Joan Harrison Ceo
1935 - 2015
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Joan Harrison Ceo, born Aug. 13, 1935, died Jan. 7, 2015, in her 80th year, at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. Was operated on for pancreatic cancer on Oct. 10, 2014, at Massachusetts General Hospital. She died of a heart attack.
Joan was the third child of Frank Harrison and Mabel Tysver Harrison, in Washington D.C. Older siblings were Byron Harrison and Mary Louise Murphey (both deceased). Married to Joseph Ceo Aug. 1961 in D.C. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. She was an honors graduate of Catholic University of America, D.C., where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1959. Joan began study of the harp at age 8 with William Cameron of the U.S. Navy band and later with Sylvia Meyer of the National Symphony. She undertook special studies with Carlos Salzedo, internationally renowned harpist, in Camden, Maine.
Joan was a professional harpist who had a considerable career in classical music. She performed in the National Symphony of Washington D.C. on a State Dept sponsored tour of Central and South America in 1959. Subsequently she performed with Symphony Orchestras in Baltimore, Orlando, Lexington and Hartford. She also played the Connecticut Opera with notables Pavarotti & Bocelli and was principal harpist with the Hartford Symphony for 29 years, retiring in 2007. Joan also played as principal harpist with the Washington Ballet Orchestra in multiple productions of the Nutcracker Ballet (1974-2009) in several theaters in Washington D.C.
Joan was the harp professor at the University of Kentucky, URI, RIC and Salve Regina in Rhode Island, and Wellesley College in Mass. She performed numerous concerts with husband Joe in the U.S. and in Norway, Italy, England and Germany. She was also The Chorus of Westerly harpist for 50 years including Twelfth Night for 35 years.
Besides husband Joseph, she is survived by Stephen Harrison, nephew, of Silver Spring Md. and wife Lisa Harrison; Nancy Wood, niece, of Rockville, Md. and husband David; Lisa Murphey, niece, of Memphis, Tenn.; and Lowell Murphey, nephew, of Quantico, Va.
Joan was a member of Christ Episcopal Church, Westerly, R.I., where she served on the Vestry and the Arts Commission.
Family and friends will be received on Friday, Jan. 16 at the Buckler Johnson Funeral Home in Westerly, R.I. from 4-7 p.m. Funeral services will held at Christ Episcopal Church, Westerly, R.I. at 2 p.m. on Jan. 17. A private interment will be held on Jan. 20 at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter R.I. at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Christ Church, 7 Broad St, Westerly R.I. 02891.

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Published in The Westerly Sun from Jan. 14 to Feb. 4, 2015.
04:00 - 07:00 PM
Funeral service
02:00 PM
Christ Episcopal Church
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Memories & Condolences
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27 entries
February 8, 2015
Dear Joe, I am distresed to hear of the passing of Joan. I have such fond memories of both of you when you were at UK. Joan played harp for several Women's Glee Club concerts..a pleasure to work with her. I've missed you and Joan...two fabulous musicians and human beings. Heartfelt sympathy.
Sara Holroyd
February 7, 2015
Dr. Ceo, you and your beautiful wife will always be remembered with love and respect from your years with us in CKYO. Mrs. Ceo's smile, kindness, and amazing musicianship live on in our hearts. I am so very sorry for your loss.
Mary Ogletree
Mary Ogletree
February 7, 2015
Dear Joe,
I'm sorry - Joan was lovely and I know you'll miss her. Thinking about you at this time.
Suzanne Pendley Dillard
Suzanne Dillard
January 30, 2015
Dear Joe, It was 25 yrs. ago that Joan played at my and Gary's wedding. I'll never forget her and we are so very sorry.
Connie Dowrye
January 23, 2015
My heartfelt condolences to the family during this time of sorrow. (1Corinthains 15:26) (Isaiah 61:1,2) Please find peace in knowing that He understands your grief and He cares. 1 Peter 5:6, 7
January 19, 2015
Will be remembering you both in my prayers, Dr. Ceo. Fond memories of being at the house, working on your viola d'amore book, listening to Joan practicing. I've always loved the harp, and it was a joy to hear her.
Paula Bourdon Warner
January 18, 2015
Joan was a wonderful, warm person. I will miss her dearly and my thoughts are with you Joe.
Jim Pinkerton
January 18, 2015
Dear Joe,

I am so sorry for your loss. It has been such a privilege to know you both.
James and I were so fortunate to have you visit us in our home.
You and Joan will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Debra Linton
January 16, 2015
Joan had a smile that would brighten any room. Her dedication to musical performance and to the education of her students made such a difference in our lives. Her hard work and brilliant performance brought pleasure to so many of us. May she rest in peace. We shall miss her.
Ora Wry
January 16, 2015
Oh My, I thought Joan would live forever as she will in my heart. When I was very young, "Mrs Ceo" changed my life forever. She gave me the courage to go on and become who I was destined to be. Music will always be a big part of my life and because of her I learned discipline, love and forgiveness. She was a Godsend. God Bless You Joe forever and ever. Amen With love to you, Maryanne Illman

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January 16, 2015
Maryanne Illman
January 16, 2015
Dr Dr. Ceo,
I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful wife, Joan. I have the most wonderful memories of being together at many many concerts. I can still recall the delight in the faces of the children in the front row of the Chorus Building when The Waltz of the Flowers would begin and Mrs Ceo would execute the beautiful glissandos. You and Mrs Ceo have always been a great source of support to me and my family. I am sending our love and friendship.
Laurette & David Vitello
January 16, 2015
Dear Joe, I am so sorry about Joan's passing. Mom considered you both wonderful colleague and friends. Over the years she shared many wonderful stories about gatherings in you home. She admired both of you for your musical excellence.Joan has left a wonderful legacy and was always gracious and cheerful.Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Sincerely,
Carol Langdon Kohankie, Flower Mound, TX
Carol Langdon Kohankie
January 15, 2015
Oh My, I thought Joan would live forever as she will in my heart. When I was very young, "Mrs Ceo" changed my life forever. She gave me the courage to go on and become who I was destined to be. Music will always be a big part of my life and because of her I learned discipline, love and forgiveness. She was a Godsend. God Bless You Joe forever and ever. Amen
January 15, 2015
Joan was a bright light in our music community. We will miss her dearly. Deepest sympathy to her family.
Elssa Green
January 15, 2015
Aunt Joan, you will be so missed. See you tomorrow Uncle Joe. Nancy
January 14, 2015
Dear Joseph and Family: So very sorry to hear of the loss of Joan. She will be sorely missed by all. With deepest sympathy, Larry and Kay Hirsch
January 14, 2015
Uncle joe,
So sorry for your loss and sorry I couldn't make it this weekend. Hope to see you in the near future.
Love Paige
January 14, 2015
I can hear Joan's exuberant voice whenever we talked on the phone, picture her charm and delight in so many things. We met 50 years ago when she became my harp teacher and long-time friend, along with Joe, to my family. I have always regarded her as a jewel in my life—forthright, encouraging, talented, and one of a kind. Such a grand person.My heart is with you, Joe.
Beth Surdut
January 14, 2015
Our deepest heartfelt sympathy to Joe and family.
Leinhaas Family
January 14, 2015
Dear Mr.Ceo, I will never forget you both. I'm so sorry that you lost your best friend. My thoughts and prayers are with you now. Marcia
Marcia Lakomski
January 14, 2015
Heartfelt condolences to the family of Joan, and most especially Joe. Enjoyed Joan's wonderful music-making on her harp for many years. She will be sorely missed, but remain in our hearts always.
Noel Velasco
January 14, 2015
Our deep sympathy to the Ceo family
Nancy and Bob Schachner
Tucson Arizona
January 14, 2015
Dear Joe,
It was an honor and a pleasure to work with Joan for many years in the HSO and Ct Opera.I sat very close to her in the pit for the Nutcracker. Enjoyed both our conversations and her beautiful solos. So sorry for your loss. She was a lovely woman with a big heart.
Laura Kane
January 14, 2015
Dear Dr. Ceo so sorry for your loss. Joan has been in our thoughts with love...she was beyond a class act, a bright and shining star...
Francesca and Seth Wish
January 14, 2015
It was a privilege and an honor to know Joan and hear her play.
Joe: may you be left with the best of memories.
virginia wootten
January 14, 2015
Dr. Ceo, I'm so very sorry for your loss. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
Alice Bowser
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