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Sylvandia Mae Nolen

Obituary for Sylvandia Mae Nolen

December 1, 1933 - April 19, 2015
Indiana | Age 81


Sylvandia, or "Van" as she was known to her friends and family, was born in Muleshoe, Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl in the Great Depression. She was the only daughter of Lillian and D.L. Garrett. During the years of the Dust Bowl Exodus, the entire Garrett Family including Pierce Garret and Joe Garrett, began a move to California. D.L., Lillian, and Sylvandia got stuck in Dallas and built their lives there.
It was in the Dallas Metropolitan area that a very young Van Garrett met a very young William Nolen in a grade school classroom. William, or "Bill" would eventually become her husband and life-companion for 62 years. Bill and Van married on May 18, 1952.
Ten years later, Bill and Van would move to Indiana. In 1964, William Parker Nolen was born.
An almost-lifetime resident of Wayne Township, Van remained committed to education and creating opportunities for children. Van would always be the mother with the tray of cookies and milk for the children in grade school, the mother whose door was always open to the other children in the neighborhood, and who will be remembered fondly as "Mom" by so many people.
Although she claimed no specific church home here in Indianapolis, she had a very strong grounding and sense of faith in God and the goodness that resides in other people.
She was devoted to the well-being of her only child, Parker, and she rarely saw the world through a black-and-white lens. On Parker's 16th birthday, she met him at the door when he arrived home from school and said, "It doesn't matter if you are a boy or girl. Everyone deserves to have a Sweet 16 Birthday Party. This is yours…." She opened the door to the house and the entire house was decorated in Pink Panther theme and every single classmate and teacher he had encountered over his school years were gathered to celebrate.
Van died of complications associated with Congestive Heart Failure. She is preceded in death by her mother Lillian and father D.L. She is survived by her husband William and son Parker of Indianapolis and her half-brother Doyle Garrett of Magazine, Arkansas.
In lieu of flowers or gifts to the family, please make a donation to the Community Health Network Health Foundation in her memory.
Public services are to be held on Saturday, May 9 at Flanner and Buchanan-Washington Park North, 2706 Kessler Blvd. W. Dr. Indianapolis, IN 46228, 317-251-5959. Services are scheduled for 11:00 am, but there will be an opportunity to gather starting at 9:30 am. Online condolences may be made at


-Your friends at Flanner and Buchanan

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Flanner Buchanan - Washington Park North Cemetery & Funeral Center

2706 Kessler Blvd. West
Indianapolis, IN 46228
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