Noel Easton was a plumber who could build just about anything you could think of
Noel Easton, renowned family man, nature lover and occasional pyromaniac, died in his home in Rockton on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, surrounded by his loving family, at the age of 83.
Noel was born March 24, 1940, the son of Harlan J. and Edith M. (Hayter) Easton. He was a 1958 graduate of Hononegah Community High School. Early in his working years, he was set up on a date by a matchmaker named Anita Schultz. Wooed by beauty and fried chicken, he soon after married Anita’s daughter, Rita.
Noel and Rita had a long and loving marriage filled with children, hard work, springer spaniels, and at least one very tough tom cat. When they weren’t working, they were hunting, fishing, boating, golfing, riding motorcycles and other antics that helped them make the most of life. After retirement, Noel built Rita’s dream house from the ground up, assisted diligently by his friends Tom Mullvain and Bob Jordan. Designed for entertaining, their kitchen was the go-to place for every kind of major, minor and even some made-up holidays, bursting to the seams with their children, grandchildren, relatives and friends of all sorts. No one ever went thirsty or hungry on Noel’s watch, that’s for sure.
Noel was well known in the local trades as an incredibly honest, hardworking and earnest business agent for Local Plumbers and Pipefitters #23 of Rockford, IL. He believed deeply in helping others pursue strong futures through the power of unionized work. His legacy lives on through decades of career tradesmen and women who remember the time Noel spent, getting to know them and encouraging them to invest in themselves and their futures. When he retired in 2000, he left big shoes to fill.
His children can all recount stories of his uncanny ability–and ready willingness–to build just about anything they could think to ask for. Without a single corner cut, without a blueprint but with the heaviest materials known to man. Just ask the guys who last put in his pier, or anyone who has tried to move one of his homemade picnic tables.
He was generous with his time, his skills and his knowledge, sharing his tools and his plumbing advice, and passing along a love of fishing to many of his children and grandchildren. Even if he couldn’t teach them how not to get seasick, they suffered through because it was great quality time with him.
His yards and gardens were always meticulously maintained. His beloved backyard is home to countless birds, squirrels, turkeys, deer, butterflies and more—his very own Garden of Eden, and he the self-appointed park ranger.
Noel’s quick smile and contagious laugh will be dearly missed by those who knew him.
He is survived by his children, Judi (Zach Massey) Gurney, Nancy Butson, Cindy (Lynnette Sawyer) Easton, David Easton and Linnea (Ben) Moist; his sister, Garnet (Harold) Bauling, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren, several nieces and nephews, his girlfriend, Carrole Banks and his two constant companions, Freckles and Sally. He is predeceased by his wife Rita, parents, granddaughter Rachel Yuhas, grandson Christopher Jones, sister Joanne Skrede and brother Ronnie Easton.
The public visitation service for Noel Easton will be at McCorkle Funeral Home, 767 N Blackhawk Blvd, Rockton, IL 61072, on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. Central time. The funeral will follow at 11 a.m. Central time. A livestream will be available.
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