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Carroll holds vigil honoring the late Ed Noonan
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Carroll holds vigil honoring the late Ed Noonan

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Carroll College held a vigil Friday honoring the life and works of the late Ed Noonan.

Noonan, who died in January at age 70, spent 35 years at Carroll College as resident director, activity director and permanent part-time adjunct faculty. He served a four year term on the Helena City Commission and was the executive director of The Myrna Loy for 15 years. 

"Ed loved poetry and theater," said Father Marc Lenneman. "I think he loved the mystery. They both speak to the mystery of being human."

Several people shared poems written by Noonan. John Rausch, Nancy Harper and Carroll College President John Cech were among those who shared reflections about his life. 

"One of my greatest joys in my 22 months as president of Carroll was getting to know Ed," Cech said. "One of my biggest regrets was not getting to know him better."

Cech said that when he was offered the position as president, Noonan was the first person to call him and ask to take him out for coffee. Noonan would go on to read one of his poems, titled "Advice from Former Carroll Presidents Now Saints in Heaven," at Cech's inauguration. Cech spoke of Noonan's commitment to Carroll and how, despite being retired, he was advising 40 students at the time of his death. 

Rausch said he first met Noonan after he "fell into a dangerous crowd of theater people." From that point on, Noonan was "one of the bigwigs in my life," according to Rausch. 

"I don't think I ever met anyone who was more comfortable with the totality of themselves," Rausch said. "I wish I was more like Ed. I wish all of us were more like Ed." 

Harper described Noonan as the most fearless and selfless individual she knew. She spoke at length about how Noonan was an advocate for the arts and constantly gave back to his community. 

"Maybe it was his Butte upbringing, but Ed Noonan was fearless," Harper said. "He was absolutely happy in his own skin."

Harper said that if those in attendance wanted to honor Noonan, they should find something that needs to be done and be fearless about getting it accomplished.

A celebration of Noonan's life is scheduled for noon on Friday, Feb. 28, at the Cathedral of St. Helena. His cremains will be interred privately at Holy Cross Cemetery in Butte. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Edward J. Noonan Memorial Fund for Non-Profits established at Valley Bank of Helena. 

Those who wish can visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer condolences to the family or to share a memory of Noonan. 

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