Monday, November 22, 2010

John H. Noyes: 1922 to 2010

John Noyes, age 87, of Kennett Square, PA and Wilmington, DE, passed away on November 18, 2010. He was a devoted family man, churchman, artist, naval officer, and marketing and communications professional.

Born in Akron, OH to Eugene and Marian Noyes, he was a competitive swimmer and active in scouting – the youngest Eagle Scout in Akron Council history. He served as an instructor at the Boy Scout and Red Cross national aquatic schools, and visited Washington, DC with Akron Area Boy Scouts in 1936, after the National Jamboree was cancelled by a polio epidemic. Graduating from Western Reserve Academy, he entered Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and received his BA in 1944.

Commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy in early 1944, he served as communications and sonar officer aboard
USS Shannon, a high-speed destroyer-minelayer. He saw action at Iwo Jima (where he witnessed the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi), Okinawa, the East China Sea, and the occupation of Japan. The Shannon was the first U.S. Navy ship to enter Nagasaki after the atom bomb, and symbolically accepted the Japanese commandant's surrender. He was promoted to Lt. (JG), and wrote, illustrated, and published a history of his ship, Saga Shannon.

His 60-year career as a man of letters and graphics expression spanned several pursuits. Immediately after World War II, he worked as a reporter, editor, radio newscaster, and capital fund-raiser for Wesleyan. Joining DuPont in 1955, his 30 years as a marketing and communications executive included product lines that ranged from textiles and elastomers to analytical and process instruments, hyper-pure silicon, and exotic metals. As a DuPont spokesman, he spoke on the company's corporate mission and philosophy, and the importance of scientific research. After DuPont, he pursued three overlapping, follow-on careers as president of Noyes Associates, Inc. (a marketing and communications firm); as a consultant with Monkman International (high tech consulting and management); and for 15 years as a professional model and actor in print and TV advertisements. He also served as an officer and director of two family-owned newspapers: the Marinette (WI)
Eagle-Star and Ironwood (MI) Daily Globe.

John's faith, family, and service to others were most important for him. He was a direct descendant of The Rev. James Noyes, who immigrated to Massachusetts in 1634. James' son became the senior founding trustee of Yale University, and its first chaplain. John was a lifelong Episcopalian and member, since the late 1950s, of Christ Church Christiana Hundred, where he sang in the St. Cecelia Choir for 29 years. He served as a vestryman (two terms), lay reader, Eucharistic minister and visitor, and on many committees, including chair of the Every Member Canvas and of the Liturgy Committee. He also served two terms on the Diocesan Council, chaired its Outreach Division, and was a long-time member of the diocesan editorial board.

Thanks to the Academy of Lifelong Learning at the University of Delaware, he became an avid and accomplished artist, with more than 50 finished oil paintings and several public shows. He was also a world traveler, mostly in retirement years, and visited much of the United States, Europe, the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Russia, Japan, China, Thailand, Australia, and Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.

In 1951, John married Clarabel Grier (Chinx) of Middletown, OH. They have four children: Nancy (husband Captain Evan Robinson, USN, retired); Janet (life partner Barbara Dakota); Thomas (wife Lore); and Frank (wife Christine); five direct grandchildren: Virginia and Nicholas Robinson; and Patrick, Tyler and Tara Noyes; and a step-granddaughter Teneik Martin.

A Memorial Service will be held at Christ Church Christiana Hundred, Greenville, DE, on Saturday, November 27, at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be offered to the Kendal Reserve Fund, Kendal at Longwood, Kennett Square, PA, and Christ Church, Christiana Hundred, Greenville, DE.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Greens as the Defenders of Civilization

Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, writes on page one of his book, Whole Earth Discipline:
Activist Bill McKibben recently noted: “The environmental movement has morphed steadily into the climate change movement.” That means that Greens are no longer strictly the defenders of natural systems against the incursions of civilization; now they’re the defenders of civilization as well. It’s a whiplash moment for everyone.
So much of the resistance to acting on climate change comes from fears that shifting to green energy will reduce our standard of living. To the contrary, I see green energy as protecting our standard of living from environmental degradation and the inevitable rising cost of fossil fuels. I don't think many people would see the point of rebuilding our energy economy if only polar bear habitats were at risk. I worry more about human habitats, including the thousands of homes in Delaware's coastal floodplains that will be lost when the seas rise.

I would like more opponents of action on climate change to see that it's not the polar bears we're worried about. And I would like environmentalists to get better at talking about protecting human systems, and not just natural systems.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bridging the Gap on Climate Change

I'm back from my brief hiatus from blogging, looking at a more difficult political landscape (except in Delaware, of course).

Tom Toles offers this glum perspective on
bridging the gap between climate activists and the denial crowd.
It is a sharp divide. Bridging it will require some rethinking on both sides of the chasm—a subject I intend to discuss. Mind you, I am not one who thinks the truth lies somewhere in the middle. But I do believe we have to take a fresh look at the issue. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Time Away

I am taking the week off from blogging to attend to other matters. While I do, may I suggest reading books?

I find it useful to break away from the ceaseless chatter of our public discourse and delve into the larger universe of ideas that can be found on a bookshelf. You might too.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Return Day, Civility and the Delaware Way

The News Journal reports that Christine O’Donnell didn’t quite catch the spirit of the occasion on Return Day:
After the ceremonial hatchet was buried, O'Donnell remained on the offensive, saying in an interview that the Republican Party and U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, who lost to O'Donnell in a bitter Republican primary, threw the first negative punch. She then made an issue that Castle left the stage before the hatchet was buried.

"It needs to be pointed out that they blew out the Delaware Way long before we did," O'Donnell said. "The Delaware Way was about who the party anoints to run for office, as opposed to who the people choose to run for office. One change that came from this is the people will now decide, and I think that's a great thing."
Begging your pardon, Ms. O’Donnell, but voters here have been deciding primary elections since well before you came along. Recently, for instance, there was a tightly contested Democratic primary for governor, which despite some dire warnings, did not tear the party apart. Instead, I distinctly remember John Carney voicing his support for Jack Markell without even a moment's hesitation. Two years later, Carney is heading to Congress, and Delaware Democrats are stronger than ever. Maybe there’s something to this civility thing after all.

One official at Return Day offered this defense of our political folkways:
Georgetown Mayor Brian Pettyjohn, a Republican, used his prepared remarks during the ceremony as an opportunity to rebut O'Donnell's accusation that politics is about backroom deals and cronyism.

"I've heard a lot this year about the Delaware Way and how bad it is for our state," Pettyjohn said. "The Delaware Way is a realization that we live in a small state. We live in a state where you may have gone to school with your opponent. It may be your neighbor. It may be your friend, or you may be related to your opponent."
One of the bloggers at Delaware Politics put up a post titled “The Blame Game,” which prompted a long series of comments from Jonathon Moseley, who identifies himself as O’Donnell’s 2008 campaign manager. In the course of a long diatribe, Moseley uses variations on the phrase “stab in the back” four times, says Delaware's failure to embrace O'Donnell has hit “a raw nerve far beyond Delaware,” and goes on to ask the rhetorical question, “Why did conservatives nationwide jump in to play in your Delaware sandbox?”

Mr. Moseley, Delaware is a state, not a sandbox. Return Day may seem anachronistic to some who like their politics rude and raw, but the custom is an important part of our tradition of self government that dates back to before the time when Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution.

Rudeness and incivility are not emblems of sincerity of belief, but of rudeness and incivility. Self-government requires that we be able to submit to the legitimate authority of government, even if it means being polite to those with whom we disagree.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Delaware Stands Firm against the Wave

There was no enthusiasm gap in Delaware. In the face of a nationwide wave election, Delaware Democrats turned back the tea party insurgency, and even gained two seats in the state House of Representatives.

There was little doubt that Chris Coons would defeat Christine O’Donnell. But her primary election did more than turn a likely GOP pickup into a sure thing for the Democrats. Her godawful campaign created a reverse coattail effect. Democrats were fired up, and independents and even Republicans turned away from the GOP all the way down the ballot. John Carney carried nearly as many votes as Chris Coons, and Glen Urquhart only managed to poll one percentage point better than O'Donnell. After two decades as state auditor, Tom Wagner, barely hung on as the last statewide Republican standing, beating Richard Korn by 2,606 votes.

In addition to Coons and Carney, the big winner last night was Jack Markell, who ended the night with a stronger majority in the House, and maintains a bulletproof majority in the Senate, notwithstanding the defeat of one senator, Nancy Cook. I don't think many Democratic governors ended the night with a stronger majority in their legislatures.

Based on her grating concession speech, we will still have Christine O'Donnell to kick around. She seems to think that Coons should do what she would have done had she won. Perhaps we will see O'Donnell start a political action committee, and we will be subjected to an endless tea party campaign here in Delaware.

The big loser last night was the Delaware Republican Party, which is left in near total disarray. The establishment leaders will be able to say "I told you so," while the insurgents are not likely to let up.

I'm wondering when we might see the center right bloggers emerge from their undisclosed locations. The opponents of O'Donnell and Urquhart went into hiding after the primary. Delaware Politics, which once billed itself as the center right's voice in Delaware, is now the voice of the far right. When will we see Delaware Republican Record and Delaware Tomorrow again? With the Delaware GOP in such wretched shape, it may be the day after tomorrow.