality of our firm, being at all times an astute, fair and inspiring leader to his fellow partners and colleagues. On retiring as a partner of Cooper and Tanner, Michael remained with the firm as a Senior Consultant, with his renowned levels of client service and extensive knowledge making him the ‘go to’ person for a vast range of agricultural projects and topics. All of us who worked with Michael, either directly and indirectly, benefitted from both his wisdom and gentlemanly conduct. Any firm or organisation is a reflection of those that lead it, those of us that work for the firm refer to Cooper and Tanner as having a friendly ‘family’ feel about it, particularly in comparison to other companies. The working atmosphere that we all enjoy is a direct reflection of the influence that Michael’s character, hard work and attention to detail played in creating the firm that we and the outside world recognise as Cooper and Tanner.

Apart from his demanding role with Cooper and Tanner he was also a Church Warden at Woodlands Parish Church and was involved over the years in numerous charity auctions and events as well as being a regular judge of Rotary public speaking competitions. On that last point Michael was as best placed as anybody to judge and advise on public speaking, he was a superlative public speaker and could speak on any topic without stumbling or recourse to notes. This included his passion for heraldry which led to the flagpole at Frome Market regularly displaying the correct flag on the correct day. In Michael’s office there is an extensive range of flags for which he had a very good supplier, in fact this supplier was so good that on the occasion of the Queen’s diamond jubilee, Michael had the unique flag for the day before it was even supplied to the Duchy of Cornwall’s estate! The Cooper and Tanner Christmas party was for many years brought to a close by Michael reciting the loyal toast including all of Her Majesty the Queen’s titles entirely from memory. As well as a livestock auctioneer Michael was for many years the antiques auctioneer for our Frome, Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet sale rooms. His interest in antiques led him to holding ‘antiques roadshow’ type events for local WI and other groups. He held the exalted position of cheese auctioneer for many years at the Frome Show, and anyone that witnessed this annual event knew they were in the presence of a truly magnificent and amusing auctioneer.

Michael was also chairman of Frome Livestock Auctioneers, operating the hugely successful livestock market at Frome. This in itself would be a full-time job for any other person; however, Michael was able to juggle this role with all the other demands on his time. He also held the chair position of Frome Fatstock Society and for many years was the principal announcer at the annual show as well as being master of ceremonies at the Fatstock Society  annual dinner. In these roles, as with every other aspect of his life, Michael was meticulous. This attention to detail extended to his own personal appearance, those of us who knew him would attest to the fact that he was never less than immaculately presented. One of Michael’s colleagues of many years described Michael as ‘a man who suited every occasion with a suit for any occasion’.

For those of you reading this who may not have had the privilege of meeting Michael, I would want to convey to you that he was a man who had a superb and dry sense of humour, often entirely able to see the funny side of events whilst keeping a straight face. All of us who worked with him would at some point have had tears of mirth in our eyes when Michael regaled us with a story or two from his years of working in the agricultural sector and some of the characters and experience that he had encountered in that time.
Michael was a fully committed and devoted family man who was recently delighted to become a doting grandfather. He passed away at the Bath RUH on Sunday the 26th of December, surrounded by his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his widow Allyson, his daughters Lucy and Jessica and his granddaughter Daisy.

Thank you, Michael, for all that you did and the example that you gave. Those of us that had the privilege of working with you over the past fifty years will miss you very much.
Quintyn Howard-Evans, Senior Managing Partner, Cooper and Tanner.