May 1, 2012

Joan Dolores Furr

Joan Dolores Carpenter Furr was born March 26, 1931.  She grew up during the heyday of the American movie musical and she was heavily influenced by the musicals of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Deanna Durbin and Jane Powell.  She had a huge crush on singer/actor Dennis Morgan and learned the entire dialogue of several of his movies, which she would happily recite given the slightest chance.  But, it wasn’t Dennis Morgan who would show up later in her life, but Fred Astaire.  Joan was born with an eye for beauty, an ear for music, an appreciation for both, and terrific taste.  She was also born with a beautiful soprano voice that was so promising that she was admitted to the High School of Music and Art in New York City, where she studied vocal arts.  Joan was also a talented dancer.  She taught ballroom dancing at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio on Park Avenue in New York.  When Fred Astaire came to New York and visited the studio, Joan was his dance partner.  Along with her eye for beauty and beautiful voice, Joan was a beautiful woman.  She and her best friend, Liz MacRae, could stop traffic in New York City in the 1950’s.  They were part of the sophisticated and vibrant New York scene.  Joan loved New York then, and she frequented museums, opera, and Broadway shows.  During that time, Joan met pretty much every big film star in Hollywood.  She was a regular at Sardi’s, The Colony, the Four Seasons, Twenty-One Club, Danny’s Hideaway, and El Morocco.  It was an exciting time for her, but greater happiness would come later in her life.  Joan’s sense of style and taste extended into her surroundings and wherever she lived she transformed the space into a place of beauty.  Her love of design led her to The New School in New York where she completed a degree in interior design.  Joan and her sister Jane opened a successful business togehter on new York’s Upper East Side.  Joan did the design work, and Jane had the fun and challenge to do the actual work to bring her designs to life.  Then Joan’s life changed forever when her friend Liz MacRae invited her to Lincoln for a visit.  Liz introduced Joan and Houghton and it was obvious very quickly that they had fallen head over heels for one another.  They were a match made in heaven with their mutual love of music, art and travel.  Right from the beginning, they traveled the world, taking amazing trips to Africa, Asia and Europe, visiting their favorite city of Paris many times over the years.  When they weren’t traveling, they loved entertaining in their home.  Their home was filled with love, photo albums and mementos of their adventures together, beautiful things.  The food was always great because both Joan and Houghton loved to cook.  Joan also loved tennis and gardening.  When Houghton got sick, their travels came to a halt and there were a rough few years until Houghton’s death, but Joan stayed by his side.  A year ago, the family lost their sister Barbara.  Now, all too soon, they’ve lost Joan.  Wherever Joan is, she’s watching a classic movie, or redecorating, or listening to a Mozart piano concerto and turning the pages for Houghton.  She is survived by her Sister:  Jane Martin of Wilmington, DL.  Brother: Richard Roessle of Lincoln, Step-daughters and Spouse: Lynn Furr; Susan and Victor Shousha of Paramus, NJ.  Niece and Spouse: Joy and Brian Soudant of Wexford, PA.  Nephew: Michael Pacicca of San Francisco.  Grand nephew: Jackson Joseph Soudant, born January 31, 2012.  Joan was preceded in death by her loving husband Houghton Furr, her parents and her sister Barbara Pacicca.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 11:00 A.M. at Wyuka Funeral Home Chapel.

The family is requesting memorials in lieu of flowers to the Wounded Warrior Project in memory of Joan.  To contribute you can go to


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