Robert Duayne Noah, 1938-2024

Apr 1, 2024


They say a real newspaperman has ink in his blood, and that was true for Robert Duayne Noah who left this mortal earth on February 20, 2024, to join the great newsroom in the sky after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 85 years old.

Born in Salem, Nebraska, in 1938, he was one of six children of Thomas and Beulah Noah, who enjoyed the Good Life of Nebraska, where he relished the outdoors and excelled at high school sports. It was during this time he got a job as a printer’s devil at the Nemaha County Herald newspaper in Auburn, Nebraska, and began his love of the newspaper business.

After high school, Bob spent a year at Peru State College in Peru, Nebraska, before transferring to and graduating from Kearney State University (now known as the University of Nebraska at Kearney) with a degree in math. In his senior year at Kearney, he met Carol Martin. She had completed her education at Doane College and was teaching in the elementary school in Kearney.

Bob’s post-graduate career began in the classroom, where he taught English, journalism and media relations at York Community High School in York, Nebraska, while Carol was still teaching in Kearney. They were engaged and then married December 28, 1960, during Christmas break. Carol resigned her position at Kearney and was able to get a teaching job in York, as well. They were married for almost 55 years and raised three children, David, Nancy and Doug.

After a short teaching career, Bob became news editor at the Aurora News-Register, working for publisher Gerald Bremer, a stereotypical newspaper editor with a bottle stashed in the bottom drawer of his desk. It was the glorious chaos of this newsroom where he continued to grow his passion for newspapers.

But newspaper editors earned only slightly more than teachers in those days, so in 1964, Bob took a job in public relations at Northern Natural Gas in Omaha before he and his family were transferred to the company’s Minnesota office, where he worked for four years.

When Bob saw a notice that the weekly newspaper in Kenyon, Minnesota, was for sale, he convinced Carol to pack up the family and resume his passion as a newspaperman. Bob published The Kenyon Leader from 1971 until 2001 when he sold the newspaper to his son, Doug. During those 30 years, he worked many nights and weekends reporting on city council and school board meetings, high school sporting events, community celebrations and occasional tragedies. He also wrote his weekly column, the Ark-Ives, that often chronicled the sometimes-embarrassing moments of his children’s lives.

Bob made sure the paper was published every single Wednesday during his 30-year career, come Hell or high water. It’s no wonder that one of his favorite songs was Johnny Cash’s “How High’s the Water, Momma!”

In 1992, Bob decided to serve his community in an additional role by winning a seat as a Goodhue County Commissioner and serving a total of 12 years at the post, during which time he helped oversee the improved delivery of county services and the construction of a new county jail, law enforcement center and courts facility.

Bob loved his family and enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren. After retirement, he and Carol loved to drive around the country with Carol's sister and brother-in-law, Dianne and Dave Barker, seeing new sites, playing golf and enjoying a cocktail. After Carol's passing in 2015, he spent time with his good friends in Kenyon and indulged his love of reading with the help of the wonderful librarians at the Kenyon Public Library, who always had his next book waiting for him to read.

Bob was proceeded in death by his wife, Carol; parents Tom and Beulah; brothers Don and Dennis; sister Mavis and brothers-in-law Bob Metzel, Les Martin, Lanny Martin and Dale Benson. He is survived by his three children, David (Lisa), Nancy (Jay) Wobig and Douglas (Jena); seven grandchildren: Josh (Kelsey), Becky, Nick (Tina) Wobig, Sara (Arik) Jacquart, Ryan (Samantha), Kelsey (Chaz) Stuve and Shelby; three great grandchildren, Jame–son Wobig, Elliot Noah and Braylin Stuve; his sister Jean and brother Dean; sisters-in-law Karen Noah, Pam Noah, Vera Martin, Sharon Martin, Dianne Barker, Kathy Martin, Rachel Noah and Janet Benson; and brothers-in-law Dave Barker and Tom Martin.

The family hosted a celebration of Bob’s life on Friday, March 1, 2024 at Kenyon United Methodist Church. Visitation was at Michaelson Funeral Home in Kenyon on Thursday, February 29, 2024.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Alzheimer's Association, the Kenyon Public Library or your favorite charity.