Mrs. Colleen "Co" Camperi Thian passed away on November 7, 2013. She was born Wednesday, December 21, 1927, in Baton Rouge, LA to John (Giovanni) and Marie Vicaro Camperi. The beloved wife of Dr. Hewitte A. Thian, M.D., she is survived by three daughters: Helene Marie Thian, Marlene Thian and Charlene Thian Miller. She was preceded in death by her parents and husband. Colleen attended Louisiana State University where she graduated in Zoology and was a member of the Purple Jackets cheering squad. Throughout her lifetime, she was an active member of numerous cultural and civic organizations. She was a lover of Japanese culture, visiting Japan twice to exhibit her ikebana (Japanese flower arrangements), including at Daimaru department store in Tokyo. She was the past president of Ikebana International, Chapter No. 97 and a Master Teacher in the Sogetsu-Ha school of ikebana and held an advanced certification in the Ryusei-Ha school. She organized ikebana arrangements for the New Orleans Opera and created arrangements for social gatherings, special events and organizations such as Safari Club International, the New Orleans Museum of Art for "Art in Bloom" and for the solo show of famed artist Tadanori Yokoo at the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center. She was the first woman president of The Japan Society of New Orleans and was one of the four founding members of the Japanese Garden Society of New Orleans. Colleen hosted many Japanese visitors at her home for the Council for International Visitors (CIV) and managed the CIV office at the World Trade Center in New Orleans. She was also an active member of the New Orleans Opera Women's Guild and was a past Co-Chair for the New Orleans Opera Ball. In addition, Colleen was a past member of the New Orleans Opera Chorus and shared her love of the arts through her incredible musical gifts. A self-taught singer, pianist and accordion player, Colleen performed at social events, assisted living facilities and churches (St. Francis Cabrini and St. Pius X) to the joy of all. Her repertoire of songs and playlist spanned several decades, but she was most fond of Broadway show tunes and songbook classics. She was an active member of the Lake Terrace Property Owner's Association, serving as president, a member of the Lake Terrace Women's Club and Mercy Hospital's Women's Auxiliary. She penned sketches, painted watercolors, oil paintings and renderings of New Orleans shotgun houses. Colleen was a great admirer of contemporary design, mid-century modern architecture and was a cat lover. All who entered her kitchen were dazzled by her culinary talents, especially when it came to authentic Italian and Creole cuisine. Colleen was loved by all who knew her and by those who merely made her acquaintance. Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Mass at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 6600 Spanish Fort Boulevard, New Orleans, LA, 70122. She will be interred in a private ceremony at Roselawn Cemetery in Baton Rouge, LA. To view and sign the guest book, visit www.lakelawnmetairie.com.
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Published in TheNewOrleansAdvocate.com from Nov. 7 to Nov. 9, 2013