Helena could have permanently lost The Myrna Loy Center after it closed its doors on Feb. 29, 2000, but Ed Noonan refused to let that happen.
Noonan was still the director of student activities at Carroll College when he volunteered to take over the administrative duties at the Myrna, which was straddled with $100,000 in debt at the time. After putting in countless volunteer hours to help the Myrna reopen, Noonan was appointed as executive director about a year later and held the position until his retirement in 2014.
“He rolled up his sleeves and saved the Myrna Loy,” current Executive Director Krys Holmes said.
Noonan, who died last week at age 70, will forever be remembered as the man who saved the Myrna. But he also leaves a legacy as an actor, playwright, poet, educator and public servant.
In a 2014 interview, Noonan said one of his earliest memories from his childhood in Butte was of “a little play stage when I was really little.”
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He wrote his first play, “A Robot for Christmas,” in first grade. A scene from one of his works, “Deserving Art,” premiered in 2014 at the prestigious Northwest New Works Festival in Seattle.
For the last 40 years, Noonan has been writing poems chronicling events, people and interesting details of his life in Helena. He believed that no poem was complete until it was read in public, and just last month he recited one of his original works at the Longest Night memorial service for Helenans who died while homeless.
Many of Noonan’s poems are about his experiences at Carroll College, where he spent 35 years as resident director, activity director and permanent part-time adjunct faculty. It was there that he shared his wealth of knowledge about the fine arts, liberal arts, literature, language and communications with countless Helena students.
Although we didn’t always see eye to eye during his four years on the Helena City Commission, we appreciate Noonan for faithfully serving his community with compassion and respect even when things got tough. And we want to express our condolences to his family and many friends and coworkers in the city of Helena, Carroll College, the Myrna Loy and the entire Helena area.
Rest in peace, Ed. Our community is a better place because of you.
This is the opinion of the Independent Record editorial board.