HomeNewsWidow of Jim Noon responds to Comments, expresses Gratitude for First Responders

Widow of Jim Noon responds to Comments, expresses Gratitude for First Responders

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To all the kind, caring people who commented on HopNews, Sept 12: Jim Noon Found Alive, and HopNews, Sept 20: Obituary for Jim Noon: We all want the best care for our loved ones. When our comments reflect controversy, it may be due to misunderstanding or not being adequately informed. I hope to respond to your comments as I experienced the situation.

Thank you, first to all the dedicated First Responders who put their lives on the line to serve and protect the rest of us every day. So many, from many towns, and the state, worked to find my husband. They are truly Heroes. Thank you, also, to the caring, dedicated people at Golden Pond, who are committing their lives to give others the best possible life situation while they live out their lives. They welcomed my husband and gave him the opportunity to live his life as he needed to live it. They, too, are Heroes. They are an excellent Community Care facility.

I wish to respond to the comments made on Sept 12, and then Sept 20, as to why Jim was free to come and go. His family and Golden Pond, in their careful assessment, had acknowledged that Jim had dementia, probably Alzheimers. As one daughter explained it, Jim’s brain was like Swiss cheese, solid, with holes. Jim walked a lot, 3-5 miles most days. On the day his furniture was moved to Golden Pond, August 29, he gave another of our daughters an 8-mile tour of his favorite places in Newton. He could have kept going, but it was time for lunch. He commended her on keeping up with him.

Our family did not want a memory care, lockdown facility for Jim, and Golden Pond responded to Jim’s needs. Dementia takes many forms. No two people are alike, so they need to be treated as individuals. Prior to moving, Jim did not get lost, did not escape at night, and was not a wanderer. As one commenter said, “He was new to the facility, so maybe this behavior is new (moves can be very disorienting to elderly with dementia.).” This may be the explanation for Jim.

Commenters also said “Golden Pond Assisted Living isn’t a nursing home, and it isn’t a prison”. They do have people watching the doors, and they have cameras outside the building. Jim Noon had a PhD from Yale, was an engineer, and even with dementia he was still a very bright man who continued to read books and write well. If he wanted to get out of a building he would find a way, and that is what he did.

On the evening of September 10, a fire alarm disoriented Jim, who had been asleep. After all residents had been accounted for, Jim later apparently felt he wanted to get out, and he found a way. Jim and I wanted to live together, as we had for more than 50 years. Due to safety reasons, caused by dementia, that was impossible. Perhaps Jim was trying to reach me, or just needed to walk. Jim was a religious man, and did not talk of killing himself. The very fact that Jim was found so close to Golden Pond may have meant that he was trying to return, but lost his way. Unfortunately, if he were able to reason, he did not communicate his intention, which caused a great deal of stress, work and worry on an entire community.

Yes, the search was suspended due to darkness and rain…on Monday night. The police and firefighters were called in at 12:30 AM, after Jim had been missing less than two hours Sunday night. They did search during that first night. They used K-9 dogs and drones to look for Jim. They worked all day Monday, only stopping at 7 PM, with a tactical plan for Tuesday morning. One statement indicated around 40 responders, but I personally counted many more, perhaps double, with people also looking in Newton, Framingham, Boston, as well as police in Ashland, Milford, and Upton. In no way was this search mishandled. Our family is grateful to all the responders who looked for Jim. It was 100% effort. He was eventually found alive, and was given the best care possible at UMass Memorial Hospital.

Golden Pond was not negligent. They were very caring and compassionate, with attentive staff. Jim Noon voted. He made the choice to walk out. Eventually, he would have done so. No amount of care can prevent an intelligent, disoriented man from determining the course of his own life. Rather than say, “don’t send your family there”, I would say, “Do send your family member there”, as they are strongly committed to giving your loved one the best care and freedom they wish for, and we wish for ourselves.

A wise commenter said, “He succumbed to Sepsis which is a systemic infection and may have contributed to his initial confusion and wandering off.” After Jim was found, his body was seriously dehydrated. After trying to bring Jim back to good health, he died quietly, peacefully, with his family by his side. We are remembering this strong, loving, successful human being. Peace be with all of you, commenters and readers. Our family is at peace.

Elizabeth Noon,
Loving Jim Noon for 52 years

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  1. Although it was absolutely not necessary, thank you for taking the time to address the community and share additional details about your husband, his zeal for walking, and the events around the situation. What a fascinating life led and I am sure his his life as an educator and in scientific communications and marketing touched many. Sending wishes of comfort to you and your family. May his memory be for a blessing.

  2. Thank you Mrs. Noon for sharing so generously a piece of your love story, so we can all understand and heal as a community hopefully in a way that you and your family feel protected and supported.

    Wishing you peace and strength as you and yours process this great loss. Blessings.

  3. Thank you for sharing your beautifully written letter. I am so sorry for your loss. Clearly your brilliant husband chose a brilliant lady to be his wife. It is a relief he was found and that his family was able to be with him at the hospital. Certainly, this has been a difficult time for your family and it should not be used as an opportunity by others to stand on a soapbox. Thank you for setting the record straight. It is your expeience and yours alone. Thinking of your family. xoxo

  4. Thank you Elizabeth for such a beautifully written letter. You and your family are ( I’m sure) going through so much right now with his loss and processing everything. It continues to sadden me that so many people are so quick to judge and ridicule without knowing the facts. Shame on them. May you and your family find solace with memories of what sounds like an amazing gentleman .

  5. I am so sorry for your loss, Mrs Noon. The eloquence of your letter speaks to your love for Mr Noon and your caring nature. I hope your family finds peace in his memories.

  6. Dear Mrs. Noon,
    Thank you for your lovely letter. How quickly people jump to conclusions without the entire history.

    No one knows, more than I, how a UTI can affect not only the elderly but the affect it has on a person with Alzheimer’s.

    My deepest sympathies to you, your family and extended family.

  7. Wow that says volumes about todays society. Refreshing to see a loving person just be able to say he lived a good life and it was his time. We are always looking to place blame where its is just life. Sympathies to you. And, god bless you.

  8. Hello Elizabeth,
    I prayed for Jim’s safety and was relieved to hear he was found. Thank you for sharing so openly with the Hopkinton Community, even as you grieve the loss of your husband. Golden pond gave Jim the freedom to do what he loved doing, which is insightful of you to share. May God comfort you and your family at this time of loss.

  9. May God Bless you and your family, Mrs. Noon. Both of my parents have dementia and I understand how this could have happened, as well as the devotion and professional expertise staff in memory-care facilities have.
    Thank you for the grace you have shown at this difficult time. May your husband rest in peace.🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  10. Blessing and peace to you and your family Mrs. Noon. I am grateful that your family made choices together to care for your husband the way you felt best for all of you. Your words expressed a long loving life together for all of you. May the many years of love help you all as you cope with his passing. Thank you sharing your kind words for the first responders on their efforts. Each family has to go through their own journey. I am thankful that yours was at your will. May your families love embrace you each day.


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