MISSOULA — Five miles from Canada and 15 from North Dakota, in a Dooley farmhouse on Nov. 9, 1927, Bob Noll’s earthly adventure began. Don’t try to find Dooley on a map. It no longer exists. Some people are known for putting a town on the map, but he is known for taking one off. Present were his parents, Art and Emma, and brother Don. At age 10 they moved to Noxon, whose claim to fame is that it is Noxon spelled upside down and backwards. He became class valedictorian. Sounds impressive until you find out that there were only four graduates.
After graduation he joined the Marines. Seemed like a good plan until he stepped on a flare in China, nearly ending his earthly quest, earning himself a six month stint in a China hospital, and a lifetime of PTSD. The Marine Corp chose to part ways with him due to his injuries. So, he set off in the pursuit of happiness, which as we all know is a confounding endeavor. Especially if you were just barely 18 years old when you nearly lost your life and spent months enduring an excruciatingly painful recovery.
Not to be undone by any of this, he wound up in Anaconda where he lived his “colorful” life in this “colorful” town. He worked on the BA&P Railroad for the next 20 years. He met a beautiful girl named Rosemary and changed her name from Schultz to Noll. She in turn blessed Bob with three children; Bobby Joe, Patty Ann, and Anita Kay. His joy with Patty’s birth was brief as she died shortly thereafter.
He got his pilot’s license and even owned a small plane. In 1966, due to smelter strikes, he sought railroad work in Bremerton, Washington. Eventually he brought Rosemary and the kids out to join him in 1968. After about four years he left Bremerton and his family, finding railroad work in Fairbanks, Alaska, Concord, California and Modesto, California.
Back to his beloved Montana he went after retirement. He made Missoula his home until the end of his days. With five unsuccessful marriages, he sought help from the VA. To their credit, the VA gave him the assistance he needed to finish life as a devoted father, proud grandfather/great-grandfather, and a friend that a friend would want to have. Although not marrying again, he reunited with a love from his youth, Annastelle Sanders. They enjoyed several years of world travels and winters in Yuma. His five marriages included; Margaret (that one lasted only two weeks), Rosemary, Caroline, Nancy, and Shirley. I asked him why his marriages didn’t last and he told me that his wives all had the same problem… bad choice in men. He had a bodacious sense of humor and loved to poke fun at himself (or at least beat others to it.)
At age 80, Bob went skydiving making jumps for the following nine years. His days were filled with veteran’s meetings, lunch groups, and visiting his friends… many were homebound, in nursing facilities, or hospitalized. He often traveled to Washington to be with family. To prove to his daughter that he was still capable of driving he hiked up to the M at age 89. He was a devoted Lady/Men's Griz basketball fan, sporting his signature red plaid hat recognized by Griz personnel and many fans.
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He was passionate about politics and Senator Jon Tester for his aid to veterans. He was old school and firmly believed that all business should be conducted face to face. His wit and charm left a lasting impression on everyone he met. He became the delight of the All Ways Care & Partner’s Hospice teams. He often shared his wonderment as to how he qualified for such loving care. Thanks to Vanessa, Kim, Jackie, Elilia, Lexi, Holly, and Laurie he was able to finish his journey in the comfort of his home. On the evening of Oct. 19, 2019, at the age of “going on 92,” his mind and sense of humor fully intact, with his grandchildren, Adam and Erin Moon, nephew Bart, and Bob’s daughter Anita at his side, he peacefully breathed his last breath. A daughter who is the author of this obituary, was treated much better than she ever deserved by her #1Papason. He was the best dad for a girl like her.
Now reunited with parents, Art and Emma Noll; brother, Don; daughter, Patty Ann; grandson, Jonathan Robert Noll Quinn; and true love, Rosemary Noll. Left to share amusing Bob Noll stories are his daughter, Anita (Ed) Quinn, son, Bobby Noll; grandchildren, Erin (Adam) Moon, Morgan (Mike) Le, Travis (Sydney) Quinn, Nollan (Lindsay) Quinn; great-grandchildren, Lillian, Isla, Griffey, Isaiah, Remy, Calloway, Crusoe, Cascade, Kason, Kael; nephews and nieces Jay, Pam, Bart, Matt, Sam as well as the entire ND Schultz nation; kinfolk Ron Swanson, Clarence Stern, Lucille McGinnis, Joan (Randy) Sanders Borneman, and Dick (Brenda) Sanders.
Funeral Mass will be Thursday, November 7th, 10:30 a.m., St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Missoula, followed by a reception at the church. 2 p.m. Military Honors at the Western Montana State Veteran Cemetery. Arrangements are under the care of Cremation Burial Society of the Rockies.
Semper Fi Bob Noll
Semper Fi Bob Noll