Mary Rose Noel Ray, passed away December 23, 2012, at the Ponds in Lincolnshire, IL. She was born in 1917 on the northwest side of Chicago to Marie and Phillip Noel. As a child, she and her family raised a pet alligator, named Alexis, in their home. Alexis was a valued member of the family for 18 years. Mary graduated from Roosevelt high school in 1934 and North Park Junior college in 1936 where she was one of the first of four female cheerleaders at the North Park Junior college. She then graduated with a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Northwestern University in 1938. She was a member of Theta Sigma Phi, the national journalism sorority. After graduating, she worked at the Boy Scouts of America. In 1942 Mary Rose began a 40 year career at American Airlines beginning at Midway airport as a public relations assistant before leaving in the early 50's to work for American Airlines in downtown Chicago, transferring to O'Hare for the rest of her career. At the time, American Airlines was the only airline with a press room. She met many traveling dignitaries and Hollywood celebrities. The Archbishop of Canterbury, John Cardinal Cody, Indirah Gandhi, King Peter of Yugoslavia, King Umberto, Prince Phillip, Frank Sinatra, Helen Hayes, Carol Channing, Jimmy Stewart, Arthur Hailey, and the Dave Clark Five were just a few of the travelers that passed through Noel's office. She met Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter. In July 1979, near the end of her career, she was tasked with handling the public relations aspect of the crash of American Airlines Flight191, where 275 passengers perished. She was awarded with the press woman of the year for her work in handling of the public relations relating to the crash. That same year she handled the public relations of the hijacking of an American Airlines plane by two Serbian terrorists. She retired from American Airlines in September 1979 and continued working as a travel writer, traveling around the world. Mary Rose was once spotlighted in Glamour Magazine as one of six leaders in the newly-important career in Public Relations. She was chosen as a leader in Transportation and received many awards and citations in her long career. Mary Rose married Russell V. Ray in 1952. They resided in Libertyville, IL and wintered in Long Boat Key for many years. She was a member of the St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Libertyville, Illinois. She is survived by her brother-in-law, James L. Ray, nieces Peg Ray, Liz Miles, and Nancy Cummins, 4 great nieces, 5 great nephews, 4 great-great nieces, and 1 great-great nephew. Mary was preceded in death by her husband Russell V. Ray, her parents, brother Dick Noel and sister Patricia Noel, niece Wendy DeJaeger (?) and nephew Robert Ray. A Mass of Christian burial will be 10 a.m. January 4, 2013 at St. Joseph Church, 121 E. Maple Ave. Libertyville, IL 60048. Memorials can be made to a . Arrangements are by the Burnett-Dane Funeral Home in Libertyville. Info: 847-362-3009 or sign the guest book at

Funeral Home

Burnett-Dane Funeral Home, LTD.
120 West Park Avenue Libertyville, IL 60048

Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on Dec. 31, 2012