Deaths of Note

Published on December 12th, 2016 |

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Ed Noble – Obituary

Ed Noble, the man who set the stage for Buckhead to become a retail mecca with the opening of Lenox Square mall in 1959, died Dec. 4 at the age of 88 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

ed-noble-2Noble opened Lenox Square mall as an open-air shopping center that later became enclosed. Lenox and Phipps Plaza, located diagonally across Peachtree Road, have become shopping havens for metro Atlantans and visitors from throughout the southeast. “He was always a gentleman in his dealings,” said Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell, who worked with Noble in the 1950s on some small deals in DeKalb County when Massell worked in commercial real estate before focusing more on politics.

“He wasn’t known here. He wasn’t from Atlanta. Back in the 1950s, it was unusual to have anybody in Atlanta dealing in real estate who wasn’t from Atlanta,” Massell is reported to have said of Noble.

Massell said Noble’s impact on Atlanta and Buckhead goes far beyond the retail industry.

“He affected not just building a center but also building the financial security of our community because his center generated not only job opportunities and new population growth, but it dictated roadway routing like Lenox Road itself, which was a dirt path pretty much before that,” Massell added.

“He played a role in Georgia 400, though it was added many decades later,” Massell recalled. “Ed had a role in the growth of Atlanta because he so dramatically affected Buckhead, especially with retail.”

According to his online obituary, Noble was born in 1928 in Ardmore, Oklahoma, to Lloyd and Vivian Noble. He got his work ethic from his father, a well-known Oklahoma oilman and philanthropist. Noble mowed lawns and sacked groceries as a youth before working in the oil fields of Samedan Oil Corp. to learn the family business.

He married LaVerne Estes and lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, before moving to Atlanta when he was 28. After building Lenox, which was at its opening one of the first and largest regional shopping centers in the country, he shifted his focus to building an award-winning small, independent chain of motels/hotels, Noble Inns Corp., which culminated in 1973 with the Terrace Garden Inn near Lenox.

In the early 1980s Noble was appointed by President-elect Ronald Reagan to spearhead the transition team for U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corp. Noble was credited for U.S. Synthetic spending only $1.7 billion of the $88 billion in taxpayer funds set aside for developing manufacturing plants. While in Washington he was a co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

Later in the decade Noble led the development of land west of Interstate 35 in Norman, Oklahoma. He also served as president and CEO of Noble Properties Inc. until retiring.

Locally Noble was a member of the Buckhead Coalition and the Church of the Apostles and served on the board of several organizations including Pace Academy, Oglethorpe University, the George West Mental Health Foundation, and the Piedmont Hospital Foundation. Throughout his career, he received several awards.

Noble is survived by his wife, Maria; daughter, Vivian and husband, Sam DuBose; Ben Noble; granddaughter, Ginger and husband, James Heckman; sister, Ann and husband, Dr. David Brown; LaVerne Noble; Carol Elizabeth Lindsay; cousin, Carolyn Smith; Marcel and Roland Brown, and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and extended family. The family would like to thank the compassionate caregivers, Yao Bigah and Tom Umstead Jr., for their devotion and support.

A private family burial will be held in Ardmore, Oklahoma. A memorial service will be held Dec. 17 at 11 a.m. at the Church of the Apostles in Buckhead.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Noble’s memory to the following: Leading The Way, the Church of the Apostles or the Heritage Foundation or the charity of one’s choice.

Original obituary courtesy of Northside Neighbor

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