With sadness and great joy we share the glorious news that Joanne Wertz Harvard, 83, has left her earthly bonds and was welcomed by the loving arms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to her heavenly home on Thursday, April 20, 2017. A memorial service is scheduled for 2:30pm on Thursday, April 27, 2017 at the First United Methodist Church of Roswell, New Mexico.
Joanne Harvard was born April 11, 1934 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the only child to Miles and Irene Wertz. Joanne spent her early years in Tulsa where she developed a love of music and public speaking. She started playing the piano when she was three years old under the guidance of her mother and her aunt, Claflin, both music majors, and was giving recitals before kindergarten. After a stint in Bunkie, Louisiana during her grade school years, the family moved to Corpus Christi where Miles and Irene bought a flower shop as a hobby/business for Irene. Flowerland quickly grew from a hobby to one of the largest florist shops in Corpus Christi. While still in high school, Joanne became the shop's chief designer and traveled around Texas acting as guest designer for floral workshops and flower shows. Even after leaving Corpus to attend The University of Texas in Austin, Joanne would still fly home to help with wedding parties and other large events and special functions.
During her senior year in high school, Joanne met her husband-to-be. Lee Harvard was attending Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas. Joanne started college at The University of Texas in Austin, Texas in 1952. Shortly after, Lee decided to transfer from Texas A & M to The University of Texas. They were married during the summer of 1954 while still in their junior and senior years of college. From their early days, Joanne and Lee loved to travel and entertain. They were long time members of Belles & Beaux Dance Club and loved listening to music together and dancing. Through their almost 63 years of marriage, Lee faithfully continued this act of love and devotion, even in Joanne's final days.
Never one to waste time, Joanne earned her BS degree in speech and hearing pathology at The University of Texas, graduating summa cum laude in 1955, in 3 ½ years. After graduation Joanne and Lee moved to Midland, Texas where Joanne worked as a speech and hearing therapist in the Midland School District. In August 1956, Lee's job with Sinclair Oil moved them to Roswell, New Mexico. Joanne took a job as the first speech and hearing therapist for the Chaves County School System. Since this was a new position, she was also made Assistant Superintendent of schools to justify her higher salary. Joanne also taught remedial reading and was over the special education for the district. With this added responsibility, Joanne visited all the county schools on a regular basis driving as far south as the school in Hope, New Mexico. In addition to teaching in the county schools, Joanne provided speech therapy on a private basis for school-aged children, young adults and other adult clients. Once Joanne and Lee started their family in 1960, she resigned from the county school system and solely practiced privately, often at the kitchen table as the boys played nearby. Through one of the Roswell Assistance League community outreaches, she was able to continue her love and passion as a speech and hearing therapist by conducting hearing tests for the RISD school children.
Joanne believed in giving back to her community and belonged to many organizations throughout her sixty-one years in Roswell. She served on many boards, including the American Association of University Woman, Roswell Assistance League, Red Cross, Petro Club, the American Cancer Society, Keep Roswell Beautiful, and Morning Garden Club, often as President.
Joanne had a wonderful eye for beauty and thoroughly appreciated the arts, music and her ever great creative outlet with flowers. She was an accomplished pianist and loved to perform, especially in her younger years. Joanne was blessed with many gifts and talents, including generous hospitality in hosting many social and community events in their lovely home. She graciously gave of all of these gifts to her family, church and community throughout her lifetime. She was a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church of Roswell where she contributed special flowers and arrangements for holidays for many years.
Joanne's well known love of flowers was, and still is, evident with her yard always filled with blooming plants. Even in the winter the flower beds were filled with her beloved bright pansies of different colors. Joanne, her family and many others were blessed when she was out looking at houses for Keep Roswell Beautiful awards and found the home of David Hughs. After awarding the Hughs home, she was also able to convince David to help take care of her yard as well. Since 1983, David has been a faithful friend and co-worker with Joanne as they created beautiful gardens and arrangements. Joanne also loved to help others with their yards; and in 1988, Harvard Designs, a landscaping design company, was founded. Through its efforts, she and David helped beautify many homes and businesses in the Roswell area. The family would like to express their love and sincere appreciation to David Hughs for his 34 years of friendship and service to Joanne, the family and so many others.
Joanne was predeceased by her parents and youngest son, Alan Clark Harvard. She is survived by her husband, Lee Harvard, son and daughter-in-law, Jeff and Jane Harvard and grandchildren, Jeremy Harvard and Julia Harvard. She is also survived by numerous Harvard family relatives. Joanne loved her role of mother to her sons Jeff and Alan---and was especially proud to be "Nana" to Jeremy and Julia.
The family would like to especially thank Ginny, Sheila, Josh and the entire staff at Heartfelt Manor, where she was a resident for the past three and a half years, for their most excellent care and love. Their loving care of Joanne has been such a blessing to the family as well as many others. The family would also like to thank Julie Adams for all her caregiving assistance and expertise over the years.
In lieu of flowers, Joanne can be remembered by memorials to the Cowboy Bell Scholarship Fund at First United Methodist Church, 200 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Roswell, NM 88201; Heartfelt Manor, 2210 E. Pine Lodge Rd., Roswell, NM 88201 or the charity of one's choice.