For Boise man, life meant helping, caring about others

Duane R. Noel was a people person — easy to talk to, concerned for others' welfare and always ready to lend a helping hand to a friend or a stranger.

So, it came as no surprise to Noel's wife Frieda that he was quite successful as a real estate professional, she said.

He obtained his real estate license in 1975 and later became a broker/owner at one of the first ReMax real estate offices in Boise. He was in the million dollar club for 13 years and was making sales until last year when health problems forced him to retire.

Noel, 78, died March 4 in Boise.

Patty Haney of Boise, met Noel when she was a budding real estate agent working at his agency.

"He had a strong appreciation for people and he loved to help people — that is why he was such a great agent. He thought more of what their needs and desires were rather than what kind of commission he would get," Haney said.

"If someone came to him that really wanted to buy something, but were not really in a position to do so … he would literally talk them out of buying something."

Years later, when Noel sold his share of the business, Haney had opened Real Estate Marketing, and Noel became her agent. He happily shared his experience and expertise with her, she said.

"One of the things I appreciated most about him was his desire to make sure that I was successful. He would give me advice and suggestions on how to make my business as successful as I could."

Randy Eller bought several properties from Noel during their 20-year association. They met when Noel brought his car into Eller for repair.

"We just started chit-chatting and I really enjoyed talking with him — he seemed like a real straight shooter and was kind of a father figure. I didn't feel like he was a real estate agent and only wanted to sell me a house," Eller said.

"I kept his card and later ended up buying a house from him. He really helped me out. Because I was self-employed, he had a great concern about staying within my budget."

Eller later bought a second home from Noel. His brother and sister also bought homes through Noel's agency.

Several months ago, Noel's daughter Grace took her car to Eller for repairs. The two men shared their final conversation together.

"I visited with him for quite awhile and told him how I felt about him and that I had great respect for him. He told me, ‘That is what life is all about — to hear you were a good person and that you helped a lot of people,' " Eller said.

"I told him that he certainly helped me — and here we are 20 years later and we are still good friends."

In Remembrance is a weekly profile on a local resident who has recently died. Contact Boise news assistant Stephanie Eddy at seddy@idahostatesman.com or 377-6481.