Shirley Noble

BIDDEFORD-SACO — Shirley Elinor Whitehead Noble passed away peacefully on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at 98 years of age.

She was born to parents, Raymond Whitehead and Elinor Washburn on January 13, 1923, in Dayton, Maine, as one of five children. Shirley graduated from Biddeford High School in 1940. Shortly thereafter, she married her high school sweetheart Robert L. Noble, Jr. before he served as a demolitionist in World War II. The couple had two sons and a daughter.

The Nobles lived in many locations, including Maine, California, Massachusetts, New York, and Florida. When their children were still young, they settled in the family cluster of homes in Biddeford Pool, Maine. Shirley and Robert remained in ‘the Pool’ until 1988, when they split their time between Frye Island, Maine, in the summer and Beverly Hills, Florida, in the winter months.

Shirley loved spending time with and caring for her family and getting to know her great-grandchildren. She had lived with her sister, Norma, while their husbands were away fighting in WWII and helped take care of her niece. Shirley later became a stay-at-home mother, but she also supported her family by working at Liggetts drugstore in Biddeford as a hiring manager and sold Dutchmaid clothing during house parties.

Nanny, as she was known by her granddaughters, will be remembered with love for her great cooking, knitting, gardening, warm heart, humor, and sharp wit. She enjoyed listening to music, dancing, swimming, and playing bridge with her family and friends. She also is known for her affinity for fashion and her excitement at finding a good deal, both qualities that her granddaughters came to admire. Frequent trips to visit her at her home on Frye Island are memories the family will always cherish.

After her husband of 61 years passed, Shirley lived with sister, Ethel (Petty), for many years. The two could always provide a perspective on what life was like growing up during the Great Depression and living through WWII, with a solid dose of down-to-earth pragmatism and an ample dose of humor. They shared stories of resourcefulness like buying a new sole for their one pair of shoes, using lobster trap bags to save soap ends, and making simple recipes such as bean soup. They also shared stories of adventures like walking to Westbrook Skating Rink with their school friends or how Shirley’s boys tended to surprise her by bringing home wildlife to nurture back to health.

Shirley was preceded in death by: her four sisters, Haroldine (Deannie) Trafford, Dorothy (Dot) Guay, Norma Coleman, Pauline Peacock; her husband, Robert; and also by her daughter, Jolene Noble Leclair.

She is survived by” her youngest sister, Ethel (Petty) St. Onge Michaud of Saco; her two sons, Barry Noble and wife Carol, and Kyle Noble and wife Diane; her grandchildren, Sara Demers, Jessica Leclair, Nicki Bean, and Amanda Noble; as well as seven great-grandchildren, Landon and Lane Demers, McKenna and Connor Bean, and Lillian (Lily), William and Mya Atwater.

As the family celebrates the long and happy life of Shirley Elinor Whitehead Noble, we recall lyrics from a song she sang to her family:

“You’ve got to laugh a little, cry a little
Until the clouds roll by a little
That’s the story of
That’s the glory of love.”

A welcoming family graveside service will be held in May in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Saco.

The family would like to express their gratitude to Atlantic Heights Community in Saco for their care and to Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough for providing peaceful, loving care at the end of life.

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