(Mar. 1, 1884-May 17, 1973). Marguerite Lilly was born in Indianapolis to Rosalie Belle McGuin and Evan Frost Lilly, a cousin of Colonel Eli Lilly and secretary-treasurer of Eli Lilly And Company. Marguerite had one sister, Katherine.

Noyes met Nicholas Noyes Sr. when he visited Indianapolis in 1906. The couple married in 1908 and moved to New York City, where Nicholas worked in publishing. The couple moved to Indianapolis in 1910 following the death of Evan Frost Lilly, when Eli Lilly and Company president J. K. Lilly Sr. recruited Nicholas to succeed him. They had three children, Nicholas Hartman Noyes Jr. (1911-1939), Evan Lilly Noyes (1915-1958), and Janet Noyes Ayres (1916-1989).

Noyes was active in Indianapolis charities, clubs, and social circles. She was a member of the Junior League, the Dramatic Club, and the Indianapolis Garden Club. In 1937, along with Lila Allison Lilly, J. K. Sr.’s second wife, she coordinated membership recruitment for the Women’s Committee of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) to get it established.

In 1949, Marguerite Noyes presented to Cornell University Library the Nicholas H. Noyes Collection of Historical Americana. The Noyes collection contains a complete set of autographed letters and documents signed by the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, letters by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, a signed manuscript copy of the Thirteenth Amendment, and one of five surviving copies of the Gettysburg Address in the hand of Abraham Lincoln.

In 1951, the Noyes established the Nicholas Noyes Jr. Memorial Foundation in honor of their eldest son, who died in 1939 at age 27 in a fire while asleep in the boathouse of the family summer home in Les Cheneaux, Michigan. The Nicholas Noyes Jr. Memorial Foundation assists nonprofit organizations with a focus on culture, education, health and human services, civic and community service, and religion. Most gifts are awarded to Indiana and Indianapolis institutions.

Noyes’ personal philanthropy emphasized service to children. She took a special interest in The Children’s Museum and the international child welfare organizations CARE and HOPE. The Marguerite Lilly Noyes Children’s Pavilion at Methodist Hospital opened in 1967 in honor of Marguerite. Nicholas Noyes donated the $4.5 million lead gift (over $34.8 million in 2020) for the pavilion, and Marguerite donated the landscaping and play equipment. She also contributed to ISO and the Indianapolis Museum Of Art. Noyes and her husband were active members of Second Presbyterian Church for 60 years.

In 1970, the United Methodist Hall of Fame in Philanthropy honored Marguerite Noyes for her service and donations to health and welfare agencies related to the church.

Noyes family members continue to govern the Nicholas Noyes Jr. Memorial Foundation. As of 2019, the foundation assets were approximately $57 million. The foundation awarded grants totaling approximately $2.5 million.

Revised April 2021
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