Obituary of Mary Elizabeth Noll
Mary Elizabeth Cecilia Rienzo Noll, better known as Liz, was born March 1, 1925, on Mulberry St. in Little Italy NYC, to John and Gertrude Rienzo. She was the oldest of seven siblings; John (dec.), Ignatius, Aloysius (dec.), Gregory, Francis (dec.), and Bernadette Rienzo.
By age 3, her family had moved to Bayside, Queens where she spent many happy days. She attended Sacred Heart elementary school, and St. Agnes High School, where she graduated in 1943.
After high school, Liz received a scholarship to Misericordia College in Wilkes Barre, PA, and graduated in 1947; the first in her family to attend college. It was during college that she became known as Liz, a moniker that suited her and stuck with her for a lifetime. She was forever grateful to the Sisters of Mercy at Misericordia for giving her a chance to study and learn under their guidance, and she felt indebted to them for the opportunity they gave her to attend school for free. Liz served on the board of Misericordia College, now University, and on the alumni committee, missing only a handful of alumni weekends over the course of her lifetime. On her 80th birthday, a scholarship fund was created in her name that gives other kids like her the opportunity to be the first in their family to attend college.
After graduation, Liz moved back to New York and worked as a Truant Officer for The New York City Public School District. She then got a job working for the Bank of Manhattan, and it was at this time that she walked outside on St. Patrick’s Day to see her brother Ignatius walking in the parade with his friend and fellow Manhattan college teammate, Dean Charles Noll. Shortly after, Iggy suggested Liz as a date for Dean when he needed a quick stand-in for an engineer’s dance, and the rest is history. Meeting Dean and his family in Lake Arrowhead, NJ, introduced Liz to big family picnics on the lake and to New Jersey itself.
Dean and Liz were married on September 2, 1950, and moved to Haskell, NJ, to be near Dean’s work, then to Denville in 1956. Their marriage was built upon their shared deep faith and love for each other and family. They had 9 children: Gabriella, Alma (dec.), Ave Maria, Thaddeus, Justin, Damien, Gregory, Bernadette and Loretta, and another sister, Cheryl Olivia, who joined the family in 1967 through the Fresh Air Fund. In 1976, they moved onto the water in Indian Lake, and Liz’s Fourth of July picnics became legendary amongst family and friends - both for the fun and fireworks and, because each year, it was a time of renewed deep connection for kith and kin of every generation. It was a time for all to meet new babies and partners and memorialize those lost during the year. Annually, the circle of life was demonstrated and celebrated.
Liz was a people person through and through. She loved people; being one, making them, being with them, connecting them to each other, and talking, talking, talking with people, everywhere she went. She loved brainstorming ideas for living a life or making a living. She loved gathering people’s stories and asking great questions which made the stories flow. And, though she loved to talk, she also had a gift for listening, and from that listening she offered inspired and wise counsel to many.
Liz loved swimming in any body of water; be it ocean, lake or pool. In the summer she lived in her swimsuit and left a small bar of soap tucked under the dock which she used during her pre-bed, nighttime swims. She often said her favorite summer was the summer she took care of 15 children – nieces and nephews, fresh air kids and her own. That’s how much she loved being surrounded by people.
Over the years Liz has sung in musical variety shows, led countless pre-cana sessions for St. Mary’s church, volunteered at the suicide hotline, worked at the polls on voting day, led workshops in schools on ways to be safe, strong and free with the Child Assault Prevention program, started playing tennis at age 45 and played for the next 20 years. She thought “playing for fun” was no fun, which may explain a lot about the competitive nature of some of her children.
In addition to her children and siblings, Liz had 25 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, dozens of nieces and nephews, countless cousins, and friends of all ages.
A night owl all her life, Liz died peacefully in her home in Mt. Arlington, at 2:15 in the morning with a room full of family, after weeks of visits from kids, grandkids, and greats. Her death was like the most beautiful of births, pure love and steady breaths. Liz Noll, who felt lucky every day of her life, truly stuck the landing.
Public Visitation will be held on Tuesday, January 24th from 3 - 7 pm at Norman Dean Home for Services, 16 Righter Avenue, Denville. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, January 25th at 1:00 pm at St. Mary's Church, 15 Myers Avenue, Denville. Burial will follow at Denville Cemetery in Denville.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are being accepted in her memory to The Mary Elizabeth Rienzo-Noll Endowed Scholarship Misericordia University, 301 Lake Street, Dallas, PA 18612 or by clicking here.
16 RIGHTER AVENUE, DENVILLE, NJ 07834
DAVID G. MILNE, MANAGER NJ LIC. NO. 4301
SERVING THE DENVILLE, ROCKAWAY, PARSIPPANY, Mt. Lakes, Boonton,
Morris Plains & SURROUNDING AREAS OF NEW JERSEY SINCE 1957