The Guyanese community expressed sadness, at the passing of beloved, Frank Albert Noel, and conveyed sympathies to the family of the matriarch, a champion, and veteran government minister, who died on Nov. 27. He was 93.
In a recent Facebook post, son, Courtney Noel, a civil servant with the United Nations, declared, “Dad has gone to rest with the ancestors. He batted well for 93 runs — seven years shy of the century he wanted.”
“In those nine decades he lived several lifetimes. From the highly curious fun-loving country boy from Phoenix Island in Laguna, Guyana to the hard-studying Queen’s College student in Georgetown. He ruined his eyesight by studying under the lampposts due to the lack of electricity at home, yet he persisted,” said the younger Noel, a doppelganger.
Noel, who served as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, secretary of Economic Sub-committee of Cabinet, a permanent secretary, Ministry of Information, and as permanent secretary in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Ministry, was a brilliant economist.
His son said his life as a young university student at the London School of Economics opened his eyes to a new world and new opportunities where he reconnected with old friends and made new acquaintances — some of whom would go on to become heads of state in their own lands. “In that particular era, race relations were fraught with tension, yet he persisted.”
He also held positions as permanent secretary, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Public Corporations as well as administrative secretary at the Guyana State Corporation.
Described as a natural teacher throughout his life, Noel who taught at the Government Technical Institute and the University of Guyana in the early days and upon immigrating to the US was honored with a plaque and citation at his 90th birthday party in 2019.
He headed several organizations, including the Guyana Sugar Producers Association, Guyana Sugar Corporation, Guyana Rice Board, and was consultative associate of Guyanese Industries Limited and the University of Guyana.
A phenomenal human being, and citizen, Noel, for his sterling contribution to country, was honored with Guyana’s highest order — the Golden Arrow of Achievement a National Award in 1975.
At the pinnacle of his civil service career, Noel, a distinguished son of the soil, represented Guyana and the Caribbean at “Sugar talks,” entrusted with negotiating for the best prices for one of the country’s main exports, and either led or was a member of “trade talks” around the world, traveling to more than 49 countries.
As a member of St. Phillips Anglican Church in Guyana and a member of the vestry at St. Gabriel’s, Brooklyn, NY, where he had an active part in the expansion of the church, Noel, in his latter days, attended Rise International Church, where his daughter Faye is a pastor.
Granddaughter, Mia Satellite, recalled the journey from an impoverished childhood to graduating from the London School of Economics, to marrying his sweetheart who he always called Pix (short for Pixie), to helping raise 5 children, to becoming an official in the Guyanese government, saying “to all that came after, is an epic story and one I loved hearing him talk about.”
“He loved laughing and learning, he loved alliteration and talking, he loved good food and sweets, he loved music and singing, he loved Guyana, he loved watching strangers, seeing friends, and making people he had just met smile. He absolutely loved his family, and he loved me,” articulated, Mia.
“If ever I delight at the sun shining down on my face, or children playing on the sidewalk or a well put together outfit, or finding just the right multi syllable word, or even a common sparrow outside the window, I’ll be celebrating this wonderful, kind, smart, man who rejoiced in life every day.”
“I hope his memories are a blessing for all those that knew him and especially for his children, Auntie Faye, my dad- Roger, Uncle Courtney, Aunt Cheryl and Auntie Ray, and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. May we all live such a full life full of love, she shared via a Facebook post.
Noel was preceded in death by his loving wife Esmee Eileen Benfield-Noel and two of his four siblings (Nellie Roberts and Cyril Noel).
He leaves to mourn his five children (Faye Braz, Roger, Cheryl and Courtney Noel, and Raymonda Derrell); eleven grandchildren (Randy, Blake, Deidra, Mia, Ebonee, Zina, Angelica, Brandon, Harrison, Aleyana and Joshua); and six great-grandchildren (Esmee, Jayden, Nami, Iniko, Zinedine and Hannah); siblings (Ronald Noel and Marlene Diane Allicock); his nieces and nephew (Colin, Charlene, Dareth, Sharon and Karen); sons-in-law (Peter Braz and Paul Derrell); and countless extended family and friends.