Joy Harder Browne died gently and peacefully at the Shangri-La Rehab Center, Blue Springs, Mo., Sunday, January 24, 2010. She was surrounded by her children, her hand held by Edwin, the love of her life and husband of 66 years.

Joy Harder Browne died gently and peacefully at the Shangri-La Rehab Center, Blue Springs, Mo., Sunday, January 24, 2010. She was surrounded by her children, her hand held by Edwin, the love of her life and husband of 66 years.

A celebration of Joy’s life will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday March 27, 2010, at the Stone Church, 1012 W. Lexington Avenue in Independence.

In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions to Outreach International, P.O. Box 210, Independence, MO 64051-0210.

Joy was born June 10, 1916, in Flint, Mich., the first of Howard and Zella Harder’s four children. Her mother a musician, Joy’s own musicianship was developed early in life. By the age of 15, she was asked to be organist at the historic Stone Church in Independence, Missouri. After graduating as Valedictorian from William Chrisman High School, she enrolled in Graceland College where she received the Gold Seal for scholarship. She went on to receive her bachelor’s degree with honors at Northwestern University and her master’s at UMKC. Joy and Ed were married in 1944. Joy was a faculty member at Graceland in the early years of their marriage, until they moved to Lawrence, Kan., where they raised their four children. She continued as a music educator, teaching piano in the home while the children were young, eventually taking a position as the Elementary Music Coordinator for the Lawrence School District. A lifelong, devoted member of the RLDS/Community of Christ church, Joy taught church school classes, facilitated workshops and retreats, led countless choirs, served as organist and held the office of elder. As a young woman, Joy was ahead of her time in many ways, not only as an accomplished professional, but as an equal partner with her husband, a civil rights activist and an avid student of nutrition. Her leadership in community service included serving as president of the Lawrence PTA, vice president of the Kansas Congress of Parents and Teachers and member of the Lawrence League for the Practice of Democracy. In 1971, Joy and Ed returned to Independence to stay. At this time, Joy took the position of Elementary Music Supervisor for the North Kansas City Schools until her retirement in 1986 at the age of 70. In the meantime, Joy and Ed built the home of their dreams in the community of their dreams, where she lived until the last two months of her life. Joy was a loving mother, devoted wife and caring friend. She loved God with all her heart and carried a sweet and gentle spirit, which was a blessing to all who knew her. In the last hours of her life, her amazing smile and loving spirit led the way, even to the end.

Joy is survived by her husband R. Edwin Browne, of the home; son Roy E. Browne and wife Gina, Independence, Mo.; daughter Ruthann Siebert and husband John; son Jim Browne and wife Donna; daughter Nancy Browne Eisler, all of Blue Springs, Mo.; eleven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Arrangements: Speaks Suburban Chapel, Condolences may be sent to the family at www.speakschapel.com.