Obituary: Harper Tasche Jordan, 61


March 23, 2023

Harper Tasche Jordan

Harper Tasche Jordan, 61, died at his home in Kent, Washington on March 6, 2023.

Tasche Mark Daniel Jordan was born March 29, 1961 in Chehalis, Washington, to Paul and Frieda Jordan. Growing up in beautiful rural Petersburg influenced his lifelong passions for music and nature; he composed and recorded a soundtrack for the U.S. Forest Service at age 13, and learned to play all the instruments in his high school band's storage room.

Harper graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music degree from Pacific Lutheran University in 1982. He spent three years on staff at Holden Village, composing for worship services and showcasing his legendary baking skills. But when he met his first small harp, he knew he had found his musical destiny. As Harper Tasche, he recorded his first solo album, Open to the North, in 1993. Twelve more albums followed over the next two decades. He performed, taught, and published music books, including the definitive guide to modern cross-strung harp.

Harper's distinctive and exceptionally expressive music (often described as "lyrical", "magical", and "transcendent") was enthusiastically reviewed by industry publications. His skills with folk harp, bowed psaltery, recorder, and storytelling consistently enchanted audiences around the world. Harper's work won several international awards, most notably at the Mòd Vancouver Scottish Gaelic Music Festival (Canada), the International Pop & Jazz HarpFest (Monterey, California), and the O'Carolan International Harp Festival (Keadue, Ireland).

In 2003, Harper met Neil McNeill; it was love at first hug. Married in 2013, they found their dream home in Kent three years later, nestled among dozens of magnificent cedars, which Harper called their "tiny forest of giant trees."

Following a cancer diagnosis in 2021, Harper continued to teach until a month before his death. As his husband and caregiver, Neil was hand-in-hand with Harper as he quietly crossed over, surrounded by the trees he considered his church.

Harper was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Frieda Jordan (2015). He is survived by his husband of twenty years, Neil McNeill; his older sister Ruth Culbertson, her husband Richard, and their son, Brian. He will be remembered for his gentle wisdom, exceptional wit, beautiful silver hair, and, of course, his timeless musical legacy.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Holden Village.

A public memorial for Harper will be held at a date to be announced.


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