Wednesday, May 29th

Remembering Noel Flagg Sr.: December 9, 1930 - February 21, 2022

NoelFlaggNoel Morrow Flagg Senior passed away on February 21, 2022 at the age of 92. Below please find an account of his life from his family, many who live in Scarsdale.

Noel Flagg was the life of the party, and as he always did, he pulled an Irish exit leaving the dance floor on his own terms last Monday. His dedication to family and to living every day to its fullest was unmatched, and he was humbled by the love and friendship he found everywhere. His ability to make everyone feel as if they were a part of his family was honed over 91 years of an extraordinary life.

The son of Dorothy Ritter and Dr. Paluel Joseph Flagg, former president of the New York Society of Anesthesiologists, Noel Morrow Flagg, Sr. was born in New York City on December 9, 1930. His middle name was chosen in honor of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Charles A. Lindbergh’s wife, a close friend of Dr. Flagg. The eleventh of twelve children, Noel lost his mother when 11-years old, leaving him and his younger brother Tommy under the care of their beloved sisters, Jane and Dorothy.

Noel grew up overlooking the Hudson River from 87 Alta Avenue in the Park Hill section of Yonkers. He attended St. Dennis Grammar School, Fordham Prep School, and Gorton High School before joining NYU. During his Freshman year, he started his career at B. Altman and Company. In 1951, he was drafted to the United States Marine Corp. His time in the service was instrumental to seeding his love for golf and honing his bridge skills.

In 1954, Noel met Barbara Wirsing, and in Camelot fashion, married her in October 1956 at St. Dennis church in Yonkers. They welcomed their sons Noel Jr. in 1957, Hans in 1959, Kevin in 1963, and Stuart in 1966. The Flaggs and Barbara’s parents and sister, Renate Wirsing, lived at 12 Withington in the Edgemont section of Scarsdale, New York, from 1963 to 2012.

Noel continued his career at B. Altman and Company as Vice President until 1990 when he launched his second career, consulting and appraising fine oriental rugs, never missing a day of work until this past Thursday, February the 10th. Through his years accumulating expertise on rare rugs, he traveled the world many times over, visiting China, India, Iran, Afghanistan, and all Persian territories.

A self admitted “avid, but a tad unbalanced golfer,” Noel was his happiest at Scarsdale Golf Club that he joined in 1968 and was President of in 1978. To gather his family – all 11 siblings, 52 nieces and nephews and their offspring – he created the Flagg Open in 1970 which celebrated its 50th just before the pandemic. Apart from routinely allowing carts to drive themselves into the lake, his proudest golfing moment came in 1992 when he registered his first and only “Hole in One” using a 3 wood on the 120 yard par 3.

His true journey and happy place was with his family. At the 2015 Flagg reunion in the island of Vinalhaven, Maine, he concluded his toast to the 250+ family attendees with: “Our (The Flagg 12 siblings) work is done.

I am so proud of you all. Enjoy the ride, it’s a beautiful one!” He loved and laughed. He danced and toasted with “Dewars and a pinch of dry vermouth only.” Football was his betting ground, never missing a game – and was rather put off by the NY Giants recent demise. He celebrated winning big on his last pool just a week ago. He delighted in bridge, endlessly played gin, and hated losing.

Noel would “go down” to Longboat Key, Florida every winter, spending the two-day drive with a long serenade of loud bluegrass and endless phone calls to family and friends. His inability to visit everyone who wanted to see him along the way often inspired elaborate, if distorted, explanations. He couldn't muster a proper lie without a smirk, usually got caught, and laughed it off with a shrug. Always quick with a smile and in constant contact with loved ones, Noel was the first his family called if they wanted any “news” leaked. He lived like a legend and made everyone he cared for feel like one. His magic touched many and will continue on as we honor his eternal “joie de vivre.”

With his four sons by his side, Noel died peacefully from sudden cardiac complications on February 21, 2022. Predeceased by his love of 52 years, Barbara Wirsing Flagg, and 10 of his 11 siblings, Noel is survived by his sister Mary Ann; his sons, Noel Jr, Hans, Kevin, and Stuart; three daughters-in-law, Elise, Eileen, and Sophie; seven grandchildren, Taylor, Lindsay, Griffin, Courtney, Elizabeth, Hans Jr., and Killian; and Max, his six-month old great grandson.
In lieu of flowers, and in honor of his oldest sister, Sister Virginia Flagg, donations to the Maryknoll Sisters in Ossining, New York, are greatly appreciated.

We thank you for all you did for him, meant to him and for reaching out these past few days. It means the world to us.

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