Celeste Marie (Poliquin) Morningstar, adored wife, mother, grandma (“mima”), aunt, friend, and teacher, passed away on September 27, 2023, surrounded by her husband and children. She was born on June 24, 1956, in Los Angeles, CA, to Virginia and Ramon Poliquin. Celeste’s life was guided by her passion for family, faith and ballet.
After her father died at the age of 10, Celeste started ballet classes at the Rosann Zimmerman Ballet School in Los Angeles. With the encouragement from her teachers and her 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, then, when they were expecting their first child, they moved to Rye, NY. They lived in Rye for the next 35 years before relocating to Middlebury, CT 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 the Founding Director, Lynn Stetson. In 2007, she acquired the business and served as director for the next 10 years. She then retired as proprietor and director but continued to teach ballet until 2023. Instilling the passion of ballet to 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, healthy home cooked meals and gathering her family around the dinner table, a secret recipe for their tight knit family.
Celeste was a devoted Catholic and her beliefs instructed all parts of her life. She was a member of the Church of the Resurrection (Rye, NY). She participated in and was a group leader of the women’s bible study group and served as a Eucharistic minister.
Celeste is survived by her cherished husband of 41 years, Joe Morningstar, her children Tom Morningstar, Grace Morningstar Azzaro, and Jack Morningstar, and her two grandchildren, Willow and Leona, 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 father, Ramon Poliquin, mother, Virginia (Benedetto) Xifo, step-father, Salvatore Xifo and sister Mary Margaret Xifo Rankin.
Family and friends are invited to pay their respects during calling hours, which will be held from 4 – 7PM on Wednesday, October 4 at Graham Funeral Home, located at 1036 Boston Post Rd, Rye, NY 10580. A funeral mass will be held at 10AM on Thursday, October 5 at Church of the Resurrection located at 910 Boston Post Rd, Rye, NY 10580.
Celeste will be deeply missed by all whose lives she touched. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy, Stockbridge, MA. 01262.