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Buffalo community comes together, celebrates the life of Joyce Wilson Nixon

At her service, Mayor Byron Brown announced that the city will rename an MLK Park building that she used to help young people in Buffalo.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The life of Joyce Wilson Nixon was celebrated on Saturday at True Bethel Baptist Church in Buffalo. 

She was the longtime executive director of the National Inner Cities Youth Opportunities program, known as N.I.C.Y.O. Wilson Nixon was a strong advocate for children.

At her service, Mayor Byron Brown announced the city will rename a building that she used to help young people in Buffalo.

"I asked the Buffalo Common Council to name the Martin Luther King Jr. Park Casino, the Joyce Wilson Nixon Casino. That was her place for more than 35 years," the mayor said. "This will serve as a permanent site of honor within the community she loved and served."

Joyce Wilson Nixon was married to former Buffalo Bill Jeff Nixon.

Mary Wilson, widow of former Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson also spoke at the service. "She inspires us to give back and as Ralph is inspiring this community to give back. The numbers that Joyce has touched, and Ralph has touched. I'm so lucky to have known both of them. She was always so gracious when I met her at alumni events."

Mayor Brown recalled how Joyce fought tirelessly to help secure funding for much needed youth programs, including the Randy Smith Basketball League and the Crusaders Drill Team, and often went to court with troubled youth, with the goal of working with them to find new ways to get them on a positive educational path or career path.

The Crusaders performed at the service.

Joyce had been an active member of the Fifty Women with a Vision community organization.

Joyce Wilson Nixon died after a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. She was 66 years old. 

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