A Celebration of Life for Richard Noonan is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 15 at the Chatham-Summit Quaker Meeting, 158 Southern Boulevard, Chatham, NJ.
A reception will be held at the Archer Hotel, 130 Park Ave., Florham Park, from 12 to 3 p.m. All are invited.
Richard Bernard Noonan was born in Prairie Village, Kansas, on October 28, 1950. He was the fourth of six children. The Noonan family moved five times before settling down in Wellesley, Mass. In high school, “Dicky” was a bright student, avid jokester, and natural athlete: playing baseball, soccer, and becoming the two-time New England State wrestling champion.
Mr. Noonan’s scholastic and athletic talents led him to Brown University, where he was recruited for wrestling. At Brown, American History ignited his passion for civic duty, humanitarian causes, and education. He kept those passions for the rest of his life.
From Brown, he went on to Duke University where he was awarded a teaching fellowship and earned his Master’s degree, followed by a research studentship at the University of London, and finally, his Doctorate in Education from Teachers College at Columbia University. During his doctoral studies, particularly in his time with the Urban Fellows Program, Mr. Noonan was deeply influenced by his peers and mentors. Their commitment to education inspired him, and he graduated with an even stronger resolve to improve the lives of students.
Mr. Noonan impacted many school districts in various positions over the course of his career, from 1972-2019: Greenwich, Conn.; Glen Rock, NJ; Rye, NY; and eventually Somerset Hills, NJ where he served in his first superintendent role. He later became the Superintendent of Rumson-Fair
Haven, NJ in 2000, Madison, NJ from 2004-2010, and Wallingford Swarthmore, Pa. from 2010-2015.
In recent years he returned to NJ and served as interim Superintendent in Madison and Berkeley Heights - an area that always had a special place in his heart.
Mr Noonan always stayed connected to the classroom and was an Adjunct Professor of Education at Caldwell College beginning in 1993, a role he held for 17 years. His fondness for creative writing later inspired him to become a teacher at the Writing Center of The Workshop School in Philadelphia, Pa. In 2017, he got involved with the Science Leadership Academy, where he
taught and helped to develop the city internship program for high school students.
Mr. Noonan was a humble and loving father and husband. He married his second wife, Pam, in 1988 and they had their first child, Kendra, in 1989. After their second daughter, Brooke (1992) was born the family moved from Cross River, NY to Chatham, NJ where they would stay for 23 years.
He was a familiar face in the local community and was often seen out with the Rose City Runners, at the Madison YMCA, or cheering on his daughters at their sporting events. At work, Rich spent his time visiting schools, talking with teachers, and walking the halls to get to know the students. His sense of humor and deep admiration for every person working under him brought levity and compassion to otherwise challenging work.
Mr. Noonan relished in outdoor activities and became a marathoner at age 50. He completed 13 marathons in his lifetime including Vermont City, New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. He loved skiing, hiking, canoeing, and all things adventurous in the company of friends and family. Despite looking forward to retirement, he was always happiest in schools. As a leader he distinguished himself as an encouraging supporter of teachers and administrators. His passion was unwavering, and he encouraged every student to be the best they could be.
Mr. Noonan is preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Francis Noonan and his brother John. He is survived by his daughters, Kendra and Brooke, former wife Pam, siblings Robert, David, Jean and Mary Anne, and beloved by his many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to The Workshop School: http://www.workshopschool.org/support/ or the Science Leadership
Academy: Science Leadership Academy HAS, C/O Diana Moro 4449 Fleming Street Philadelphia, Pa. 19128.