Dr. Janet Hubly Noever passed away peacefully on February 20, 2020, at the age of 82 following a stroke. After three decades of teaching, she retired as an American history professor at Rose State College in Midwest City, Oklahoma, where she also served as a departmental chair and college dean for several years. Her courses in American and Women’s History, which she pioneered in Oklahoma, touched the lives of thousands of students. In retirement, she followed her three great passions: family genealogy, doll collecting and quilting.
Janet was born the second of four children in Houston, Texas to Anton and Genevieve (Black) Hubly. At Lamar High School, she became a skilled competitive debater and traveled nationally to speech tournaments. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where she was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. At SMU, she met and eventually married her late husband, Robert, a seminary student. At the University of Oklahoma, Janet earned her two master’s degrees and Doctorate in American history, while also teaching and raising her two children, Nancy and David. She started her first graduate history courses when her children entered grade school and earned her Ph.D. the year her daughter graduated from college. In her published research, she highlighted the historical struggle for fairness and equal representation:
“Perle Mesta: An Ardent Feminist” - a biographical study of the Truman-era diplomat
“Passionate Rebel: Mary Gove Nichols 1810-1884” - her doctoral thesis on the nineteenth-century advocate for health reform, hydrotherapy, and women’s wellness.
“Women in Oklahoma Territory: 1889-1907.” – a massive bibliography of the contributions of Oklahoma pioneer women.
“Votes for Women, the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution: A Researcher's Notebook,” - documenting her research into the figures and events important to women’s suffrage.
She looked forward to celebrating the centennial anniversary of women’s right to vote in August 2020.
As a college administrator at Rose State College, she chaired the social science division from 1990-1991 and served as its dean from 1991-1992 during a period when the fifty-year old college expanded rapidly to its large current enrollment of 7500 students. While a departmental dean, Marquis “Who's Who” listed her as a noteworthy college administrator. Her first loves were always research and teaching, so she returned to the classroom and the world’s great libraries in 1992. During her academic career, she earned numerous research grants, including seminars at UCLA (1973), Princeton (1977), Duke (1983), Harvard-Radcliffe College (1985) and New York University (1988).
Inspired by the gift of an orange-covered biography (as part of the Childhood of Famous Americans series popular in the 1940s) Janet began exploring American history as an eight-year-old child while honing her keen eye for the social context of historical events. In retirement, that love of biography transformed into a focus on curating the stories from her own family tree. A skilled researcher, she, along with her sister, Bonnie, traced her family’s roots through their three-century journey from the early 1700s. She compiled an extensive chronology and essays interweaving historical context with personal stories documenting her family’s migration to and across the US.
Janet loved to sew. She learned to sew to make doll clothes as a child. As a teenager with dreams of being a fashion designer, she would design and make gowns of taffeta and satin for dances. Through most of her life, she made many of her own clothes. As a mother, she made some of her children’s clothes. Her daughter fondly remembers a childhood dress covered in pockets where treasures were hidden and elegant prom dresses for her high school and college dances. An avid doll collector, one of her hobbies was to make historically accurate doll clothes depicting the changes in women’s fashion.
In retirement, Janet focused on quilting. She made multiple quilts for her family members, often themed around important events in their lives. Through the Edmond Quilt Guild and as independent projects, she also made several hundred donation quilts for the elderly, wheelchair-bound, children and babies in foster care. Through a grant from the Central Oklahoma Quilters’ Guild, Dr. Noever combined her love of history with her love of quilting when she studied Seminole Patchwork. The Seminole Indians’ patchwork technique was one of the factors leading to quick quilt making and the growing popularity of quilting in the late twentieth-century. She gave several public talks outlining what she had discovered from her latest research. She was active in multiple Oklahoma quilting guilds and the community offered a generous circle of new friends when she moved to Huntsville, AL.
In a note left for her children, she expressed what quilting meant to her. “Remember that I loved the process. It was the planning of the quilt, the fabric shopping, the looking for patterns, the possibilities of it all, the sewing of it, the nice women and friendships that developed, the trips I took centered around the quilt world. All of this that I enjoyed. The whole quilt world creativity itself that I so enjoyed.” Her fabric stash was one of her life’s great treasures. She wrote in an email to her daughter, “Don’t bemoan my excesses. Just know the joy it brought me in my ‘later years’. It is hard to imagine my life without quilting.” The day before her death, the syndicated television program “The Quilt Show” celebrated her stunning blue and white quilt called “Halo Medallion” shown here. Janet remarked that the quilt’s intricate pattern tested all the skills she had learned over a lifetime of sewing.
She credited a desire to keep busy as her secret to maintaining her independence while driving and living at home into her eighties. Over the practical ups and downs of a full life, she is remembered for her wit, passionate research interests, and loving creativity. She is survived by her two children, Nancy Noever of Los Angeles, CA, and David Noever of Huntsville, AL, her daughter-in-law Samantha, two grandchildren, Chloe’ and Maxwell, and her sister, Bonnie Lou Hubly of Houston, TX. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Huntsville Hospital Foundation - Neonatal ICU (NICU) Donor Tree at https://www.huntsvillehospitalfoundation.org/get-involved/give-now. At the time of her death, she was working on 60 NICU covers for them and had just completed the first 30 quilt tops.
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