Jean Darden Noel was born August 26th, 1935 and on Saturday, June 15th, 2019 the Lord called her home for a much deserved rest. She resided on Lewis Ave in Brooklyn, NY as the senior member of a Four Generation household of women.
Jean Darden Noel was born in Snow Hill, NC to the late Bessie Darden Foreman and the late Frank Shackleford. Bessie later married the late Mack Foreman, who together, helped raise Jean on a farm as sharecroppers, where she grew up among a large extended family in N.C., with many aunts, uncles and cousins. Family was always very important to Jean.
She enjoyed school, and loved to read. After graduating Salutatorian of Frink High School in LaGrange, she followed her cousin Velma, and moved to New York City in 1955, where they lived in Harlem. They worked at various jobs, constantly trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. And in 1960, Jean married the late William David Noel.
Jean studied Early Childhood Education at Borough of Manhattan Community College and became an educator at Five Block Day Care Center. While working with and teaching young children, a job she loved immensely, she also became a very active Shop Steward in the Union, as she stood up for her fellow colleagues during their time of need.
Jean loved attending church and taught her family the importance of having strong faith. She was a long time member of Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church in Brooklyn. As the years progressed, she enjoyed spending time at St. Paul’s Community Baptist Church and Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church and became a member of Jones Tabernacle FW Baptist Church in Kinston NC.
Shortly after retiring, Jean decided to travel to spend time with her family; went back to Kinston, NC to be close by her mom; Suffolk, VA to spend invaluable time with her daughter Dywanna and family and then back to Brooklyn, NY where her daughter Veronica diligently helped to nurse and nurture her for the duration of her life. While living in Suffolk, VA, Jean opened up her own daycare center “Young Minds Daycare” to help nurture the hearts and minds of our future generations.
Jean was a hardworking, very kind gentle spirit, with a smile that could light up any room. She loved to laugh, enjoyed sewing and going shopping. Jean loved great food and enjoyed hosting gatherings so that she could spend time with family and friends as she cooked for them, making things like her amazing fried chicken, mouth-watering potato salad, homemade banana pudding and delicious sweet potato pie. She was always very loving and supportive of her children, their children, as well as her other family and friends.
Through tough times Jean always showed her resilience, strength of character and her will to live. She will always be remembered for her compassionate spirit and brilliant smile. She will truly be missed.
Her love and memory will be cherished by her loving and devoted 3 children: André Darden, Veronica Noel and Dywanna Smith; 11 grandchildren: Jaleesa Capri Noel, Dréson Darden, Miché Darden, Rakeem Smith, Shakeem Smith, Tyrell Smith, Sharnez Smith, Jarnez Smith, Nicole Smith, Kharim Smith and Donyelle Blake; Great-Granddaughter: Lian Noel-Howard; Sisters: Frankie Shakleford and Maxine Bremby, Brother: John Shakleford. Daughter-in-law: Michelle Darden, Son-in-law: Sharmik Smith, and a host of loving relatives & friends.