Nolen’s life colored the world around her

Marjorie Nolen, native daughter of Shelby County, was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and sister, a dedicated member of Columbiana United Methodist Church and the Columbiana Culture Club and a talented artist.

Born on December 26, 1927 to D. H. Bentley Sr. and Boyd Vick Bentley, she graduated from Shelby County High School where she met her future husband. Marjorie Bentley and Billy Nolen began dating in 1948 and married on July 3, 1949. The Nolens would have celebrated their 60th anniversary this year had her life not ended tragically in a car accident on May 23.

Nolen was the loving mother of two daughters and one son: Nancy (Tommy) Thomas of Nashville, Tenn., Jenny Cooper of Wilsonville and David (Denise) Nolen of North Shelby.

She was the devoted grandmother to her four grandchildren: Amy and Emily Cooper and Andy and Daniel Nolen. In 1968, the Nolens moved to Albertville where husband Billy’s banking job led them. After retirement, they returned to their Shelby County roots and built their new home in 1996 on the Nolen’s land in the Four Mile community.

In their new home, a special room was built with north light and sky windows where Nolen painted and created her stunning watercolor paintings. She called herself a colorist in a flyer called “Patches of Color” she wrote for her one-woman show at the Shelby County Arts Council in 2008.

“Being a colorist has influenced the paintings that I do,” Nolen said. “Art adds joy and passion to my life. Growing up in the country in Alabama, I spent most of my day outside. Color surrounded me. The blue skies, green trees, red, orange and yellow flowers created a canopy of color to live in.”

The world of creativity opened for Nolen at 6 when she received her first box of crayons. In April, 2009, Nolen was awarded the Eloise Fuller Award at the Alabama Federation of Women’s Clubs State Convention, the highest art award given to federated clubwoman in Alabama.

The Nolens often traveled in their retirement years, making a yearly trip to Maine for a one-week art workshop. Billy does not paint, but supported Marjorie and her passion.

Billy said his wife was an optimistic woman and saw her cup as half full. She was a people–person and loved her family and friends. She will be missed by so many who loved her and the “patches of color” she created throughout the years.