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.
Published in The Westerly Sun from Jan. 14 to Feb. 4, 2015.