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Please enjoy the following recording of Joan's Memorial Service.

The texts of the three family talks will be available in the coming days.

And thank you to all who came to participate and share your time with us as we sought to honor our dear wife, mother, sister, granny, and dah.

Home: Welcome

About Joan

Joan Marie Wipf was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on May 11, 1954. She spent her childhood in Freeman, South Dakota. Her parents, Orville and Laurene, raised her and her two sisters, Marilyn and Sheryl, with a love of music and a steadfast work ethic.

Her love of music was the thread that wove through so many facets of her life. She was fascinated by the piano and at 18 months began tinkering with the keys. Her formal musical training began with her mother at the age of 3 and by 6, she was performing on television. She was a naturally gifted musician, had perfect pitch, and could hear a song once and play it immediately. Amazingly, she could replicate virtually any style or genre with the piano keys by simply fielding a request from any of us. Joan excelled at many other instruments including the organ, baritone horn, bassoon, clarinet, flute, electric harp, and so many more. She sang in choirs and represented her school in All-State Bands, solos, and music competitions. Joan was active in her church: choirs, youth group, substitute organist, and even led the children’s choir while in high school. While in high school, she was also part of a band “Big D and the Dominant Jeans”, a group of four talented musicians who took their love of music and transformed it into a band that entertained the masses at high school games, events, and even state conventions.

Small town life allowed Mom to spend lots of time with family; her great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and many cousins all lived in this close-knit community. Joan loved spending time at Wolf Creek Hutterite Colony, where she had ancestral ties to the founding members of this Mennonite community that valued family and God above all else.

Joan and her sister, Marilyn, only 3 years apart, were best friends; playing Barbies into the wee hours of the night, practicing their instruments together with one often accompanying the other’s solo, and traveling to music camp together. Auntie Menah, as we called her, was Mom’s most trusted confidante until her untimely death in 1995, at the age of 37. Sheryl, Joan’s little sister, came along when Mom was in 6th grade, so of course Sheryl became Mom’s very own baby doll. Mom loved children, especially babies, and would ask strangers if she could hold their little ones with that sweet smile of hers. Sheryl and Mom became close in adulthood, since Mom left for college while Sheryl was in elementary school. Auntie Sheryl and Mom remained very close until the end of Mom’s time on Earth. Joan was not only her sister, but “mother”, confidante, and a special grandma “Dah” to Sheryl & Steve’s children.

Joan was an accomplished pianist and won many awards, competitions on the state and national level, and earned scholarships to The Juilliard School, in New York City, and to The University of Texas, in Austin. Coming from a small town, Mom’s parents were more comfortable sending their first born to Austin, Texas versus the Big Apple, where she would study Piano Performance. Shortly after her arrival to Texas, Joan met the love of her life, Ebrahim [Ebi] Nassiri. She spotted Ebi across the cafeteria and instantly felt connected to him telling her friend “I’m gonna marry that man someday”. My dad also noticed her (how could he not notice her beauty) and they embarked on a life-long romance of true love and unconditional devotion that stood the test of time over the last 50 years. They came from different backgrounds and different countries, but at their core, they were the same. They made each other feel loved, feel safe, and constantly supported and encouraged one another. While in college, they got married and had their first born, Nicole. Mom told us of how she would take Nicole with her to practice sessions, and Nicole would fall asleep listening to her play. The young family moved to Missouri while Mom earned her Master’s in Music – Piano Performance at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri – Kansas City.

After graduation, Joan, Ebi, and Nicole traveled to Iran to visit family. Mom loved Ebi’s family immediately and asked them to speak only Farsi to her, no English. Within a few months, she was fluent! Due to the increasing social unrest in Iran in 1978, the family of three flew back to the states. Cameron, the only son, was born in South Dakota, while Ebi secured a job in Houston, Texas and found the family a place to live. The family of four moved to the Clear Lake Area and started putting down roots in the community.

Mom began teaching piano lessons in the early 1980’s. While she built her business and stellar reputation, she had two more precious baby girls, Michelle and then Arianna. With four kids and a growing business, life could get hectic, but Mom loved every minute of it.

In 1987, Joan, her sister Marilyn, and Mom created the “Advent Concert”, a Christmas concert including 2-piano classical, 2-piano Christmas, and Christmas singing - absolute favorites that everyone loved. It was a family concert that pulled together the talent of the family members and lifted their talent to God in Thankfulness and to His Glory. The Advent Concert was held annually for 30 years. Throughout those years, the concert transformed as family members departed us in death, matured, and found their talents. The Advent Concert was a conduit for Joan's ministry of faith and music. She gave to God the glory for the musical talents that had been blessed to her family. Throughout the years everyone in Joan’s and Sheryl’s family participated in the Advent Concert in some aspect.

She became the organist at Grace Community Church, later played in the worship band at Colony Creek Community Church, and finally played at Sugar Creek Baptist Church. Mom became a judge for numerous piano festivals and competitions including the National Piano Guild Auditions and loved traveling around the country, meeting new people and making new friends. Joan played for weddings, special events, accompanied for UIL competitions, and graced so many with her love of music.

Mom taught in the Clear Lake community for over 40 years and has left a legacy and impact on so many lives. Each student became part of her “family” with connections that surpassed the completion of piano lessons. Christmas especially brought her so much joy – she’d start listening to Christmas music in September! Mom’s last musical gift to us was when she played Christmas music in the lobby before service at Sugar Creek Baptist Church, something she loved to do each year.  She touched everyone’s life with her gift of music.

Mom loved caring for others and reveled in being a secret helper: Doing good deeds and being the hands and feet of Jesus, anonymously. When the pandemic hit, Mom remained vigilant and cautious; always thinking of others and wanting to do her part to keep us safe. She was honored to be a chaplain at Methodist hospital, but even though Covid took those in-person visits away, she still used social media and technology to minister and check in on those in need. Her immune system was compromised because of her rheumatoid arthritis, coupled with the medications she took to slow the progression of her disease. Her mobility greatly decreased over the years, but she was still able to play the piano, teach, accompany, and bring joy to so many. Her daily text messages, calls, and prayers were a love and constant connection that surpassed any physical constraints. Even though she was triple vaccinated, Covid-19 took a toll on her body, especially her lungs. Mom was hospitalized for 16 days, 13 of which were spent on a ventilator in the ICU. She is another tragic statistic during this heartbreaking time; an immunocompromised person that we collectively should be protecting.

Joan Wipf Nassiri lived her life focused on 3 things: Her absolute love of Christ and her relationship with Him, her love of family and friends, and her love of music and its effect on others. She was an advocate for the underprivileged, the ones on the fringes of society, and constantly helped and stood up for the underdog. As her family, we are blessed to have called her our Mom, Granny, Wife, “Dah”, friend and so much more. We have been touched to hear the many stories of how she impacted so many people’s lives.  Spend time with your loved ones, listen and record their stories, hug them a little tighter, and protect those who cannot protect themselves; that’s what Joanie would have wanted.



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