Joan Ethel Norvill Harper


Joan E. Harper

Joan Ethel Norvill Harper was born on Oct. 30, 1935, in Liverpool, England, where she lived until shortly after she married. 

She died on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, in a local health care facility.

As a student, she earned an academic scholarship to attend the Belvedere School for Girls in Liverpool from which she graduated with High Honors. Following graduation, she studied pharmacy. She met and married Herbert C. Harper, who was serving in England with the United States Air Force. Shortly after their marriage, they moved to the U.S. In 1961, Joan became a naturalized citizen. She was a devoted, loving citizen of her newly adopted country.  Through the years as an Air Force wife, Joan was active in the NCO Wives Club and served as a volunteer in the Air Base Chapel Ministry.

After her husband's retirement from military service in 1970, the couple and their three children moved to Cleveland. They continued to participate in Air Force activities, and the annual reunions which they attended became an avenue to form new friendships of fellow veterans and their families. 

She was a warm and outgoing individual and quickly made many new friends in and around the Cleveland area. Her life was one of service as she became one of the first volunteers to the new Head Start Program in Bradley County. She also volunteered for the newly-established Help Line Ministry and served on the board of The Cleveland Bradley County Food Bank. 

As a member of the Anglican faith, she joined Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, where she was active in the Episcopal Church Women, Caring and Sharing Ministry, and the Altar Guild. She was instrumental in starting the Saint Luke’s Prayer Chain Ministry, which she led for approximately 20 years.

She always had an affinity for the fine arts and joined the Cleveland Creative Arts Guild through where she participated in several dinner theatre productions. She was an active member of the Cleveland Guild of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Association. She was a charter member of both The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga and Cleveland’s Museum Center at 5ive Points.  During the many years after departing her beloved homeland, she was an active member of the Transatlantic Brides and Parents Association (TBPA). She communicated with many expatriates via the Internet and was instrumental in forming The Brit Pack Association. This group provided an opportunity for many British nationals living in the U.S. to meet and share in their heritage while living abroad. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Irene and Arthur Norvill of Huyton. 

She is survived by her husband of almost 61 years, Herbert C. Harper of Georgetown; daughter, Suzanne Curtis and husband, Edwin; son, Ian Harper and wife, Lisa, of Cleveland; son, Keith Harper of Red Bank; her adored grandchildren: William and Emma Curtis of Knoxville; Kate Harper of Chattanooga; and Allie Harper of Chicago, Ill.; sister, Doreen Anderson of Moreton, U.K.; cousins: Edward Bestwick, Frank Doran, Sandra Fitzsimons, all living in the U.K.; and many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.

A visitation and reception will be held at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall on Thursday, Oct. 12, at 3 p.m. with a memorial service to follow in the church at 5 p.m. 

The interment of ashes will take place following the service in the Saint Luke’s Memorial Garden. The Rev. Doctor Joel Hufstetler will officiate.

The family  expresses its sincere thanks and appreciation to the many caregivers at Clare Bridge of Cleveland, Bradley Healthcare and Rehab Center in Cleveland, and Hearth Hospice of Chattanooga for their devoted and loving care of Joan. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The Saint Luke’s Memorial Fund or Alzheimer’s Association.

Companion Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


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