Photography 05

David M. Nolan

May 4, 1945 ~ June 1, 2021 (age 76)


Danville – David Martin Nolan, 76, of Danville passed away at 6:51 AM on June 1, 2021, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.

David was born on May 4, 1945, the son of Joseph and Grace (Calvin) Nolan in Warren, Ohio. He married Barbara Jean Brenner on February 6, 1982, in Danville, IL.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara Nolan of Danville, IL, one brother, Arthur Francis Nolan of Des Moines, IA, a sister, Sharon Nolan Azecusky of Chappells, South Carolina; a brother- and sister-in-law, Richard Joseph Brenner (Joann) of Fernandina Beach, FL; and nieces and nephews Zachary Merana (Fort Myers, FL), Connor Nolan (Menlo Park, CA), Trevor Nolan (Morrisville, NC), Marina Patrice Nolan Vare (Philadelphia, PA), Joseph Brenner (Fernandina Beach, FL)  and Andrew Brenner (Cincinnati, OH), and several grandnieces and -nephews.  Also surviving are his two cats, Ernie and Jessie, and his big dog, Noah. 

David is preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Joseph Michael Nolan and Lloyd Eugene Nolan; a sister-in-law, Linda Iwanicki Nolan; a brother-in-law, Lonnie Azecusky; and two nephews, Anthony Perkins (Brenner) and Ryan Merana.

David graduated from Southern Illinois University with a degree in City Planning.  He was a research assistant to R. Buckminster Fuller who, like Rumpelstiltskin, sent him to a room filled with New York Times issues and told him to cut out any articles that might be of interest to Fuller.  After college, his jobs included city planning in Warren, OH, and Decatur, IL; Regional Planning Commission, Vermilion County, IL; and day-treatment counselor at Danville Manor Nursing Home, Promise House, and Crosspoint Human Services.  After retirement, he worked part-time at Crose Insurance, Danville, IL, and was the co-curator of the Alley Gallery, located at 113 N. Vermilion Street, Danville.  It was his mission to give local artists exposure and experience in a gallery setting.

David was a self-taught professional fine arts photographer whose boundless curiosity led him to experiment with photographic processes such as 1850’s cyanotypes, standard and manipulated Polaroids, darkroom photography, handcoloring black-and-white prints, liquid emulsion, large format cameras, and digital prints.  He sculpted whimsical figures to use in his photographs that were featured at the Springer Cultural Center, Champaign, IL.  His photographs have been exhibited and awarded at several galleries and venues in Danville, Champaign-Urbana, Mount Vernon, Warren (OH), and Denver.  Many of his photos are housed at the Sousa Archives at the University of Illinois; the rest of his works and negatives will be added to the collection later.

He contracted polio when he was 12; at age 16, he underwent a spinal fusion to help support his spine.  While in the hospital, a volunteer brought him bags of books of all kinds, giving him a wide knowledge of many topics. He enjoyed all styles of music and loved live concerts.  He firmly believed that people in wheelchairs should interact with the public to increase their comfort level; those who lost games to him in the pool halls might have disagreed!  His victory over polio taught him quiet patience, which was a hallmark of David’s demeanor; among his many gifts was the ability to quietly listen to others and seek paths for them to excel.

David had a quick wit and made his wife laugh when she least expected it.  He had keen powers of observation and an artist’s eye; his photos told a story and evoked understanding of people who might otherwise have been dismissed.  He was intelligent and always ready to learn new things.  His many friends will remember his expressive eyes and deep, powerful laughter.  His sister is certain that David is dancing in heaven and taking pictures with a golden camera.  For family and friends, it has been an honor to have been a part of his life.

A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, June 12, 2021, at 2:00 PM at Sunset Funeral Home and Cremation Center 3940 N Vermilion St., Danville, Illinois 61834. Reverend Kevin Nourie will officiate. Visitation will be held from 5:00 – 7:00 PM on Friday, June 11, 2021, at the funeral home.

It is kindly requested that those in attendance of the visitation or services wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Memorials may be made to Danville Library Foundation.

Please join David’s family in sharing memories, photos and videos on his tribute wall at .


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