August 7, 1950 - November 7, 2017
Noel Ann Tardy of Dallas passed away November 7, 2017. She is preceded in death by her parents, James Noel and Bessie Kopecky Tardy and her beloved dogs Princess, BamBam and Truffles. She is survived by her sister, Sharon McDade (Bill); her nieces, Tricia Pogue (Dean), Michelle Poole (Michael), Kristen McDade (Greg Wilson); and numerous great nieces and nephews and cousins. She is also survived by her aunts, Lillian Curry of Houston and Mary Steely (Jerry) of Corsicana, Texas.
Noel was born in Dallas, Texas, on August 7, 1950 to James and Bess Tardy. They lived most of her childhood in a wonderful house on DeLoache and Inwood in Dallas. Jim and Bess hosted many parties and events for people of all ages. Noel had horses on the property and close friends in the neighborhood, also of all ages. She cherished those friendships as well as her closeness to her local and Houston family. Ethel James was Noel’s dear nanny for most of her childhood.
Noel attended Ursuline Academy and graduated from Hillcrest High School. A lifelong music lover, she played and sang in public school bands, orchestras and choruses before attending Texas Woman’s University as a music major and a member of the Aglaians Literary-Social Club. She was awarded a stage band music scholarship for her work with the TWU Serenaders playing guitar and bass and was a member of The Women’s Chorus of Dallas and of the mixed chorus, Resounding Harmony. She later attended the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.
Noel’s careers and hobbies followed her passions and her love for life. She pursued many diverse fields — from massage therapy to accounting to information technology. She and her mother began a catering business together many years ago that still exists in the form of TwoHotCzechs. No matter what she was doing, music and food were always in her life.
Though Noel studied classical guitar at Texas Woman’s University, once she picked up the ukulele her musical focus and her life both changed and expanded. She established Ukelady Music and had both a brick and mortar shop in White Rock and a thriving website. She not only sold ukuleles but gave advice on the best one for each student/customer. She taught classes for young children, including a time teaching kids with illnesses at a local hospital. She founded the Lone Star Ukulele Fest and the nonprofit Ukulele in the Classroom program to teach music literacy to children.
After discovering she had cancer — and following her difficult treatments — Noel co-created Spirit Runners in 2012 as a way to share healing music with anyone going through hardship. She and her production partner produced a CD and performed many concerts.
Noel was the first ukulele player to perform as part of the Brookhaven Guitar Ensemble. She appeared on stages in Spain and The Czech Republic as part of her music travels. She performed tirelessly at all kinds of venues in Dallas — from Roy’s restaurant to the Bath House at White Rock Lake and the Manske Library in Farmer’s Branch. Most recently, this past October she won a cherished competition at the Guitar Foundation of America Festival at Collin College.
Noel was a writer as well. She wrote a children’s book and various articles, and was the 2017 Words of Women recipient for an essay about her grandmother. The award-winning essay describes a fork her MaMa was given to be used for their entire voyage while immigrating on board a ship from Czechoslovakia to America around 1912. This fork became one of her most treasured possessions.
Noel was an active member of the Dallas LGBTQ community and an activist for women, fighting for improved healthcare, equal wages and equal rights. She enjoyed her friendships with the pastors and the parishioners in the different centers of faith she attended, remaining close to them during her life journey. In recent years she was very active on Facebook where she championed her political and social views.
And, as so many will recall, Noel loved her dogs Princess, BamBam and Truffles. They were her children. When Princess was so sick the last couple of years, Noel cared for her faithfully.
Noel celebrated life and pursued her dreams until they came true. She was passionate about her music and her culinary accomplishments and shared this love with everyone. Her family and her Czech traditions were her mainstay, and her creativity was the driving energy in all she did. She touched more lives than we know. She will be remembered and she will be missed.
A celebration of Noel’s life will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, December 3, at Brookhaven College in Farmer’s Branch, Building H.
In lieu of flowers, Noel’s family suggests that donations be given to the Ukulele Kids Club (theukc.org). Noel loved teaching children and especially enjoyed her time teaching kids at a Dallas hospital. The Ukulele Kids Club mission is to harness the healing power of music by supporting music therapy programs and gifting ukuleles to hospital music therapy programs so that children in need can be sent home with the gift of music for life.
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