Tribute to Elder Donald U. Noblett

Donald Upton Noblett died at home amid his loving family on Monday, October 10, 2011, just three days short of his 85th birthday.  His parents were the former Ralph S. Noblett and Florence M. Smith of Cleveland, Ohio.  They were staunch Episcopalians.

Don graduated from the Case Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and first worked as a research chemist for The Glidden Company in Cleveland. It was while working there  that he met and married his wife, Vivian, who had grown up in the Evangelical Congregational Church. The search for a “middle ground” in church participation landed them in the Presbyterian Church, to which each of them would devote significant time and energy throughout their marriage.

In time Don realized that he was not at all interested in spending his career at Glidden, but rather wanted to devote his gifts to helping people. He thus returned to his alma mater as an Assistant Director of Admissions; then became Director of Admissions at Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio; and finally becoming Director of Admissions of Lafayette College in 1958. At Lafayette he subsequently was appointed Director of Development; Director of College Planning; and lastly Director, then Vice President of Physical Planning and Operations. His service to Lafayette spanned 34 years.

As previously mentioned, Don gave much of his life to serving his Lord Jesus Christ through the Presbyterian Church.  He and Vivian joined the College Hill Church of Easton in October of 1959. He served in the congregation as an elder, a deacon and a trustee. He also answered the high calling to serve the greater church as a member of numerous committees in Lehigh Presbytery and the Synod of the Trinity. He was Moderator of Lehigh Presbytery in 1974, and then its Stated Clerk from 1997-2005. He was an Elder Commissioner to the General Assembly in Chicago in 1970, and was Moderator of the Synod of the Trinity from 1994-96.

As a result of his involvement in the Synod, Don and Vivian were asked to be part of a delegation to a meeting of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in Debrecen, Hungary in 1998. While there they met and enjoyed the friendship of the Rev. Kata Baczoni who, with her husband, pastor the Hungarian Reformed Church in Sovata, Romania. Thus began a partnership between the College Hill and Sovata congregations, to which Don and Vivian gave much time and energy over the last 13 years.

Don’s other great love was the Boy Scouts of America. In 1939 he became a Boy Scout with Troop 301 in Bratenahl, Ohio, reaching rank of Life. In Easton he became Pack 3 Cubmaster, then Troop 3 Scoutmaster during which sons Jeffrey and Bruce attained Eagle Scout rank. Don served the Minsi Trails Council on the Executive Board, as Council Commissioner, and as Weygadt Trustee. He received the Silver Beaver Award in 1978, the God and Service Award in 2001, and the 50 Year Service award in 2006.

Don is survived by his wife, Vivian, sons Jeffrey and Bruce, daughter Judith, who is currently an elder of the College Hill Church, six grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.

Don was a true embodiment of the Reformed combination of “order and ardor.” His combination of precision and grace, faith and humor, will be greatly missed.

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”


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