Essex Crystol Noel, IV
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Published in March 2021
Essex Crystol Noel, IV was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 17, 1948 to Anna Aline Sroufe Noel and Essex Crystol Noel, III. Essex peacefully transitioned on March, 24, 2021 in Chelsea, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston.
Essex was raised in Albemarle, North Carolina, the eldest of 4 brothers, Alan Noel, Stephen Noel, and Wayne Noel. During his teenage years, he excelled in math and sports, enjoying basketball, baseball, and later, golf. After graduating from high school in North Carolina, he matriculated to then Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia. It was at Hampton that he met his future wife, Brenda Yvonne Watkins. He graduated with a degree in accounting and moved to Washington, DC to work for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as an auditor. Essex reconnected with Brenda in Washington, DC, married, and had two daughters, Nyia Lynn Noel and Elena Ramsey Noel. Brenda and Essex divorced in 2002.
In addition to hobbies such as baseball, Essex received his private pilot license and enjoyed flying friends and family both in the DC area and around LA and Catalina Island on trips to visit his brother Alan in Los Angeles in the 1980s. He was a family man – waking early to go to work and arriving home early in the evenings to greet his daughters after their walk home from Shepherd Elementary. He was an excellent chef, trying his hand at all cuisine! There was the Wok phase, then the Italian phase, and of course he loved Cajun and Southern cuisine.
After serving at the NEA for 25 years, he retired and began his second career in Computer Network Engineering, working for Reuters News. This job fed his love for politics and travel, taking him to the Democratic National Convention and the Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. His work for Reuters also encouraged his photography hobby as he chatted and gathered tips from his journalists and photographer colleagues. He purchases SLR cameras and several lens which he carefully carried in his backpack on trips to the Carolinas, New Orleans and other coastal towns rich in soul food, seafood and live music. His second retirement was hastened by the birth of his granddaughter, Dahlia Noelle Cooper. Shortly after Dahlia’s 1st birthday, Essex sold his condo in Silver Spring, Maryland and drove to Boston, Massachusetts to be closer to his growing family. He had dreams of continuing his passion for photography and road trips in New England.
After establishing primary care and investigating his knee pain, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” Fortunately, Essex received amazing care from the MGH ALS Clinic, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charleston, and made his final home at the Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea, MA. Soon after our arrival at Leonard Florence, we met Ron Hoffman, the founder of Compassionate Care ALS, who helped us navigate the journey with ALS. Essex was a resident of the Saling House, an innovation home for patients living with ALS. He received the most compassionate and dignified care by z Essex C. Noel, IV November 17, 1948 – March 24, 2021 March 29, 2021 everyone at Leonard Florence. In addition to the staff, his neighbors and friends became a part of our family and watched Dahlia grow along with Essex.
Essex is survived by his daughters, Nyia Lynn Noel and Elena Ramsey Noel, his granddaughter Dahlia Noelle Cooper, his three brothers, his nieces Brittani, Nikolette, and Kira, and nephews Sean, Philip, Quentin, and Alan Jr., two grand nephews, along with several cousins including Carl “Wiggy” Sroufe, Billy Beard, Charlene Beard, and Bona Fay.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Compassionate Care ALS: In memory of Essex C. Noel, IV Compassionate Care ALS, PO Box 1052, West Falmouth, MA 02574, www.CCALS.org.