Mary Claire Watson "MC" Noakes
The beautiful force known as Mary Claire Noakes, 81, formerly of Lake Luzerne, passed away peacefully April 21, 2023, at the home of her daughter & son-in-law with her family by her side.
Mary Claire was born on December 9,1941, in Utica NY, the daughter of the late honorable J.P. Robert P. Watson & Kathleen Morck Watson. She was a graduate of Holland Patent Central School in 1959 with a passion for teaching, so off she went to Plattsburgh State College where she earned her bachelor's degree in education and also worked post graduate 60+ hours toward her master’s degree.
While in Plattsburgh, she met her first husband, married, and started a family together and subsequently made a home in Lake Luzerne New York. She is the beloved mother to Jeannie, John Brian and Jeffrey, stepmom to Johnny and cherished "like a mom" to countless other children over the years.
It was in Lake Luzerne that a large part of Mary Claire's story is told. Mary Claire taught elementary education for many years at Hadley-Luzerne Central School, but that simply wouldn't be enough for her. Her passion led her to have her fingers in so many facets of the school district, working closely with the student teachers at HL, taking them under her wing and passing along her inside secrets. She also loved to welcome the newest faculty members, much like a big sister or favorite aunt, again showing them the ropes as only MC could, opening her famous supply closet or asking them to join her family for dinners to really initiate them to the area. Along with the classroom, Mary Claire guided students in various other areas: cheerleading coach, tennis coach, yearbook advisor, assisting the drama department and notably keeping any H-L kids in line with her "nearly silent" whistle.
She had a passion for passing along knowledge and giving a hand up to a struggling student. She positively affected many students throughout the years, helping them find their paths. In 1996 she was listed in The Who's Who Among American Teachers, of which she was so proud, because she was nominated by her own students. Mary Claire learned from the "old school" faculty and ruled with an iron fist, that quite often had a soft glove on it. Her students knew she was teaching them right from wrong, but they also knew she cared and wanted them to succeed.
In 1988 she married her beloved partner and love of her life Alan V. "Al" Noakes on Jan 30th, and together they enjoyed life to the fullest, running their motel Luzerne Court & Red Lion Coffee Shop for many years after her retirement. During those years of bliss, she could often be found working side by side with Alan on most of the construction/rehab projects on their home and business of which were many. She was in the "home make over business" long before it was en vogue. Together she and Alan enjoyed photography and were honored to capture many weddings, birthdays & special moments for family & friends.
Mary Claire was an active community leader & member of various civic groups. She was a active communicant at Holy Infancy Parish in Lake Luzerne for many years and later joined the Holy Mother & Child Parish in Corinth, serving both parishes in many capacities including eucharistic minister & altar boy/girl director.
Mary Claire is fondly remembered by many families in the Lake Luzerne area for her work as Director of the Summer Recreation Program, overseeing the lifeguards for the public beaches and arranging activities, movies, meals and field trips for students during the summer months.
In 1972 she was inducted as a member of Alpha Epsilon Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. This is a society of leading women educators which impacts the education of women and children worldwide. Mary Claire proudly maintained her membership for 51 years and held varied leadership roles and participated in all chapter activities.
Mary Claire began her journey of service with Lions Club International in approximately 1983, serving with pride and distinction 1st as a Lioness and then Lion in the Hadley-Luzerne Lions Club. She was a Charter Member of the H-L Lioness Club as well as past President & Secretary. She served as past President of the Glens Falls Lions Club as well as Zone & Region Chair for the MD 20 District Y2 multiple years, Cabinet Secretary 2008-2009, Region N Chairperson from 2002-2005, Cabinet Treasurer 2007-2009, Cabinet Secretary 2008-2009, Cabinet Photographer for multiple District Conventions, she was the recipient of the RJ Uplinger Award, The Melvin Jones Fellowship and in 2013 she received the Brandel-Murphy Miracles Through Service Award of which she was so proud. Needless to say, she was a shining example of the slogan "Where there is need Lions Serve".
Mary Claire was also a charter member of the Lake Luzerne Fall Festival Committee that began in the 1970's which organized annual parades and began a nationally sanctioned bicycle road race, working with the noted creators of the Adirondack Balloon Festival, Walter & Joan Grishkot.
One of her most noted and wonderful lasting achievements was the creation of the fundraising program, Santa Sprint, which began as part of Lions Quest, that help the disadvantaged children in her community. It began with just her 6th grade class and grew to include the entire Hadley-Luzerne Elementary School where students would raise money to purchase new wrapped toys, clothing and a healthy Holiday meal for area kids and their families. People affected by this generosity number in the thousands and generations of students fondly speak of the work the accomplished for their classmates and families with Mrs. Noakes.
In her free time, Mary Claire enjoyed making people of all ages happy. She was at her happiest with a house or yard full of family and friends, entertaining with yummy food and frivolity. Her creativity was contagious, and she loved to share her passion for quilting, often inviting friends and strangers alike to her quilting den to be awed by her work. There are many, many beautiful & cherished quilts out there and are sweet reminders of her love and connection to the recipients. She was a beloved member of the Peacemakers Quilt Guild and the Wings Falls Quilt Guild. Upon retirement, Mary Claire also enjoyed traveling the globe with her beloved partner Alan, anywhere the whim would take them, from Maine to Seattle and California, London, Gaeta Italy, Rome and river cruises throughout Europe and they were often joined in these adventures by her beloved sister-in-law Gladys of Eastham, London England.
She is predeceased by her parents, her husband Alan Noakes & stepson James "Butch" Chapman.
Survivors include her children: Jeannie (Greg) Russell of Bolton Landing, John Brian (Shannon) Shattuck of Port Orchard, WA, Jeffrey C. Shattuck of Lake Luzerne; stepson, John Noakes of Lake Luzerne; grandchildren; Robert "Rob" Shattuck, Mason Shattuck, Jason D. Shattuck; one great granddaughter soon to arrive in September; brother, John R. Watson of Syracuse; sister-in-law, Gladys Blacker of Eastham, London, England; nephews, Bobby Watson & Josh Watson of Syracuse, Mick Blacker of Eastham, London, England; and grandnephew Xander Watson of Syracuse, dear cousins Leigh Watson (Greg) D'Agostino of New Hartford & Ann Morck of Amsterdam. She has also left to cherish her memory, her dear friend and partner in Lions, church and life's adventures, Joan Scott of Lake Luzerne, and special friend & caregiver Terry Russo of Brant Lake, both who have become members of her family. The family would like to express their gratitude for the thoughtful and caring support of the High Peaks Hospice nurses, most especially Lisa Bolton and the Hudson Headwaters Homeward Bound Program Dr Mary Stein.
Friends may call Tuesday, May 23 from 3-6 pm at Brewer Funeral Home, Inc., 24 Church Street, Lake Luzerne
A memorial mass will be held Wednesday, May 24 at 12 noon at Holy Mother & Child Parish, Palmer Ave., Corinth. A reception to follow immediately at the Hitching Post Restaurant 1256 State Route 9N Lake Avenue, Lake Luzerne.
Friends and family are urged to come and share a laugh & story or two of how the "Experience" known as MC touched their lives.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Alzheimer's Association, the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society's Scholarship program, the American Heart Association, Lion's Club International, High Peaks Hospice, or a Scholarship Program of your choice.
To express online condolences, please visit www.brewermillerfuneralhomes.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Claire Noakes, please visit our floral store.