Joann Harper Southgate


Longtime North Shore resident Joann Harper Southgate died of complications from dementia on February 19, at Brightview on New Canaan in Norwalk, Conn.  Born May 13, 1929, in Los Angeles to Charles and Betsy Harper (Stellar), she was a fourth generation Californian, her great-grandfather, Charles F. Harper, having settled with his family in Los Angeles after the Civil War.  

She was predeceased by her sister, Jane, her infant son, James, and her three husbands: James Cannon, from whom she was divorced, John Hand, a partner at Sullivan and Worcester, and Richard “Archie” Southgate, a managing partner at Ropes and Gray who served as Manchester’s town moderator and chairman of the board of selectmen. She is survived by her children: Peter Cannon (Nancy Hawley) of New York, Jane Cannon of New York, Catherine Cannon (Carol Morley) of London, England, and her grandchildren: Nicholas, Alice, and James Cannon.  She is also survived by her stepchildren: Jay Hand of Tucson, Ariz., James Hand of Gloucester, Mass., Suzanne Hand of Mystic, Conn., Richard Southgate of Essex, Mass., Sarah Gordon of Philadelphia, Pa., Rebecca Southgate of Paris, France, and Jay Southgate of Barre, Vt. 

Joann was a graduate of the Marlborough School in Los Angeles and Stanford University, where she majored in English.  Generally, she excelled in all subjects, with the exception of sewing at Marlborough (C-) and golf at Stanford (D+).  In 1956, she moved with her family to Beverly Farms after her husband, Jim, became the general manager of the Salem branch of the Cannon Electric Company, now a division of ITT.  Joann quickly came to love New England, where she made many lifelong friends. A consummate hostess, known for her style and charm, she liked to entertain and dance, no partner required. An avid reader and tennis player, she also enjoyed music, travel, and her garden. She was a regular at the Boston Symphony, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Huntington Theater, and the Cabot Cinema. Joann was a past member of the Essex County Club, Singing Beach Club, Prides Beach Association, Chilton Club, and Vincent Club. She was ever ready to dispense advice to her children and their friends; with hindsight, those so favored would agree that she was almost always right about almost everything. 

Our thanks to the caring staff at Brightview who tolerated her correcting their grammar. 

Donations in her memory may be made to MacDowell, 100 High Street, Peterborough, NH 03458 or at   

A memorial service will be held at a later date.  

joann harper southgate, jay southgate, james hand, peter cannon, prides beach association, singing beach club, rebecca southgate, charles f. harper, carol morley, james cannon, catherine cannon, betsy harper, richard southgate, manchester, jay hand