Obituary: Noelle Tenedou-Levine, 80, of Ridgefield

Noelle Tenedou-Levine
Noelle Tenedou-Levine

Noelle Tenedou-Levine, age 80, passed away at her home in Ridgefield, on October 11, after a long illness. She was born in 1938, in Manhattan, to Oonah Dempsey and Henry “Harry” Tenedou.

Noelle grew up in Irvington, New Jersey, the oldest of three sisters, and the leader of a wild pack of neighborhood children. Her rebelliousness, she often asserted, sprang from her Basque and Irish ancestry, of which she was proud. In between touring Europe, Canada, and the United States by motorcycle in her youth, she attended NYU and lived in New York City. There, Noelle became a social worker, helping families in the poorest parts of the city.

She had a lifelong love of philosophy, poetry, art, nature, and world travel; she always said that the beauty of the Canadian Rockies caused her to think differently about the world. Her circle of friends included many New York artists who viewed her as a kindred spirit. Throughout her life, Noelle was deeply committed to human rights and social justice, marching at numerous rallies and protests, including recent Women’s Marches.

She met her husband Paul on a hike, when they found out they shared a common birthday — a fact Noelle originally suspected was made up, but which turned out to be true. She married him in 1974, in a green dress on a cliff overlooking Lake Minnewaska. She had two children, Simone and Alex. Noelle and Paul eventually moved to Ridgefield, where she was a major force within the PTA, bringing events to the schools that exposed children to a larger world of culture and ideas. She found life in Connecticut to be a joy, savoring the opportunities to see movies, experience new restaurants, and share in the company of her many loyal friends. She also created and nurtured a wondrous garden, breathing life into a beautiful and warm meeting place for friends, family, and loved ones.

Noelle is survived by her husband Paul, her children Simone and Alex, her stepchildren Daniella, Julie, and Carl, her grandchildren Owen, Charlotte, Elan, and Ezra, her step-grandchildren Eliza, Teddy, and Chloe, her step-great-granddaughter Lena, and her sisters Terri and Michelle and their children and grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held on November 18, from 1 PM-6 PM, at the Wilton Quaker Meeting House, 317 New Canaan Road, Wilton.