Joan A. (Walker) Keefe, 84, of Deep Spring Rd., Earlville, NY, passed away Thursday, November 14, 2013 at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse.
She was born April 5, 1929 in Pontiac, MI, a daughter of Edwin W. and Virginia Arnold Walker. During her childhood, Joan resided in several locations including Dearborn, Michigan, Kenmore, NY and Manhassett, Long Island before finally settling in Earville NY. She was a 1947 graduate of the Earlville High School and continued her education at the Crane School of Music, Potsdam, NY, graduating in 1951 with a B.S. Degree in Music Education. On July 28, 1951, Joan married Richard L. Keefe at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hamilton. He predeceased her on April 30, 1985. Joan was a music teacher in the Hamilton Central School for six years, briefly taught in the Edmeston Central School district and then at the Sherburne-Earlville Central School for 22 years until retiring in 1989. Joan started and instructed countless beginner musicians over the years. She was a talented, artistic and vibrant person who loved music, enjoyed horticulture and cherished nature and its magnificence. She also had strong artistic ability and interest in the fiber arts and her exquisite wool hooked rugs are pieces of fine art that have been on public display and now grace the homes of many of her friends and loved ones. She was one of the founding members of the Sherburne Music Theater Society where she directed 25 productions beginning in 1967. Joan also directed High School musicals in Hamilton and Edmeston. Later on she became associated with directing Vaudeville, Gaslight Revues and Gilbert & Sullivan productions for the Earlville Opera House. Joan was the recipient of a number of community service awards. In 1980 she was the recipient of the Colgate University Civic Award, the Chenango County Council of the Arts “Lifetime in Arts Award” in 1985 and the Paul Harris Fellow Award from the Sherburne Rotary Foundation. For several years she had served on the Earlville Opera House Board, the Board of Directors of the Chenango Council of The Arts and helped found the Adirondack Chapter of the American Rock Garden Chapter. She also spent many hours as a volunteer and member of the Community Memorial Hospital Auxiliary in Hamilton.
Surviving are her children, Richard Keefe of Earlville; Kevin Keefe of Omaha, NE; James and Beth Keefe of New Berlin; Anne and Michael Caton, Laura and Thomas Fagan, all of Earlville; Rebecca Keefe of Cazenovia; Joan and Nathan VanDuser of Camillus; fourteen grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by a son, Daniel in 1961, a brother, Robert C. Walker, and a sister, Susan Samuel.
A Memorial Service will be held November 30, 2013 at the 1:00 p.m. at the Sherburne Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, 5 Classic Street, Sherburne, NY. There are no calling hours.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Earlville Free Library, PO Box 120, Earlville, NY 13332; The Community Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, Hamilton, NY ; or to the Sherburne-Earlville Teachers Assoc. Scholarship Fund, 15 School St., Sherburne, NY 13460.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Burgess & Tedesco Funeral Home, 25 Broad St., Hamilton, NY.