Noble Foster Richards, known as “Nobby,” of Salisbury, Conn. and Truro died peacefully at Noble Horizons Retirement Community and Nursing Home in Salisbury on Jan. 6, 2023. Many family members were with him in his final hours. He was 91.
Born on Jan. 13, 1931 to Foster and Bertha Richards, Noble attended Kent Center School and South Kent School. He graduated from South Kent in 1949, having served as the head prefect and captain of the hockey team and having spent his summers in Truro. After South Kent, he attended Trinity College in Hartford, where he majored in mathematics and was a member of the Air Force ROTC.
At Trinity, friends introduced him to Elizabeth Kotsrean, a student at Connecticut College. The two were married on Nov. 23, 1954 in Clayton, Mo. They immediately moved to Japan, where Noble served as an Air Force pilot.
In 1956, upon completion of his military service, Noble returned to South Kent School as a mathematics teacher and earned his M.A. in education from Wesleyan University. He remained at South Kent as a teacher, coach, and ultimately head of school until his retirement in 1996.
Students and faculty colleagues at South Kent remember Noble as a role model — a humble yet quietly powerful leader who applied the Christian values in which he believed. He did whatever was required, whenever it was required, to support the school and its students.
After retiring, Noble and Liz lived in Kent and spent summers at the home on South Pamet Road in Truro they had bought in 1961. In 2017, they moved to Noble Horizons in Salisbury, where Noble became an integral and beloved part of the community. When Liz moved to the Noble Horizons memory unit, Noble visited her daily, usually arriving on his tricycle.
Noble’s family describes him as loving, playful, and deeply caring. He cried when his children and grandchildren departed after a visit to Kent or Truro. On Cape Cod, he fished with his sons from a wooden dory he built himself. He played games and danced with his grandchildren. He collected and arranged bottle brush, clover, Queen Anne’s lace, sea lavender, and other wildflowers. Protected in military bib overalls, he plunged into the brush near the family house to gather heaping buckets of blueberries for family breakfasts.
Noble loved to hike and bike. He worked many summers as a Cape Cod National Seashore ranger, walking the trails and beaches and sharing his knowledge of plants and wildlife with visitors. He rode every bikeable roadway in northwestern Connecticut, Truro, and Provincetown. For a 90th birthday present he proposed a bicycling trip on the KT Trail in Missouri. He completed that ride in October 2022 in the company of 15 family members and friends.
Noble is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; his three sons: Timothy and wife Meg Clarke of Washington, D.C., James and wife Yvonne of South Kent, and Andrew and wife Kristin of South Kent; six grandchildren: Sarah and husband James Griffin of Colorado, Charlotte and husband Ryan Crownover of Alexandria, Va., Rachel of Blacksburg, Va., Christopher of South Kent, and Hannah and Audrey Richards of South Kent; and a great-granddaughter, Lillian Crownover.
A memorial service for Noble will be scheduled at South Kent School, with details to be announced.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Noble’s memory can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Noble Horizons, or South Kent School.