REVEREND DONALD CLAUDE NOEL, O. PRAEM.
Our brother, Reverend Donald Claude Noel, O. Praem., age 78, a member of the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey, De Pere, Wisconsin and a Norbertine priest, passed into God’s eternal kingdom on November 21, 2008.
Father Noel was born on August 2, 1930 in Blue Island, Illinois to Peter and Pauline (Derdzinski) Korzenecki. His home parish was Assumption B.V.M. Parish, Chicago, Illinois.
In 1948, Father Noel graduated from St. Willibrord High School, Chicago, Illinois. Father Noel attended Quigley Minor Seminary in Chicago and St. Mary of the Lakes Major Seminary at Mundelein, Illinois before receiving a B.A. degree in Philosophy from St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin in 1957 and an M.A. in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1963. He furthered his educational pursuits at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Rosary College Graduate School of Fine Arts at the Villa Schifanoia in Florence, Italy, from which he received an M.A. in Sculpture in 1983.
Upon entering St. Norbert Abbey, he was vested as a novice on August 28, 1954. He professed Simple Vows on August 28, 1956, Solemn Vows on August 28, 1959 and was ordained to the Priesthood on September 2, 1959.
Over a period of twenty years Father Noel worked as librarian and media director in the Norbertine Order’s high schools in Green Bay, De Pere and Philadelphia, at the University of Notre Dame, and at Northwestern Michigan College. Father served as Associate Pastor at St. Willibrord Parish, Chicago, Illinois and was a faculty member in the art department at St. Willibrord High School. He traveled from coast to coast to speak about the mission work of his fellow Norbertines in Peru, the Caribbean, Mexico, India and Africa.
In 1983 he launched the Open Sea Sculpture Studio in Green Bay where he specialized in figurative sculptures. Several of his works are in civic and private collections. In 2000 he conducted extensive research on the skull of St. Norbert of Xanten at Strahov Abbey in Prague, to compile an authentic portrait of the Order’s founder.
Fr. Noel published a collection of sixty-four biographies of people who influenced Green Bay, De Pere, and the Midwest from the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico from 1634 – 1734. The book chronicles the first meeting of the native peoples and the Europeans who came here for exploration and trade.
Father Noel is survived by the Norbertine Community; one sister, Margaret Matson; one brother, Gerald (Virginia); one sister-in-law, Christine; one brother-in-law, Frank Groszek.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Loretta Groszek and Sr. Edna; three brothers, Thomas, Irwin and Peter.
Burial will be in the St. Norbert Cemetery.
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