We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Devlin Funeral Home
On August 22, 2021, Noel Silver of Sechelt, BC, passed away suddenly after a short diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. He is predeceased by his parents, James Jones and Shirley MacPherson and a brother, Paul Jones. He leaves behind two sons, Eli (Megan) of Armstrong, BC, and Daniel (Carolyn) of Vancouver, BC, four granddaughters, Ella, Chloe, Maya, and Lily, his brother Don Jones and sister Charlotte Jones of Ontario as well as one large German Shepherd, Wolfgang.
Noel was born on November 22nd, 1948, in Toronto, ON, and grew up in Etobicoke. Noel had a passion for art from an early age. He loved drawing and painting, but he was encouraged to pursue a degree in Architecture and Environmental Studies instead of art which was not seen as a career at the time. He received his degree from the University of Manitoba in 1970, graduating with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies. Although he never used his formal training, having a degree allowed him to take the art therapy program at the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute in 1989. This training allowed him to work in Vancouver with troubled children and HIV positive gay men using art as a healing mechanism during a time when art therapy was not mainstream.
Noel also volunteered at the Persons With Aids Society (now Positive Living BC) in the 1980s and ‘90s. “The personal became political,” says Silver. “My friends were dying. Gay people were turning into political activists because of this situation and basically fighting for their lives to get research done."
After working a variety of jobs, Noel settled as a mental health support worker at a transition house for mental health patients. His position at the transition house gave him the flexibility and time to focus on his passions, family, art, and gardening. He believed strongly in experiences over material items and cultivated time for his passions. During this time, he bought a property on the Sunshine Coast and spent the next 20 years creating a garden oasis and continuing his passion of painting with oil on canvas. Anyone that visited his place was awestruck by the private garden sanctuary he had created. Noel had an affinity for garden centres and could not drive past one without looking for a plant or large garden pot on sale.
After university he found his first love, travel. In the early seventies, Noel spent a year and a half traveling to off beaten places where most travellers were not found, Afghanistan, to the base camp of Mount Everest, Iran, India, Tibet, Egypt, and Morocco, to name a few. Pivotal moments like meditating with the Dali Lama and seeing the majesty of nature at the base camp of Mount Everest changed his world view and fostered a lifelong love of Asian culture, Buddhism, meditation, and nature. Through travel, Noel rediscovered himself.
He said he heard music when he met the second love of his life, Naomi Silver. He knew he wanted to marry her the moment he met her at a university campus hitchhiking together. Noel and Naomi started their life together as hippies in Edgewood, BC, in a “conscious community” with other like-minded young adults of the time. Noel started painting during this time while living in a small cabin next to Eagle Creek with no running water or electricity. They spent the next few years tree planting and building a house with their own hands and seeking a simpler life outside the city.
Noel’s third love was the birth of his two sons, Eli in 1977 and Daniel in 1979. He was a warm and loving father and truly embraced being a parent and found a new purpose through fatherhood.
Despite a warm, loving family, Noel realized after a long and very dark period of personal struggle that he was repressing a large piece of himself. It was at this time that he accepted his sexuality and came out as a gay man. This was an extremely hard process given the societal expectations of the time. He spent the rest of his life advocating for gay rights through his artwork and advocacy for HIV positive men through his art therapy work.
For his 70th birthday Eli and Daniel got him his last love, Wolfgang, a German Shepherd puppy that filled a void in his life with unconditional love. Wolfgang could do no wrong in Noel’s eyes and they became inseparable until the day of his death. His sons promised to take care of Wolfgang for him, and Wolfgang is in good hands as Noel would have wanted.
Noel will be remembered for his blackberry pies that he would bake for special occasions. In lieu of flowers or donations we ask that you bake a pie and enjoy it with your loved ones.