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Noel Shank 1951-2018
Noel Shank 1951-2018

Noel Harold Shank died Oct. 28, 2018, in Topeka, Kansas, at University of Kansas Health Center, St. Francis Campus. Noel had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, which spread to his liver.

Noel was born Aug. 27, 1951, in Hoisington, Kansas, the only child of Harold and Marjorie (Miller) Shank, and always lived in Kansas. He spent most of his school years in Pawnee Rock, and then earned a B.A. in sociology from Fort Hays State University. After selling life insurance until 1983, Noel spent the rest his career with the state agency now called the Department for Children and Families, and he retired at the end of June in Hiawatha. During his work life he also worked and/or lived in Garden City, Hays, Great Bend, St. John, Medicine Lodge, Coldwater, and Horton. Noel always was a strong advocate for his clients and took time to help his colleagues.

From childhood Noel had a lasting love of reading, and favorite topics included history, politics, and science fiction. He had a lifelong affection for music, became a talented guitar player, and played with various friends and groups, traveling with “The Night Winds” and “Freddy Fox and the Hotrods” for many years. Noel was known for being loyal to friends and staying in touch.

Noel is survived by his cousin Jolynn, her husband John Schartz, and their six children: Jorja Houk, Jean Main, Joan Swanson, J.P. Schartz, Jeff Schartz, and Judy Miller; by the children of cousin Reva Taylor: Sim Taylor and Shanda Mull; and by the children of stepmother Colleen Powell-Shank: Connie Shomaker and David Powell.

A celebration of the life of Noel Shank will be from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, January 26, 2019, at the Minisa Park community facility at 704 West 13th Street North in Wichita. Email for more information.

Published in the Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Dec. 16, 2018