Rosann Gelvin Noel


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CHAMPAIGN — Rosann Noel was born in Champaign on Jan. 22, 1932, to Mabery and H.I. Gelvin. She was predeceased by her parents; brother, Philip; third son, Tony, who died Sept. 28, 1997; and nephew, Doug Gelvin. Her nieces, Susan, Nancy and Linda, remain from brother Philip Gelvin’s family.

She graduated from Champaign High School as a member of the illustrious class of the “49ers.” Rosann attained a B.A. from the University of Illinois in psychology and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority and remained active in the alum group for many years.

On Nov. 28, 1953, she married Richard Morrissey Noel. They resided in Champaign for the remainder of their lives, active together in many efforts of philanthropy in their hometown. They had three sons, Daniel Morrissey Noel (Robin), Matthew Gelvin Noel (Nancy) and Anthony Thomas Noel (Deena).

Rosann had four grandchildren; all are living in Champaign. She delighted in being close to all of them through their years of growing up. They are Dan’s son, Vincent, and Raymond and Tony’s Mary and her brother, Nicholas. She also enjoyed her six stepgrandchildren, Rachel and Kathryn Swindle, Jeremy and Kerry Wuerfel and Casey and Logan Horberg. She also has two stepgreat-grandchildren in California, Peyton and Joren Wuerfel.

Rosann and Dick enjoyed many wonderful Thanksgiving vacations in California and with many nieces and nephews from the Danielson family. As her children grew older, Rosann took on a career in fashion. In the 1970s, she opened a women’s boutique called Con Brio in her husband’s store, Noel Fashions, which was located in the Illinois building, previously housing W. Lewis & Company. When Noel Fashions closed, she moved Con Brio to another location and continued the business for 10 years.

As Tony was battling kidney disease, she became involved with the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. Rosann and Dick started a research foundation in Tony’s name. They worked diligently with a group of women friends in Champaign who helped raise money with well-attended golf outings for the Tony Noel Research Foundation at the National Kidney Foundation. She later was a member of the board of trustees at NKFI for three decades and served as president for a term. Rosann was chosen to be a member for several years of the National Kidney, Urology and Diabetes Advisory Board for the National Institutes of Health. She and her husband also started the local chapter of the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois.

Travel was very important to both Richard and Rosann. They traveled extensively in Europe for many years and ultimately visited all seven continents. Her interest in travel led her to start a business called the Chelsea Traveller. This gave her the opportunity to design itineraries in Europe for people who wanted to travel independently. She also took several groups of friends to Paris, London, Prague, Florence, Tuscany and Ireland to explore various aspects of the cities and countryside.

The couple’s interest in the arts brought great joy to them, and they became devoted donors to the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and the Krannert Art Museum. Rosann was a charter member of Krannert Art Museum Council and served as president for a term.

Rosann’s love of gardening led her to donate, with her brother, Phil, the Gelvin Gardens at Krannert Art Museum in honor of their parents. She also planned and donated the Welcome Garden dedicated to her four grandchildren at the entrance to the University of Illinois Arboretum. Her interest in gardening was topped by creating an ongoing charitable gift to Mabery Gelvin Gardens at Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, H.I. Gelvin’s favorite place.

Richard and Rosann enjoyed some of each winter for many years at their home on the island of Sint Maarten in the Caribbean, where she gardened with tropical plants. They also spent lengthy visits to their home on the Sonoma Coast of California, where she enjoyed gardening in Mediterranean style.  

A visitation will be held in Rosann’s honor Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church, 208 W. University Ave., Champaign. A funeral service will be held Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, at the church at 10 a.m. The Rev. Mother Beth Maynard will officiate.

Memorial contributions can be made in Rosann’s honor to Emmanuel Memorial Church; the Cunningham Children’s Home, P.O. Box 878, Urbana, IL 61803; or the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, Tony Noel Research Fund, 215 W. Illinois St., Chicago, IL 60654. Online condolences can be shared with her family at

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