Celeste Marie (Poliquin) Morningstar, whose life was guided by her passion for family, faith, and ballet, died on September 27, 2023, surrounded by her husband and children. She was 67.
Born on June 24, 1956, in Los Angeles, Calif., she was the daughter of Virginia and Ramon Poliquin.
After her father died, when she was 10, Celeste started taking classes at the Rosann Zimmerman Ballet School in Los Angeles. With the encouragement of her teachers, as well as enormous personal drive, her talents grew and she was invited to study at the School of American Ballet in New York City. She then studied with Melissa Hayden at Skidmore College and Stanley Holden in Los Angeles. It was there that she met Steven Wistrich, Artistic Director of the Arizona Ballet and American Festival Ballet, who invited her to join his company.
While in Arizona, she met her future husband, Joe Morningstar. They were married on October 9, 1982. She continued to dance and tour. When they were expecting their first child, they moved to Rye, N.Y., where they lived for the next 35 years before relocating to Middlebury, Conn. to be closer to their grandchildren.
In 1986, Celeste began teaching at The Ballet Class (now the Rye Ballet Conservatory), a premier ballet school in Westchester, under Founding Director Lynn Stetson. In 2007, she acquired the business and served as director for the next decade. After retiring, she continued to teach ballet until this year. Instilling the passion of ballet in developing young dancers was among her greatest joys.
A greater joy was being a wife and mother. She was devoted to these roles and created a happy, warm, and loving environment for her family. She will be fondly remembered for serving delicious, and healthy home-cooked meals and gathering her family around the dinner table, a secret recipe for their tight-knit family.
A devoted Catholic, her beliefs instructed all parts of her life. She was a member of Church of the Resurrection, where she participated in and was a group leader of the women’s Bible Study group and served as a Eucharistic minister.
In addition to her cherished husband of 41 years, Joe Morningstar, she is survived by her children Tom Morningstar, Grace Morningstar Azzaro, and Jack Morningstar, and her two grandchildren, Willow and Leona, who called her Mima and who she adored. She is also survived by her siblings: Catherine (Poliquin) Weir, George Xifo, Peter Xifo, Gina (Xifo) Webber and Michael Xifo. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Mary Margaret Xifo Rankin, and her stepfather, Salvatore Xifo.
A funeral mass was held October 5 at Church of the Resurrection.
Donations in Celeste Morningstar’s memory may be made to the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy, P. O. Box 951, Stockbridge, MA 01262.