Cover photo for Elizabeth 'Lisa' Ayers Harmon's Obituary
1963 Elizabeth 2022

Elizabeth 'Lisa' Ayers Harmon

January 20, 1963 — May 28, 2022

Beacon, NY

Elizabeth Ayers Harmon, known as Lisa to family and friends, died on Saturday, May 28th, 2022. Kind, creative, curious, and witty, Lisa lived a full life even as she suffered from chronic anxiety and depression.

Lisa was born in Cleveland, OH on January 20th, 1963 to Robert Harmon and Phyllis Ayers Harmon. She grew up with two sisters in Ohio, North Carolina, and New Hampshire, and graduated from Cornell University. After settling in Washington, DC, she attained a master’s degree in international communications from American University and pursued a successful career in radio. She worked for a decade for National Public Radio, as a producer for Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She also established an English-language news radio program in Budapest, Hungary, serving as host and executive producer.

Lisa loved art. During breaks from work, she studied photography and sculpture at the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts in Paros, Greece. She excelled at carving figures in marble, and in 2004 moved to New York City to train as a sculptor at the Art Students League of New York. She simultaneously began a new career in arts communication, working for arts organizations and museums in the metropolitan area including the Jewish Museum, the Onassis Foundation, the Katonah Museum of Art, and Storm King Art Center. Most recently she was Director of Marketing and Communications for Wave Hill Public Garden and Arts Center, a place she loved.

In 2005, Lisa married Robert Lapaz and gave birth to their beloved daughter, Olivia. They moved to Beacon the following year. She loved living in Beacon and being near the Hudson, and participated in several cross-river swims and other fundraising efforts in support of river preservation. As a community volunteer, she tutored children in reading and English as a Second Language.

Lisa was known for her sharp intellect. She believed in the power of words, and used her skill with language to connect genuinely with radio audiences, supporters of the arts, and everyone she met. As a colleague said: She was often a person of few words, but every word counted. She had a great sense of what made good storytelling, what would capture the imagination or move people to action. She held herself and the world to a very high standard and when that fell short, she was ready to help make it better the next time.

Both courageous and adventurous, Lisa also enjoyed quiet pursuits: taking long walks with her dogs, curling up with a good book beside a fire, and entertaining friends over long dinners. She had a marvelous sense of humor and a quick wit, and enjoyed the absurdities of life. Along with so many fond memories we will recall her generosity; her elegance, grace, and compassion; her laughter; and her strength in difficult times. We gain solace from knowing that she is now at peace.

Lisa is survived by her husband Robert Lapaz; daughter Olivia Lapaz; mother Phyllis Harmon; sisters Kitty Harmon and Caroline “Neera” Harmon; and loving in-laws, nieces, and a host of longtime friends.

There will be a private memorial service by the family. In lieu of flowers, her family wishes for memorial donations may be sent Beacon’s Howland Cultural Center, 477 Main Street, Beacon, NY 12508, an arts organization near to Lisa’s heart. Arrangements were entrusted to the care of the LIBBY FUNERAL HOME, 55 Teller Avenue, Beacon. If you wish to send an online condolence or memory, please post to Lisa’s Facebook page or the tribute wall at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Elizabeth 'Lisa' Ayers Harmon, please visit our flower store.

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