WNBC’s John Noel Remembered as ‘Simply a Good Man’

By Merrill Knox 

Tributes continue to come in following the death of John Noel, a veteran WNBC reporter who died of brain cancer Thursday. On WNBC‘s evening newscast, Chuck Scarborough paused for a minute to remember Noel.

“From the day he learned he was sick until the end, John refused to feel sorry for himself, always telling us how lucky he was to have such a wonderful job and family,” Scarborough said.

“To say that John was a good and decent man would be the understatement of all understatements,” Noel’s longtime agent and friend, Mort Meisner, told TVSpy in an email. “John lived and died a man of honor …True to his word, John fought on to the very end. John personified courage. I loved the man dearly.”


The full tributes from Scarborough and Meisner are after the jump.


It was with deep sadness and a tremendous sense of loss that I share with you that John Noel has passed away. John died in his sleep early this morning at Calvary Hospital in New York. To say that John was a good and decent man would be the understatement of all understatements.
Shortly after John became ill many months ago, we talked about his past and the kind of man he had become and what he had evolved from as a young man.
John said, “you know what, Mort, I have become a man of honor”. Those words are so true and could not be more accurate. John lived and died a man of honor.
Despite John’s Illness, he continued to work at WNBC and yes, he continued to be there for his beautiful daughter, Jessie.
John labeled me his “cut man” throughout this ordeal and for me, it was such a great honorable designation to be in John’s corner.
I had the privilege of meeting John Noel back in 1985 when he worked for Steve Antoniotti and I at KSDK in St. Louis. John made himself into an excellent reporter and shortly after I returned to Detroit as News Director at WJBK, I hired John. After I left WJBK, John asked me to be his agent. We never had a contract, not even a handshake. Only a hug.
John asked me to get him home to Brooklyn. He landed at WNBC where he has been one of their top guns since returning home in 1998.
John provided Award Winning coverage of the murder of Amadou Diallo in 1999 and often talked of how proud he was of the stories he generated on this cade which received international attention.
John’s battle with Brain Cancer is over now and we have lost a good friend. I ended every conversation with John by saying, “keep fighting the good fight”, words shared with me years ago by mutual friend to many of us, Jim Epperson. John promised me he would. True to his word, John fought on to the very end. John personified courage.
I loved the man dearly.
Most of you on this e mail work in the Television News Business or did at one time. Therefore you are well aware of the sometimes heartless nature of some of those who run our business. John’s bosses at WNBC were different.
Susan Sullivan, the News Director and Michael Jack, the General Manager were menches each step of the way. John was allowed to work as much as he was able and was allowed to go for treatment when necessary. John would sometimes go for chemotherapy in the morning and arrive at work later in the day. Susan and Michael did what they could to ease John’s burden.
So what now?
John was not a deeply religious man but was very spiritual. He welcomed all of the prayers and thoughts of good wishes which were being sent his way.
Let’s continue to pray for John along with his mother and father, sister Camille and brother Randolph. Let’s pray for Benita. Most of all, let’s pray for Jessie. We lost a friend and she lost the only father she will never know.
Our honored friend is out of pain.
May John Noel rest in peace and may God Bless Him.