Noel Augustus Yaney, 90, died on Jan. 31, 2021, in East Berlin, Connecticut. Born in Chicago on Dec. 18, 1930, he was raised in Oak Park, the son of Dr. Augustus Daniel Yaney, a family doctor, and Josephine Dickson Yaney, a church organist. From them, he learned compassion, dedication, his dry sense of humor, and a love of sacred music.
After attending Albion College in Michigan (1953, B.A. Physics) and U.S. Navy Officers Candidate School, he trained as a pilot and served in the Bureau of Ordnance until honorably discharged in 1956.
Working for Chicago’s Cook Laboratories and then for IBM in Washington D.C., he won respect for his innovative solutions to knotty problems. He sold NASA the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory and worked on the IBM 360 project, moving to New York, where he met and married his wife, Martha. In 1971 they settled in Darien, Connecticut, to raise a family.
In the 1970s and ’80s, he worked in the audio tour industry, where he designed and patented a new infrared museum audio system, and in 1989 co-founded Vista Group International with Martha. More products and world travel followed. From solar-powered SoundPost systems to SoundStik handsets, from Carlsbad Caverns to presidential libraries to Metropolitan Museum of Art tours on the Baltic Sea, he kept all systems running.
His fondest hobby was one-design racing with his family — a sport he enjoyed from early days sailing with his brother Ralph on Lake Michigan. He was also an avid skier.
Deeply involved in St. Luke Episcopal Church in Darien, he assisted several committees, redesigning the audio system so all could hear, and ushering countless services.
Noel is survived by his wife Martha Beuret Yaney; their children, Elizabeth Jo Yaney and Noelle Yaney Child, her husband Bradford Child, and four grandchildren.
A private memorial service will be held. Donations to St. Luke Parish with the notation “Friends of Music” have been suggested.