Lena (Lee) Vermeille Lide Noland, 89, stepped into eternity to spend Christmas with our Savior on December 25, 2019.
She is survived by four children and their spouses: Rev. Doug (Penny) Noland, Dr. Tom (Robin) Noland, Dr. Ed (Cathy) Noland, and Robyn Noland (Rev. Stuart) Condra; two sisters: Dr. Ilda Hall and Bobbie Sweeney; eight grandchildren; nine great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Lee is preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Dr. Robert (Bob) Noland and her grandson, Charles.
Lee was born July 9, 1930, in Abbeville, South Carolina. After completing high school, in spite of missing a year while convalescing with rheumatic fever, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Furman University and her Master’s of Religious Education degree from Southwestern Seminary. During her seminary years, her parents moved from South Carolina to serve at Seminole Heights Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida. Her seminary degree prepared her to serve as Education Director at two different churches between 1953 to 1955.
Lee met her future husband while on a Christmas break in Tampa. Soon she began praying earnestly about whether or not Bobby Noland was God’s man for her life. When God called her from happily serving in a Texas church to serve at First Baptist Church Carrollton, Georgia, 49 miles from where Bob was studying dentistry at Emory, she had her answer. In 1955 she took a high school teaching position in Atlanta to be closer to Bob. They married on June 16, 1956, and wasted no time having their four children by 1961.
Lee was a gifted wife and homemaker, making family her top priority. Her tables were always beautifully set and she loved to sew for her family and home. She enjoyed reading and as a teacher at heart, Lee read daily with her little ones. She trained them spiritually by modeling both Martha hands and a Mary heart – somehow balancing sitting at Jesus’ feet with serving as the consummate hostess. She taught her kids important lessons like, “It’s not yours until you write the thank you note!” and “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Meanwhile, Lee maintained her personal ministry and calling by teaching in both local and state Sunday School conferences and by serving as a trainer for Continuous Witness Training (CWT) in four additional states.
As important as family was to her, Lee had to be “encouraged” (coerced) to participate in family activities involving water or wind, especially if she had just been to the beauty shop. However, she was tough when the chips were down; a fighter in her own way, having survived many life-threatening health issues. In 1990 Lee was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Her doctors prepared her for the worst when they reported 19 lymph nodes had been affected. God had other plans and Lee recovered to lead a large, effective cancer support group that blessed many women fighting this difficult battle.
Lee treated her “daughters-in-love” and her “favorite son-in-law” like her own, welcoming each one into the family with eager love. She loved them unconditionally and felt no greater joy than when any of her family called or came to visit.
As a pastor’s kid (PK) and part of “The Greatest Generation,” Lee held scruples others might consider outdated. Once, when Tom was invited to lead worship for a revival at First Baptist Church, Gulf Breeze, his wife, Robin, forgot to put her dress clothes in the car and had nothing to wear for the week of services. She borrowed an outfit for Sunday morning, but wanted to go to the mall to buy clothes for the rest of the week since the proverbial ox was in a seriously deep ditch. A reluctant Lee went with her but insisted on staying in the dressing room so no one would see her at a mall on a Sunday. When Lee came out of hiding she found fellow church members standing at the cash register.
Lee eventually became legally blind but always amazed the family with the things she DID see such as spots on shirts or Bob putting things in the wrong place. She could still direct us to her doctor’s office or the nearest Wendy’s for chicken nuggets and a Frosty.
As talented and smart as Lee was, there were many things she could not do:
*Tell a joke;
*Tell a story quickly;
*Stop asking questions;
*Know when someone was pulling her leg;
*Say “no” to chocolate or peanut brittle;
*Say “no” to someone in need; and,
Lee was a member of First Baptist Church Gulf Breeze, FL, for 60 years where she served as a Sunday School Director for many years as well as serving on multiple committees and singing in the choir. Fiercely dedicated to her church family, she was among them for Christmas Eve service the night before she passed.
The Noland family would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to the staff of The Beehive for taking such exceptional care of “Lena,” especially since Bob’s death in July, 2019.
The family is also grateful to the members of First Baptist Church Gulf Breeze who have stayed in touch and visited Lee.
Visitation for Lee will be held at 10:00 a.m. at Rose Lawn Funeral Home until the funeral service at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Jeff Spooneybarger officiating. The family suggests placing donations to the missions fund of First Baptist Church Gulf Breeze. The church requests that “In memory of Lee Noland” be noted on all donations.