Patricia Lou Miller Noyes, 83, former Inquirer columnist

Patricia L. Noyes
Patricia L. Noyes
Posted: July 11, 2012

Patricia Lou "Paddy" Miller Noyes, 83, formerly of Gloucester County, an advocate for adoption who for three decades wrote the "Friday's Child" column in The Inquirer profiling youngsters in need of caring parents, died of Alzheimer's disease Tuesday, June 19, at a hospice in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

In the early 1970s, Mrs. Noyes, who had an adopted child, and Carolyn Johnson, a friend who had three adopted children, wondered how they could recruit families who would be interested in adopting children who were not the healthy infants then associated with the idea of adoption.

To assist families, Johnson established the Delaware Valley Regional Adoption Exchange Center, now the National Adoption Center, and was its founding director.

Mrs. Noyes, who was a volunteer for the center, persuaded the editor of the Sunday magazine of the Bulletin to publish an article she wrote about adopting "special needs" children who were older, of various races, had physical or emotional challenges, or who wanted to be adopted with siblings. Her own adopted daughter was of East Indian heritage.

Eventually, Mrs. Noyes began writing a weekly column for The Inquirer, "Friday's Child." The title came from a line in the nursery rhyme, "Friday's child is loving and giving."

Gloria Hochman, director of communications for the National Adoption Center, said in a statement, "When Paddy began the 'Friday's Child' column three decades ago, she was motivated by the belief that is still the National Adoption Center's mantra - there are no unwanted children, just unfound families."

For years, Mrs. Noyes visited children in foster care to interview them for the column and arranged for a photo. Many of the youngsters had suffered abuse and had heartbreaking histories.

"Paddy had so much child inside of her, that's how she was able to connect with each child and got them to talk about what they liked and their dreams and hopes," Johnson said.

According to Hochman, "it was emotionally painful, I would watch her writing the column with tears dripping down her face."

Some children were severely handicapped and weren't able to communicate, her daughter, Maria Clark, said. "She would write about the sparkle in their eyes and their joy at being hugged and kissed," Clark said.

Over the years, 85 percent of the children Mrs. Noyes wrote about found adoptive families, Hochman said.

Mrs. Noyes wrote "Friday's Child" until the end of 2000. Her legacy continues in The Inquirer, which continues to feature children available for adoption in a weekly "Monday's Child" column written by Patricia Mans.

In addition to her column for The Inquirer, Mrs. Noyes wrote feature articles for the paper. She also wrote for the Chicago Tribune and wrote articles for the Camden Courier-Post seeking volunteers for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America.

A native of Lansing, Mich., Mrs. Noyes earned an associate's degree in journalism from Michigan State University in 1949. At 21, she married James J. Noyes. The couple had four sons before adopting a daughter. They divorced in the early 1970s.

Mrs. Noyes, who was paid $75 for each "Friday's Child" column, cleaned houses and offices to support her family, her daughter said.

She was a longtime resident of Turnersville and Mantua until moving to Hawaii in 2004. In New Jersey, she threw parties for residents of a local retirement home and enjoyed singing in the choir and attending services at Mount Zion Wesley United Methodist Church in Wenonah.

She loved gardening, writing, swimming, rainbows, and unicorns, her daughter said.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Noyes is survived by sons Frank, Danny, Ben, and Gabe; 13 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and her former husband.

A private family memorial will be held in Hawaii at a later date.


Contact Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.

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