Renowned visionary, entrepreneur, business developer and philanthropist Ed Noble passed away Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, at his home in Atlanta, Georgia, after a lengthy illness. He was 88 years old.
Edward Everett Noble was the son of Lloyd Noble, founder of Noble Research Institute. He served on the Noble Research Institute Board of Trustees for more than half a century, from 1951 to 2003. He also served as a director of Noble Affiliates, Inc.
"Mr. Noble was a phenomenal man with extraordinary vision and business acumen," said Bill Buckner, president and CEO of the Noble Research Institute. "Throughout a life hallmarked by hard work, Mr. Noble gave back to the communities he loved in Georgia and Oklahoma through his time and his resources. He built many structures and businesses through his career, but he was also focused on building up and encouraging those around him. He will be greatly missed."
Ed Noble served the Noble Research Institute as a trustee member from 1951 to 2003. Here he is pictured alongside fellow board members (from left) C.C. Forbes, Edgar Holt, Sam Noble, Ann Noble Brown, Ed Noble, Dr. A. A. Kemnitz and James Thompson, in 1955.
Noble was born in 1928 in Ardmore, Oklahoma, to Lloyd and Vivian Noble. He spent his formative youth in Ardmore before attending St. John's Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin, and the University of Oklahoma, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in geology. After college, he worked in the West Texas Division of the family business, Samedan Oil Corporation.
At the age of 28, Noble moved to Atlanta, Georgia. There, he developed and opened Lenox Square Shopping Center in 1959. Lenox Square was one of the first and largest regional shopping centers in the U.S. He also built an award-winning small, independent chain of motels/hotels, Noble Inns Corporation; spearheaded the development of the land west of Interstate 35 in Norman, Oklahoma, in the late 1980s; and founded and served as President and CEO of Noble Properties, Inc. until his retirement.
Ed Noble was known for his business acumen and dedication to the communities he loved in Georgia and Oklahoma. He built many structures and businesses during his career, and he also built up and encouraged the people around him.
In the early 1980s, former President Ronald Reagan appointed Noble to lead the transition team for the U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation. Noble served as chairman from 1981 to 1986. He understood the benefits of synthetic fuels for the country's strategic security but believed companies seeking government funds should be willing to put their money at risk along with taxpayers. Thanks to Noble, the U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation developed outcomes that only spent $1.7 billion of the designated $88 billion in taxpayer funds.
Noble served on numerous boards throughout his life including: the Foundation of the Holy Apostles, Pace Academy, Oglethorpe University, the George West Mental Health Foundation, Buckhead Coalition, Piedmont Hospital Foundation, Southeastern Legal Foundation, St. John's Military Academy and the Hoover Institute. He was one of the initial founders of The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Ed Noble continued his father's legacy by helping steward the Noble Research Institute for 52 of the 71 years the agricultural research organization has been in existence. Noble's voice of wisdom joined with the other trustees, including his sister Ann Noble Brown (right), to guide the Noble Research Institute during tenures of five presidents, including Mike Cawley (center) from 1992 to 2012.
He received numerous civic honors from the City of Atlanta, Georgia, for his contribution to improving the quality of life. During the 1995-1996 session, the Georgia House of Representatives passed a resolution commending Ed Noble for his contribution to the state.
He is survived by his wife, Maria; daughter, Vivian and husband, Sam DuBose; granddaughter, Ginger and husband, James Heckman; sister, Ann and husband, Dr. David Brown; Carol Elizabeth Lindsay; cousin, Carolyn Smith, and numerous dearly loved cousins, nieces, nephews and extended family. Noble was preceded in death by his parents, Lloyd and Vivian Noble; brothers, Sam Russel Noble and Richard Noble; and cousin, Margaret Baldridge.