The world got a little darker and the heavens got a little brighter on April 1st, 2021 when Noah Stanhope unexpectedly passed away in his sleep at home in Monson, MA.
Noah was a 2020 graduate of Monson High School where he played basketball and lacrosse.
There are few people in the world whose light shines as bright as Noah's did.
He brought joy and laughter to anyone he spent time with. To know Noah was to love him. Always quick to strike a hysterical pose for pictures, or crack a good joke, he was known for his ability to make people laugh and his inability to get embarrassed. That combination was nothing short of magic and he used that to put smiles on people's faces and to fill the air with the sounds of laughter whenever he could. It is not often that someone is as comfortable in their skin or as sure of who they are, at 19 years old, as Noah was.
With a true compassionate and empathetic heart Noah's friends have remarked that Noah didn't realize the impact that he had on them, and how lucky they were to have had him as a friend. He had an uncanny way of listening without judgment that made people comfortable enough to speak about some of their deepest thoughts and experiences. He knew when to push if he didn't think you were "fine" and often gave advice and perspective that was wise beyond his years.
The sight of palm trees made him happy and in the 43 states and 9 countries he visited, he saw many of them. He enjoyed traveling to see different cultures, eat new foods, and admire the natural beauty of the areas they visited. From France, to Italy, to Costa Rica, and across the United States Noah made memories with his family; parents David Bonanno and Michaelyn Connors, brother Jonathan “Jack” Stanhope, and sister Charlotte “Charlie” Bonanno, whom he held near and dear to his heart.
Noah spent much of his early childhood in the Springfield, MA home of his grandparents, Michael and Stephanie Connors, together with his mother Michaelyn, father Rob Stanhope, younger brother Jack, his aunt Candice (Connors), his uncle Andrew Carter, and cousin Andrew (Drew) Connors.
Drew and Noah were more than cousins, they were more like brothers and truly, best friends. Their close bond was formed in those beginning years and only strengthened as they grew older and saying their bond was special is an understatement. Their love for each other will transcend this world.
Another important relationship that helped mold Noah was his relationship with his “Granny”, Patricia Sweeney. He would often visit Granny and her husband, Gary Sweeney, whom Noah loved as a grandfather, at their home in Belmont, New Hampshire. Patricia shared her love of laughter with Noah from a young age, always willing to go the extra mile to get Noah to smile and, as he got older, he returned the favor! They both found each other very entertaining.
Noah was an incredible son to Michaelyn and David. Noah enjoyed joking with David and "blowing David's mind" with his profound thoughts and sense of humor. Noah could imitate David's laugh and mannerisms perfectly and it quickly became part of Noah's comedic repertoire. Noah's relationship with his mother, was one that most would not believe was possible. He often called his mom a saint and understood how amazing she was as not only a mother but as a person. The pair of them would amuse themselves with inside jokes and games that they would play unbeknownst to others around them. They could always tell when something was off with the other one and would immediately know what to do to help. Noah was often the copilot for David and Michaelyn on the family's long cross-country RV trips and would entertain Michaelyn by looking up random facts about things that she would ask him about.
He was a patient and kind big brother to Jack Stanhope. Noah took his big brother role seriously and cherished being able to give Jack advice and teach him what he had learned about life thus far. He loved Jack dearly and, while he would pick on him the way big brothers do, Noah often praised Jack's uniqueness and was eager to see the interesting man Jack would become.
When Noah was 15 years old his role of big brother role grew again with the addition of a sister, Charlotte (aka Charlie). The way he loved her, some would have mistaken her for his own daughter. She adored him as well. They had a good night ritual that was often filled with hugs and professions of love to one another.
To Noah, family meant everything. He told his aunt Candice that he thought a huge part of being successful in life meant having a close family and showing them how much they meant to him. Noah, by his own definition, was VERY successful and his family is so proud of him.
In addition to those listed above, the loved ones whom Noah left to carry his torch of kindness, love, humor, and acceptance are his aunts and uncles: Christel and Dan Caron of New Boston, NH, Mike Bonanno and Rachel Thayer of Bolton, CT and their sons Dylan and Owen, his uncle, Larry Stanhope, of Rochester, NH; of his cousins Chloe Caron, Scarlett and Ray Stanhope, as well as beloved friends Max Valencourt of North Brookfield, MA and Trey Cavaan, of Springfield, MA; and his biological father Robert Stanhope of Hudson, NH.
Noah cared deeply about seeing an end to prejudice and looked forward to equal opportunity and fair treatment of Black people and those of all races. He would be honored to have donations made to Black Lives Matter or other charities championing the cause equality.
Calling hours for Noah will be on April 10th, 2021, from 2:00PM - 4:00PM at Westfield Funeral Home and Cremation, 4 Princeton Street in Westfield. Followed by a private reception. To express condolences to the family of Noah, please visit www.westfieldfuneralhome.com for Noah’s tribute page.
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