Richard Dean Noble
Richard Dean Noble. (Courtesy photo)
In the early morning hours of Feb. 2, 2021, and in the company of his wife and son, Richard Dean Noble died of natural causes. This followed years of struggle with his chronically sick and ever-weakening body. At last, he is pain- and disease-free, and at home with his Lord Jesus.
Rich was born Aug. 16, 1959 in Libby to William and Carolyn Noble. Growing up with younger brothers Glenn and Lorin, Rich loved riding through the woods and even into town on his horse. As a teen, he gained work experience at George Wood Hardware before graduating from Libby High School in 1977. Fairly soon afterward Rich, along with friend, Ward Wenholz (also from Libby), got a job pipelining in eastern Montana.
This was an invaluable life experience that also provided him with “uphill both ways to school”-type stories for the next 40 years (warming up food on the engine block of a truck, etc.).
During this time, Rich technically lived in Great Falls. However, it seemed that a large chunk of time was spent commuting to and from the job site in his GTO with Ward, so eventually he moved to Moses Lake, Wash., for more feasible long-term work.
Rich moved to Moses Lake in 1980 and that same year married the woman with whom he would spend the rest of his years, Cathy Lou Sauer of Libby.
In the following decades, Rich would boast that he remembered the first time he’d noticed Cathy while he was working at the hardware store in downtown Libby and had told whoever would listen that, “I’m going to marry that girl.” He was right.
In Moses Lake, he took a job in the paint department at the original Able Building Supply location. During his time in Moses Lake, Rich also served with the Moses Lake Volunteer Fire Department and in 1982 was named Volunteer Firefighter of the Year. He flourished at his day job as well and eventually impressed owner Jim Turner enough that, when Able bought the lumber yard in Ritzville just a few years later, Rich was offered the position of manager.
And so in 1984, Rich, along with his wife and son, Jason, moved to Ritzville, Wash. They would remain there for the next decade.
Rich and Cathy worked side-by-side at Able-Ritzville. So synonymous were they, not only with each other but also with the business, that they were sometimes mistakenly referred to as “Mr. and Mrs. Able.” Not prone to idling, Rich and Cathy served as EMTs for the bulk of their Ritzville years.
Rich also made a point to attend as many of Jason’s hundreds of sporting events as was at all possible. He even constructed a pitching mound and backstop in their backyard during Jason’s Little League years, despite Rich’s never having been much involved with sports as a child.
Able Building Supply’s purchase of Quincy Lumber coincided with Jason’s high school graduation so, in the summer of 1995, Rich and Cathy relocated to Quincy to take over management of the new acquisition.
Before too long, the time, effort and love Rich had poured into his wife and son was spread to what would eventually be his many grandkids. As well as being a committed family man, Rich was a committed employee who would remain with Able until the business was bought out by Chinook Lumber in the early 2000s. In fact, he’d be with the company until 2012. This meant he was with Able/Chinook for just over 30 years. This put to rest the early concern of Cathy’s father, who at one time worried that it seemed Richard “can’t hold down a job!”
The few people who were extremely close to him knew that Richard had spent most of his life with only one kidney and in 2010, following about a year of kidney dialysis, a transplant was required. This gift of life was provided through a course of “only-God-could-do-that” events by his sister, Melissa Williams. Life improved greatly following the surgery and he was full of love and gratitude to Melissa for her gift. Other complications, however, would continue and worsen, culminating in a major heart surgery — a six way bypass — in April 2019.
Despite his health problems and inability to be in and amongst large groups because of the transplant, Rich continued working from his home office (again alongside Cathy) first for Chinook and then as a salesman for Solid Structures, a provider of steel buildings based in Spokane. He continued this work until he was unable to sit at his desk due to his physical decline in 2020.
Those with whom he stayed intimately acquainted included — but were not limited to — his small home-church group of many years as well as the Lischkas, Jeff Butt, Rod Wurl, Brad Bierlink, all of Quincy, (thanks Brad for all of the words of encouragement and the music you provided) and lifelong friends, Ward Wenholz and Bob Pival of Libby and Randy and Rae Jean Kelley of Okanogan, Wash. We all appreciated Rich’s wit and sense of humor. He told a hospice person prior to his passing that if there was a betting pool she should choose a sooner date rather than a later date.
Rich was preceded in physical death by dads, Bill Noble and Chauncey Sauer.
He is survived by his wife and best friend of 40 years, Cathy; son, Jason and his wife Nicole; grandkids, Jeremy Guthas, Tyler, Riley, Connor, Grace, Olivia and Chauncey; mother, Carolyn; siblings, Lorin, Glenn, Will, Melissa, Christina, Jerry and Tom; and his small-group, whom he considered his family as well.
He was lovingly and delicately cared for until the very end by Cathy; his son, Jason; and Cathy’s sisters, Christy and Carol; their mother, Marlyn Sauer; and his small-group family.
There’s no doubt that he breathed his last (for now) knowing full-well via all of their words and deeds that he was truly loved. His best-known saying was “God is good all the time.”
The family would like to thank the dozens of medical professionals from Confluence in Wenatchee; Virginia Mason in Seattle; EMS in Quincy; and the home-care and hospice workers in Grant County for their tireless efforts throughout the years providing Richard with as many happy and healthy hours as they could. Know that they were truly a blessing.
We know that, in the blink of an eye and just as quickly as he left us, we who trust Jesus as Lord and Savior will be reunited with Richard. He is in “His Grip.” In that vein, the family would ask that, instead of flowers or gifts, donations be made to J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible radio ministry at ttb.org.
Celebration of life plans will be announced at a later date.