Lakewood Mayor Ray Coles Announces Passing of His Mother, Noreen

Mayor Ray Coles: We lost my mom Noreen on Friday. Well, we really lost her many months ago as Alzheimer’s slowly stole her away.

I volunteered to select the pictures to display at her service tomorrow. I spent all afternoon Friday pouring through literally thousands of family photos spanning 70 years or so.

What struck me most was her smile She was smiling in every picture I found of her. Not just posed pictures, but random shots, many of which I’m sure she didn’t know were being taken. If she had, we may never have seen them!

Watching her life progress from the mid 1950’s when she married dad to a couple Christmas’s ago, holding Gwenn, her second great grand child, brought back the mom I thought was gone forever.

It brought me back to the Catskill Game Farm in the mid 60’s, when we watched as a goat was eating her purse while she laughed along with us, completely unware of why my sisters and I were laughing so hard.

I found a moment I was unaware of, the look of joy on her face as she gazed at my first born, Caitlin, through the nursey window.

Dancing with dad on their 50th and so many many more.

The pain of her loss is still fresh, but seeing the still images of her paint a picture of a life well lived, a life full of happiness and love gave me a sense of peace which I hope will carry us as we adjust to life without her.


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  1. Dear Mayor, our sincere condolences to you and to your family. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures to celebrate her life. It’s a big lesson in always having having the right attitude.
    I’m sure she will keep on smiling for years looking down from above at her upstanding progeny. May you find comfort in reminiscing her life and may she RIP.

  2. You can tell that your mom must have been such a special woman based on the caliber of son she raised. Her memory should be a blessing!

  3. Dear Mayor Coles – my deepest condolences to you and your entire family. It is so difficult to lose a family member to Alzheimer’s because when they pass away you are losing them for a second time. The first time was invisible to most people – no one could fully understand the void, the sadness when someone you love so much doesn’t know who you are; when someone you love doesn’t connect to the same story you shared for so long….I wrote a poem / song about this. One day I will share it with you.
    I hope you will find peace in all the wonderful, good, fun and beautiful memories you have of your dearest Mother, Noreen….

  4. Dear Mayor Coles, We’d like to express our sympathy for your loss. It sounds like your mother was a wonderful person. May you find comfort.

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