Friday, January 11, 2013

Ned Nobel, former State Geologist of North Dakota, 1922-2013

We are sad to report that former North Dakota State Geologist Edwin (Ned) Austin Noble passed away on January 3, 2013 at the age of 90.  Ned served as Assistant State Geologist from 1965 to 1969 under Wilson M. Laird and State Geologist and Chairman of the Geology Department at the University of North Dakota from 1969 to 1978.  Lee C. Gerhard served as Assistant State Geologist under Ned and became State Geologist and Department Chairman when Ned left.  Ned served as AASG Editor from 1971 until 1978.

Ned was born in Bethel, Vermont on December 15, 1922, to Mary and John Noble. He had a lifelong interest in natural history and also a lifelong interest in sports. He enjoyed reading daily newspapers and later watching the news.  While studying at Tufts University he was called to serve in the First Infantry Division (“The Big Red One”) of the Army during World War II.  He saw extensive combat and received two bronze stars for valor in the battlefield while fighting in the Ardennes and the Rhineland. He returned to Tufts after the war where he met his wife Polly. He then studied at the University of New Mexico and later received his PhD in Geology from the University of Wyoming. He worked in the Exploration Division of the Atomic Energy Commission on the Colorado Plateau and later in Argentina as a United Nations advisor to their uranium program.  After working for the North Dakota Geological Survey, Ned went to work for the USGS in Reston, VA, and spent five years working in Pakistan on a USAID energy resource program for which he received the Meritorious Service Award in 1991.

A memorial service will be held in Reston, Virginia for Ned in the Spring and interment will be in the family cemetery in Bethel, Vermont. Memorial gifts may be made to any human rights or animal protection society in his name. To access an oral military history and interview, please visit for information.  Polly can be reached at 11407 Great Meadow Drive, Reston, Virginia 20191.

[Contributed by Ed Murphy, NDGS]
Modified from the Washington Post (1/8/2013)

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