Funeral services for Mr. Jean W. Nolen, 85, of Ashland, will be today, December 26, 2013, at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Ashland with the Reverend Fred Webster officiating. Burial will follow in the Ashland City Cemetery. Mr. Nolen passed away Tuesday, December 24, 2013, at the Clay County Hospital. A lifelong resident of Clay County, Jean W. Nolen was born in Ashland in 1928 and was the last of six boys born to Judge Wilbur and Kathleen Nolen. His mother named him for Jean Valjean, the hero of "Les Miserables". Growing up, Jean and his brothers often sang together at Ashland Methodist Church and for stage shows at the Ashland Theater. He played on the football team at Clay County High School and his first job was as a soda jerk at Jordan's Drug Store on the courthouse square. After graduating from CCHS in 1946, Jean attended Jacksonville State University where he majored in physical education. Upon leaving college he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and on his return home worked at the Ford dealership in downtown Ashland. Soon thereafter Judge Nolen bought Tri-County Telephone Company, one of the largest independently-owned businesses of its type in the Southeast, providing phone service to Clay, Cleburne and Randolph counties in east Alabama. Jean joined Tri-County as plant manager and served in this capacity until his retirement in 1973 when the business was sold to Continental Telephone Company of the South, which later became part of GTE and Verizon. Jean was an active member of Ashland First United Methodist Church, serving on many different church committees through the years. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He maintained an interest in athletics throughout his life as an avid long-distance jogger and devoted follower of the Auburn Tigers. When asked about his greatest accomplishment in life, Jean would say that raising seven children ranked at the top of his list. He also would say that if he could give one piece of advice to today's generation it would be to love the Lord. He is survived by his wife, Gail L. Nolen, of Ashland; two daughters, Nina Nolen Hobdy (Brady), of Ashland, and Lynn Nolen Thomas (Marty), of Chelsea; five sons, Jean Warren Nolen Jr. (Dianne), of West Point, Ga., Russell Nolen, of Auburn, David Nolen (Tina), of Ashland, Steven Nolen (Michelle), of Kennesaw, Ga., and Cary Nolen (Tonya), of Lineville; one brother, Dan Richard "Dick" Nolen CDN USN (Ret.), of Ashland; 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Wilbur Bernard Nolen and Kathleen Estelle Moody Nolen; his wife, Bonnie Adams Nolen; four brothers, Wilbur B. Nolen Jr., DeForest M. Nolen, Jack M. Nolen and Charles W. Nolen. Pallbearers will be Jean Warren Nolen Jr., Russell Nolen, David Nolen, Steven Nolen, Cary Nolen, Marty Thomas, Brady Hobdy and Stan Brooks. The family will receive friends at the First United Methodist Church in Ashland today, December 26, 2013, from 1 p.m. until service time. Flowers will be accepted, however; the family prefers that memorial contributions be made to the First United Methodist Church of Ashland. Friends and Family may share memories or leave condolences at www.benefieldfuneralhome.com. Benefield Funeral Home of Ashland is in charge of the arrangements.
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Benefield Funeral Home
89076 Hwy 9
Lineville, AL 36266
Published in The Anniston Star on Dec. 26, 2013