F. Joy Starita Koniak

August 29, 1930October 23, 2020

Joy Starita Koniak passed away after a lengthy and prosperous life on Friday October 23, 2020 shortly after her 90th birthday. Born on August 29th, 1930 in the Gulf Coast town of Bay St. Louis, she was the daughter of Italian Catholic immigrant, Benjamin Starita and his wife Laura Sardos Starita.

She was preceded in death by her parents as well as all her brothers and sisters Armina Starita, Benjamin “Benny” Starita, Jr., Josephine “Josie” Bankston, Louis “Louie” Starita, Lawrence “Skeet” Starita, Laura Ann Crow-Smith and Salvador “Foley” Starita.

She is survived by her loving husband of 59 years, Joe Koniak; her children Joseph Koniak, Jr. and Francie Koniak Russell (Chris); and seven grandchildren Elwyn, Alima, Emma and Delphine Koniak, and Greg, Matt and Laura Russell.

Raised with a bustling pack of siblings, Joy was the youngest of eight children, with whom she shared delightful playtime, family household tasks and other daily activities. And due to the wide age spread of the children, Joy’s upbringing was nurtured by the other kids in the family. In fact, her older sister Josie was commonly mistaken as her mom by the public, an error they often amusingly played off.

Joy graduated from St. Joseph Academy high school in Bay St. Louis in 1949 and, aspiring to sharpen her office skills, went on to further her education at Spencer Business College in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her diligent work paid off when she landed a job as a secretary at the Federal Bureau of Investigation first in New Orleans and later in Washington D.C., which was headed by the infamous J. Edgar Hoover at the time.

Another immense blessing was bestowed upon Joy while living in Washington D.C. – she met her husband to be! Joy’s sister Josie was also living in the city with her husband, Norman Keith, who drove a snazzy Lincoln Continental. Upon frequenting the auto repair garage, he met a charismatic fellow from Illinois named Joe Koniak, who boasted a Lincoln as his pride and joy, a symbol of the success he enjoyed rising from his youth as a farm boy to a computer system’s engineer for Univac.

Norman arranged a date between Joy and Joe, who immediately became enamored with one another. The rest is history – Joy Starita and Joe Koniak were married in 1961 in Alexandria, VA and enjoyed a dedicated, delightful and prosperous marriage for 59 years.

Following a further career transition, Joy and Joe Koniak moved to Louisville, Kentucky in the 1960s, where they aspired to purchase their own home and start a family. They initially resided in an apartment in the Hikes Point neighborhood and enjoyed work and the amenities of Kentucky’s largest city. In 1967, they adopted their son Joe Jr., a cheery and charismatic boy. Less than two years later in 1969, they adopted their blue-eyed, freckled-faced daughter Francie. Soon thereafter, they finalized the other part of their dreams, purchasing a brand new red brick, ranch-style house in the newly developed Douglass Hills area in eastern Louisville.

Joy nurtured her children with fierce dedication, carting Joe and Francie to sports practices and games, scout meetings and events, and nurturing their educational efforts at St. Margaret Mary elementary school, and Joe Jr.’s years at St. Francis Xavier High School and Francie’s at Sacred Heart Academy. And eventually, motivated Joe through a journalism degree at Western Kentucky University while Francie completed schooling at the University of Southern Mississippi. Joy was truly a testimony of a mother who was a cornerstone of the Koniak family.

Joy enjoyed crafting activities, such as needle point, churning out home cooked meals and a never-ending supply of delicious desserts, such as German chocolate cake, apple pie and, of course, bundt cake! When Joe Sr. arrived home from work, Joy never failed to have a delicious piping-hot meal prepared. And on most days, the family enjoyed meals together, saying grace then delving into the feast of the day, whether it was shrimp gumbo, fried chicken, spaghetti with meat sauce or any other fare of the day that Joy lovingly prepared.

Joy and Joe returned to the Gulf Coast to enjoy their retirement years, purchasing a gorgeous estate home in Biloxi, Mississippi, not far from where Joy grew up. For nearly 20 years, she spent time visiting and reconnecting with her extended family. Joy engaged in numerous social groups and was an active member of the Krewe of Venus (serving as Queen Venus XIV in 2004); the Red Hat Society; the Italian-American Society, the Gulf Coast Opera Salon, Coast Newcomers and St. James Catholic Church.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests gifts to St. Martha Catholic Church, 2825 Klondike Lane, Louisville, KY 40218.



  • Visitation

    Saturday, October 31, 2020

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Saturday, October 31, 2020

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F. Joy Starita Koniak

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Kelly Lehmann

October 30, 2020

It was a Joy and honor to be your Activity Director during your stay at ECH. I loved to come to work and make you smile. I will miss that smile.



F. Joy Starita Koniak, 90, of Bay St. Louis, MS and current resident of Louisville passed away on October 23, 2020.
She is survived by her husband of 59 years, Joseph Koniak; their children, Francie Russell (Chris) and Joseph Koniak Jr.; and 7 grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 am on Saturday October 31, 2020 at Saint Martha Catholic Church
2825 Klondike Ln. Louisville, KY 40218. Guests are invited to attend a visitation on Saturday October 31, 2020 from 8:30 am -10:00 am at Arch L. Heady & Son at Westport Village, 7410 Westport Rd, Louisville KY 40222.

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