R-HHS history teacher remembered

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Friends, former students and colleagues remember John Noel as a friend and mentor with many interests after he passed away Dec. 2.

John Noel

“I worked with John Noel as a fellow teacher and as his Principal. Mr. Noel had an obvious passion for teaching and working with young people,” said former Randolph-Henry High School Principal and Current Assistant Superintendent Robbie Mason. “He had high expectations for student learning and behavior, but at the same time, he was compassionate and understood the difficulties that students face. Mr. Noel was a great mentor for students and a great friend to his colleagues.”

Mason said Noel retired at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

According to his obituary, Noel, 70, was currently a resident of Charlotte Court House, however he was born in Farmville on March 25, 1948.

“He loved to play guitar and in his youth played in a band, ‘The Satisfactions,’ and continued to play all his life.

He was quite the athlete, playing football in high school and college. He served his country for 23 years as a submariner in the Navy as a Russian linguist. His shipmates knew him as ‘Tovs,’” said the obituary.

After retiring from the service, the obituary said he taught for 25 years.

R-HHS graduate Megan Garrett (‘16) said Noel was more than just a teacher to her, but also an adviser, mentor and friend.

“When I first met Mr. Noel, I had no idea where I wanted to go in life and was blindly following the path that everyone said would be best for me. Yet, he saw the potential for excellence in me when I didn’t even see it myself. He saw my unchanneled drive and worked to help me find my passion …” she said.

Garrett said she discovered her love of government through programs founded at the school by Noel.

“I will sorely miss the political debates, the guitar jamming sessions, the constant social history lessons and even the crazy corn hat …” she said.

Colleague Billy Catron said he and Noel both taught together at R-HHS previously and worked together as ACE team coaches.

He said Noel challenged his students to be better than they thought they could.

“His vast wealth of knowledge was ideal as a social studies educator and he was a great teacher …” said Catron. “ … His many stories were humorous and enlightening and he humanized teaching by playing the guitar with his students and sponsoring the Guitar Club, that could be heard playing most mornings down on first floor …”

The obituary said Noel was married to his wife Carol Noel for 33 years and he has two daughters, Sarah and Elizabeth Noel (Mark Colombo) of Alexandria.

He is also survived by two brothers, Howard and Eddie (Mary) Noel.

Noel’s funeral service was held Dec. 8 at Farmville Baptist Church.