Mary Joanne Curnutt, the daughter of Verne David and May (Stouffer) Curnutt, was born November 8, 1927, in Fairfax, Missouri. Joanne attended Rock Port High School, Rock Port, Missouri, graduating in 1945. She then attended Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa, receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Music in 1949. Joanne then attended Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, where she received her Master’s degree. On July 31, 1961, Joanne performed the Solo Recital requirement which granted her the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Rochester Eastman School of Music, Rochester, Minnesota. She studied organ under Dr. Finn Videro, Marie-Claire Alain, and David Craighead.
Joanne was employed by the school of music at North Texas State University, Denton, Texas. She also established a School in Music in Temple, Texas, where she practiced and taught with instruments worth nearly one million dollars. Joanne was a Fulbright scholar for three years in musicology and organ at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. She practiced every day for five to six hours and attended different performances by French, German, Austrian, and Danish organists.
During the summer months, Joanne would travel to Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands by bicycle, so she could stop to see and play every historical instrument that she could find. By the second and third years in Copenhagen, she spoke fluent Danish which eased her participation in concerts around other parts of Denmark. After returning to America, Joanne was an organ consultant and a professional translator of Danish and German technical literature.
Joanne performed concerts in numerous other locations including the Cathedral Church, Queens College at Oxford University, and the Boston Avenue Church United Methodist, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Besides her passion for music, Joanne had a deep love for animals. She enjoyed watching and received joy from the turkeys, birds, and deer that came to visit her outside her window in her final days. She especially loved her cat, Charlie. Joanne passed away February 5, 2022, in Rochester, at the age of 94.
Besides her parents and brother, Dean Curnutt, Joanne was preceded in death by aunts, Anna and Lucille Stouffer.
A memorial service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, November 22, 2022, at Minter Funeral Chapel, Rock Port. Friends of Joanne are welcome to stay and reminisce after the service, Tuesday. There is no visitation prior to the service. Inurnment will be held at Prairie Home Cemetery, Graham, Missouri. Memorials may be directed to Prairie Home Cemetery, Graham. Arrangements are under the direction of Minter Funeral Chapel, Rock Port. Online condolences can be made at www.minterfuneralchapels.com.