Robert Edgar Noland, 88, moved to his eternal home on Saturday, June 30, 2019 after battling complications from a stroke and congestive heart failure.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Lena Vermeille Lide Noland, four children and their spouses: Rev. Doug (Penny) Noland, Dr. Tom (Robin) Noland, Dr. Ed (Cathy) Noland and Robyn Noland (Rev. Stuart) Condra; eight grandchildren; six great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Bob is preceded in death by his grandson, Charles.
Bob was born in Tampa, Florida, on October 15, 1930. As a boy, he joined the Boy Scouts, learned to play the accordion, and developed a love for music. A 9th grade teacher required Bob and his classmates to write a paper on a possible career. Bob chose dentistry and decided at that point to become a dentist. After high school, he completed a pre-dentistry program at the University of Florida then attended dental school at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Back in Tampa for summer vacation, he discovered his home church had a new pastor whose daughter, Lena, became the love of his life. They celebrated their 63rd anniversary on June 16, 2019.
Upon completion of dental school, Bob joined the Navy as a dentist and served for two years. The Navy brought him and his bride to Saufley Field in Pensacola where he started his private practice and where they wasted no time starting (and completing) their family of three sons and one daughter – “Daddy’s Darling Daughter” - from 1957 to 1961. Bob proved to be a fun-loving father who thoroughly enjoyed taking the whole family (or at the least the kids lucky enough to be in the car before he pulled out of the driveway) on trips to Disneyland, America’s National Parks and Europe. On weekends, he loved to be on the water – skiing, sailing and simply enjoying time with his family. Bob was a laid-back Dad, one to whom a kid could confess forever losing a boat motor right off the stern into the muddy depths of Woodland Bayou.
As a dentist, Bob transitioned from a relatively shy young man into the master of the one-way conversation. Some might call it the gift of gab, but he used his gift to charm and disarm the toughest or shyest of small-talk partners. Bob’s never-ending love for learning, reading and researching provided a multitude of subjects and hobbies to draw from and ultimately, his big heart, openness, and easy-going nature endeared him to everyone he met.
In his 60 plus years as a member of First Baptist Church Gulf Breeze, Bob served as a deacon, Sunday School teacher, committee member, tenor in the choir, and a soloist. He and Lee (Lena) hosted missionaries on furlough, church staff, and anyone new in the church. Bob even took his dental skills to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip. He was a Gideon who not only placed Bibles in schools and hotels but knelt beside each of his children’s beds to lead them to the Lord.
The Gulf Breeze community benefited from Bob’s years in the Kiwanis Club where he was selected as “Man of the Year” and served as President. In 1973, the Boy Scouts named Bob the “Baldest Eagle” at the ceremony where he proudly watched his three teen-aged sons receive their Eagle Scout Awards together.
As each of their children married, Bob and Lee welcomed in-laws – or “in-loves,” as they like to say – with open arms. Until his illnesses began to dominate during this last year, Bob was a fun, loving grandpa to his adult grandchildren and a beloved great-grandpa to his six great grandchildren. Whenever he couldn’t be found in a gathering, he was with the children. He believed people who are “too sophisticated” to be impressed with the miracles and beauty of life cannot be happy. This childlike gratitude to God for the joys of family, life and nature kept him young at heart and lovable to people of all ages.
The Noland family would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to the staff of The Beehive for taking such exceptional care of Bob in every way possible. Their interest in him personally and their genuine love and family-like treatment of Bob and Lee have provided peace of mind through his time living at the Beehive.
The family is also grateful to the members of First Baptist Church Gulf Breeze who visited Bob and kept him involved in the activities of the church. He loved and prayed for his church family.
Visitation will be held at 10:00 AM Friday, July 5, 2019 until the funeral service at 11:00 AM with Pastor Brent Allen officiating A family graveside service will be held at 1:30 PM at Rose Lawn Cemetery in Gulf Breeze. The family suggests donations to either First Baptist Church Gulf Breeze or to Gideons International.