Alan Nolan appeared to take such self-righteous hyper-ventilation in stride. He didn’t carry himself like a firebrand; rather, he seemed the very essence of what you could call a Midwestern gentleman: gracious, cultivated and readily amused. But he was also unwilling for so much as a moment to put up with guff, no matter how time-honored or seemingly respectable it happened to be. Fairness and human decency were touchstones in Alan Nolan’s life and work. If, in seeking these qualities, he sometimes found himself on a path that others thought radical, it was not through calculation, but because he called things as he saw them, as honestly as he could. That he managed this with such an air of common-sense aplomb was a gift he imparted to anyone with the good fortune to sit with him for a while and engage in conversation.
Those of us who had the chance learned a lot. More, probably, than we realized.
Editors’ note: Mr. Nolan’s first wife, Elizabeth C. Titsworth, died in 1967. In 1970, he married Jane Ransel DeVoe, who survives, and they adopted each other’s children: Patrick A. Nolan, Mary F. Nolan, Indianapolis; Thomas C. Nolan, Los Angeles; Elizabeth T. Nolan-Greven, Columbus, Ind.,; John V. Nolan, Seattle; John C. DeVoe, Portland, Ore.,; Ellen R. DeVoe, Boston; and Thomas R. DeVoe, Indianapolis. He is also survived by 20 grandchildren and his sister, Kathleen Lobley. His brother, Val Nolan Jr., died in March 2008.
A calling for Alan Nolan will be held at the Indiana Historical Society Sunday, Aug. 10 from 3-6 p.m. There will be a memorial service at St. Thomas Aquinas Monday, Aug. 11 at 11 a.m. preceded by an hour of calling. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Indiana Historical Society, the Ensemble Music Society (PO Box 17686, Indianapolis, 46240), Civil War Preservation Trust (PO Box 17686, Baltimore, MD 21297) or a favorite charity.