Mary Alice (Born) Heller Noyes was born March 27, 1911, in Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory, to Charles and Margaret (Johnston) Born. She was one of nine children. Her brothers and sisters were Johnston Augustus Born, Charles Dewey Born, Robert Valentine Born, Helen Margaret Born, Dr. Ernest A. Born, Fredrick Shirley Born, James Sidney Born, and Ralph Marvin Born, the youngest. Mary’s father was born in New York and made his way to Colorado and then to Prescott with his growing family.
After attending Lincoln Elementary School and graduating from Prescott High School in 1929, she worked for her father at the Elks Theater. She sold tickets and later became the theater’s advertising manager. Of note, Mary’s father, Charles, was Prescott’s first mail carrier, and later a schoolteacher. He soon turned his attention to the Elks Theater and was in their employ for three decades.
On March 28, 1934, Mary married Lloyd Edward Heller in Prescott. Mary and Lloyd had two children: Diane Shirley, born March 10, 1935, and Charles Stephen, born September 12, 1938.
Besides being a wife and mother, Mary was always very active in community affairs and served as president of both the Lady Elks and the American Legion Auxiliary. She also was president of the Arizona Congress of Parents and Teachers (PTA) during the 1950s and helped the town of Mayer organize their PTA. In addition, she was a chieftess of the “Smoki People” in Prescott. Since she was a Red Cross nurse's aide during World War II, she became the executive secretary of the Yavapai Chapter of the American Red Cross, a position she held for eight years during the 1940s and 1950s.
In 1954, Mary divorced her husband, Lloyd, and in 1955, she married Robert Noyes. Robert was a retired Master Sergeant of the U.S. Army.
In 1957, Mary resigned from the Red Cross and went to work for the Yavapai County Supervisors as the County Medical Investigator until 1961. However, she could not stay away from the Red Cross and again was employed by this organization, which she loved.
A member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church since her childhood, Mary was active in parish affairs and served many years in the Episcopal Church Women and the Altar Guild. In her spare time, she loved to paint and was very talented at it, just as her grandmother, Ella Burns, had been.
In 1987, Mary became a resident of the Arizona Pioneers’ Home, where she died on January 3, 1995; she is buried in Prescott’s Mountain View Cemetery. Robert also died in 1995 and is interred at National Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix.
Mary’s daughter, Diane, wrote the following for Mary’s memorial service at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, “Mother was proud of having been born in the Arizona Territory. It pleased her to grow up in the state she loved, in the town her parents helped to settle, and with the family she adored. She was passionate in her interests, active in her community, attended to the needs of her friends and devoted to her church. She was ever busy, ever on the move. My husband liked to say that she did not walk as much as fall forward and let her feet catch up with her!"
Mary’s mother, Margaret (Johnston) Born, and her grandmother, Ella (Barney) Johnston Burns, are also commemorated in the Territorial Women’s Memorial Rose Garden.
Donor: Diane Shirley (Heller) Gay, daughter, January 2009
Photo Located: Born Family Collection - PB-148, F-13, I-11
Updated: 7/31/2015, Mary Melcher & 2/13/2018, N. Freer