Joan Marie Naylor Neff, 87, died peacefully on November 7, 2023, in Taylorsville, Utah. Joan is survived by her husband of 68 years, Chamberlin Wayne Neff; her sons Lin (Carri) of Mesa, AZ; Wes (Laura) of Far Hills, NJ; daughter Diane (James) of Snohomish, WA; sons Jonathan (Susan) of Wenatchee, WA; Michael (JaNea) of Portland, OR. She is preceded in death by her father, William Naylor; mother, Twila Naylor; brothers William, Kenneth (Gloria), Gerald (Cynthia), grandson Gabriel Neff (Wes and Laura), and son-in-law James Schwartz.
Joan was born on November 1, 1936 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was raised there in the East Millcreek neighborhood and graduated in the first graduating class of Olympus High School in 1954. Joan and Wayne were married in the Salt Lake City LDS temple on December 16, 1955. They moved to Portland, Oregon for dental school in 1956 and returned to Utah in 1961. That same year they chose to return to the Pacific Northwest for orthodontic school in Seattle and then to Portland in 1963 where they settled down for the next 60 years. Through these years they raised 5 children, served in various LDS church callings, participated in many civic organizations, and traveled extensively with Joan’s choirs. Joan graduated from Portland State University in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance.
During Joan’s early years and well into her later life she sang. Joan’s musical talent is legendary. Her rich mezzo-soprano voice enriched, cradled, and uplifted all who heard her. She received a music scholarship to BYU after high school where she sang in choirs, musicals, and recitals. She performed at the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle, WA. She sang with the Oregon Repertory Singers for 20 years. She performed two recitals in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. She sang in countless recitals, performances, weddings, funerals, and church functions. Her last performance was at her brother Gerald’s funeral in September 2021.
Joan was a blessing to all who knew her. She was everyone’s friend as she was kind and full of love. She shared these talents in all circles of her life. She made everyone feel special. Her grandchildren (21) and great-grandchildren (19 so far) adored her. Her family, extended family, and friends were blessed by her goodness and generous, unconditional love.
The memorial service for Joan will be on Saturday, November 18, 2023, 10am, at the East Millcreek LDS building on 2702 E. Evergreen Ave in Salt Lake City. The family wishes to thank Legacy House of Taylorsville and Inspiration Home Health and Hospice for their dedicated care of Joan and Wayne.