Dolores L. Noll
1930 - 2019
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Dolores L. Noll

Dolores L. Noll, 88, a pioneer in gay and lesbian issues at Kent State University died Tuesday, January 8, 2019 in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

Dolores was born August 14, 1930 in Fairfield, Iowa, and raised in Berea, Ky. She was one of two children of the late Waldemere Noll and the late Nell Scovel Noll. She was a member of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dolores and her partner of 37 years Pat Hatfield lived in an assisted living center in South Carolina. Dolores Noll had severe dementia. Pat remembers, and speaks fondly of her partner. To her, Dolores was a compassionate, kind and funny woman with a habit of always needing to be in charge. Dolores Noll was the first Kent State University Diversity Trailblazer Award recipient to Professor Emeritus of English. The award was presented to Dr. Noll by Dr. Lester Lefton and Kent State's Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Alfreda Brown in 2010.

Dolores Noll was a national pioneer in gay and lesbian issues, Noll was an early contributor to Kent State's own history of supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender studies. That history goes back to 1972, when Noll became the first professor to teach a gay and lesbian issues course at Kent State. She was also a co-founder and adviser to the Kent Gay Liberation Front, now called PRIDE! Kent, one of the oldest gay rights student organizations in the country.

Her sister, Leonore Walters, preceded her in death; Dolores is survived by her partner of 37 years, Pat F. Hatfield of Mount Pleasant, S.C. and brother-in-law, Douglas Walters of Chicago, Ill.

A memorial service will be held Tuesday, January 15, 2019 in The Palms of Mt. Pleasant, 937 Bowman Road, Mount Pleasant, S.C. at 2 p.m. Arrangements by J. HENRY STUHR, INC. MOUNT PLEASANT CHAPEL.

Memorials may be made to the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina, P. O. Box 20998, Charleston, SC 29413.

A memorial message may be sent to the family by visiting our website at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Akron Beacon Journal on Jan. 11, 2019.
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November 18, 2020
Excuse me... All that I wrote about before is a little hint of Dolores' historical importance. I want to add a little more as a personal note.

One of the most amusing things she'd say was "how's your love life" as a greeting. It had a noninvasive feel... and was important for a young college student to hear. She did it with a twinkle in her eyes!

We kept in touch over the years. I so wish that I'd known she moved to S. Carolina, as I would have visited despite her difficulties. I ended up studying Psychology at U of Michigan after dropping out from the Kent State shootings, which she understood but tried to discourage.

My last time with Dolores was during a solo exhibition's reception in the spacious Columbus Cultural Arts Center. Imagine my surprise when she came through the door. That's quite a drive for an evening event. We spoke but a little, with her telling me that she was joining a nunnery. I suppose now that I've found out her tale yesterday, thanks to one of her kind minister friends, it was the dementia speaking. I regret not asking her for details, only thinking that this was a withdrawal from the world that outsiders were not supposed to interrupt. My error.

To sum it up, Dolores was wise, generous, kind and an influencer of the finest kind. As one of her straight friends, I appreciated her input, her welcoming me into her life, and her comment in later years of "you used to apologize for breathing". Just that one jewel helped me immeasurably. Now I a more confident person (I show in museums) and, lately, a science fiction novelist (through with my first in a series). I credit so much to her.

My deepest sympathies to all who love her. I do too. I hope you get to read this as those endearing stories are treasures kept close to the heart.

Nancy "Benny Benua/Benny Alba (nom de brush)/B. A. Vippitt (nom de plume). Feel free to contact me, easily found under Benny Alba.
Nancy "Benny" Benua/Benny Alba Benua
February 13, 2019
I met Dolores in 2003, as a student at Kent State. At the time I was photo editor for the first publication of Fusion, the new LGBTQ student magazine. We wrote an article on Dolores that was going to be in the first edition, and include an update of where she was now. After learning about her and all the amazing things she had done for gay rights in the 70's, I was excited and a bit nervous to meet her. We decided to meet in front of a UCC church near campus. They were having a pumpkin fundraiser for the fall season and she was helping out that day. She had one of her pets with her, a sweet and gentle dog named Peanut, and I began talking with her and taking pictures. I remember she was extremely warm and kind and made me feel right at ease. She even made jokes and made me laugh. After I shot a whole roll of film and felt I had gotten some good pictures for the article, I went to say goodbye- then suddenly she said would you like to walk my dog? At first, I thought that was an odd request, seeing as how I had just met her, and I was still a stranger really. But then I figured if she trusted me to take her dog for a walk, then that was a good sign and so I did. After that she invited me over to her house to watch a movie. Again, that seemed strange to me, but she had such a gentle and kind spirit, so I said yes to that as well and ended up going to her house. After that, I got to meet her partner Pat and her large family of cats. And the rest was history.

Later she meet my partner Sara and we all became fast friends. God brought us together, and a wonderful friendship ensued. I'm sure Dolores had many friends and knew many people, but to me, she was the wonderful out and proud family member I always wanted- like my special "gay grandmother". We went on hikes, and had many dinners and played scrabble, puzzles and a dictionary game (she always won), played badminton, and went on picnics. Usually ice cream from Handles was always on the menu- so we did that often. We talked about many things, but mostly it centered around religion, politics, God and love. She wasn't afraid of questions and was an honest soul seeking the truth. She was the best story teller- strong, funny, and very intelligent. When Dolores and Pat moved out of state, I was really sad to see them go. Now that she has passed on, I find peace in the thought and strong conviction that she's gotten to meet God face to face. And now she finally knows the fullness of Truth and Love she was seeking.

I will miss you forever Dolores! Till we meet again some day in that beautiful heavenly place over yonder~

With all my love, Samara Peddle & Sara Schwendeman
Samara Peddle
February 1, 2019
Our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Noll. We are deeply saddened to lose such a champion of civil liberties and social justice.

The Staff of the ACLU of South Carolina
Katie Leo
January 17, 2019
Although it's been years since I last saw and talked to Dolores at a KGLF alumni reunion, she has always been a presence in my life. I first met her at the KGLF's organizational meeting in the old Student Union on the KSU Front Campus in 1972. I sat in the very back row, so nervous that i had to place my cup of coffee on the floor so it wouldn't spill. Dolores talked to me after the meeting, calmed me down and kept me coming back as I came out. She understood me. For a time we even went out to local high schools and talked to their students about being gay and what it meant to come out. I left Kent and the KGLF in late 1974 but I never forgot what Dr. Noll did for me. At the KGLF alumni reunion she and I reminisced not only about what the organization had achieved but also who we had since lost. I especially remember her talking about David Goodenough and Michael Wingrat, both of whom were very special to both of us. i wasn't the only one for whom Dr. Noll made a difference. Thank you, Dolores, you'll always be in my heart.
Michael Pierce
January 17, 2019
I met Dolores at one of the first KGLF meeting in the old Student Union on KSU's Front Campus in 1972. I sat in the back nervously holding a cup of coffee that eventually I had to place on the floor so I wouldn't spill it. Dolores talked to me after that meeting, calmed me down, and kept me coming back...which made all the difference in my coming out. Eventually, I even drove with Dolores to speak to various local high school classes in the Kent area about being gay and coming out. At the time she understood me better than I understood myself. I worked with her until I left Kent in 1974. I last saw her at one of the KGLF alumni reunions years ago and we talked about the old days and the people we had since lost. Now she, too, is gone, but like them, she was and will always remain unforgettable and a most important person in my life. Thank you again, Dr. Noll.
January 17, 2019
Michael Pierce
January 16, 2019
Dolores was a fearless colleague well ahead of her time. Kent State continues to benefit from her pioneering contributions to LGBTQ studies.

Wayne Kvam, Emeritus Prof., Kent State University
Wayne Kvam
January 14, 2019
I remember many, many moments with Dolores.
They remain a favorite "album" to which I often return. My thoughts are with her friends and family at the epicenter of this loss.
What a fine, bright, singular life.
So happy to have shared a stretch
in her orbit.
Suzanne Holt
January 13, 2019
Our sincere condolences to Dolores'family. We're sorry for her loss. She was an excellent colleague in the English Dept. at Kent State University and we remember her fondly.

Sanford E. Marovitz, Prof Emeritus
Nora Marovitz
January 12, 2019
I consider myself fortunate to have known Dolores Noll and to have benefited from her important legacy. I met her after she retired from Kent, when we were starting the first LGBTQ Studies program in the state of Ohio. This work would not have happened if not for the brave and pioneering actions of Dolores, who taught one of the first LGBTQ Studies courses in the world--in 1972 when she offered Gay Womanhood. Because of her efforts in creating courses and one of the first LGBTQ student organizations at any university, Kent State University continues to be a welcoming home for LGBTQ students.

More importantly, I was lucky enough to be a friend to Dolores. I would visit her when she lived in Ohio, and loved how funny, self-effacing and spiritual she was. I savor those times and regret I didn't have more time with her. After she was awarded the first Diversity Trailblazer Award, she was invited back to help establish our LGBTQ Student Center. It was during these months that I got to witness how compassionate and caring she was with our students--and they loved her in return. She was truly a stunning person.
Molly Merryman
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