Bill Noble

Cordova Bay’s newest centenarian still spry

Remarkably, for a man who was born while Sir. Wilfrid Laurier was still Prime Minister of Canada, Noble lives independently with minimal home care support. Should he pass his renewal exam, Noble will also retain his driver’s licence and continue to drive to take his wife Kay out for dinner.

  • Aug. 29, 2011 10:00 a.m.

Don’t be fooled when Cordova Bay’s Bill Noble talks about making radios with peanut tubes. The former radio and phonograph salesman may have celebrated his 100th birthday on Aug. 23, but also has a computer and still keeps up with the latest news in technology.

“As a kid, I was always interested in radio,” he says, about what was high tech at the time. “It was the coming thing.”

Remarkably, for a man who was born while Sir. Wilfrid Laurier was still Prime Minister of Canada, Noble lives independently with minimal home care support. Should he pass his renewal exam, Noble will also retain his driver’s licence and continue to drive to take his wife Kay out for dinner.

To celebrate the big day, Noble’s longtime neighbour Gwen MacPherson organized a surprise party.

“He couldn’t believe it,” MacPherson said of the party attended by friends and his two stepsons. “He loves the neighbours and he loves to party.”

Sitting in his easy chair in his living room, Noble smiles at all of the recognition.

He has a binder of congratulatory certificates, including ones from the Queen and the Prime Minister.

Nearby, there are an assortment of flowers and cards. However, the bouquet from the local pharmacy is a little odd, Noble says, given that he takes no medications.

“I’ve been really very lucky and I realize it,” Noble says. “I never felt that I was getting old until I reached 100, then everybody started telling me.”

Noble explains that his love of music and radio led him to move from Vancouver to Prince Rupert to sell RCA/Victor radios in 1940. He later opened Noble’s record, radio and phonograph stores in Prince Rupert and Terrace before relocating to Cordova Bay to be closer to his parents. His father, George Holmes Noble, is the son of pioneering Oak Bay dairy farmers.

In his home, a walker parked beside his chair and a hearing aid are some of the few signs of his age.

But get him talking, and the tales testify to a time gone by. He recalls driving a Studebaker from Vancouver to Florida in 1928 – Texas was the worst, Noble says, with only 10 miles of blacktop on either side of Houston.

There is also his pocket camera, still in pristine condition, which he’s carried with him since the 1930s when he bought it for 25 cents.

As a boy, he would play on the beach in Cordova Bay during family visits to what, in the 1920s, was primarily a summer vacation area. When he returned to Cordova Bay in the spring of 1967, he was with his first wife Evelyn and son Stewart, both of whom have passed.

Noble, an only child, is the last surviving member of his father’s bloodline. The family name will end with him, despite a history of long lives.

Each of his father’s nine siblings all lived into their 90s, with George making it until just two weeks short of his 104th birthday. Even Noble’s dog Rex lived until he was 23, Noble says with a grin.

“It’s in the genes. I don’t even know what the genes are,” he says. “I keep being told I have the right genes, so I’ll accept that.”

Noble shies away from dispensing any advice or words of wisdom on his long life.

“My mind is an enquiring mind,” he says. “I just know how darn lucky I am.”

nnorth@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Esquimalt gives six-storey rental complex the green light

A new apartment building is set to go up on Admirals Road

Light up August with a lantern building workshop in Sidney

ArtSea workshops in preparation for Aug. 24 Salish Sea Lantern Festival

Colwood field lacrosse camp aims to get more kids involved

Victoria Field Youth Lacrosse hopes to inspire future athletes

Report estimates Saanich taxpayers face a preliminary tax increase of 4.73 per cent in 2020

Saanich staff also questions why council continues to ask for budget reduction scenarios

WATCH: Our Place Therapeutic Recovery Community turns into a ‘place of healing’

500 volunteers, 120 businesses worked to transform View Royal community

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

Most Read