Community mourns Father Noble
THE Southern Downs community is in mourning following the death of Catholic priest Father Kevin Noble.
Fr Noble lost his battle with oesophageal cancer on Friday evening at 9.15pm at the Warwick Hospital at the age of 64.
But his spirit will live on within St Mary’s Catholic Church and the community at large.
Fr Noble grew up on a Freestone farm, where two of his three sisters still reside today, and later attended the Christian Brothers School in Warwick.
He was ordained into the priesthood on August 8, 1973, at St Mary’s Catholic Church Warwick and his first diocesan appointment was as assistant priest at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Toowoomba.
He had subsequent appointments at St Theresa’s Toowoomba, St Mary’s Warwick, Goondiwindi, Surat, Texas and Killarney.
He was a member of the Council of Priests, a consultor to Bishop William Morris and dean of the Southern Downs – positions he held until his death.
Long-time friend and fellow priest Father Hal Ranger met Fr Noble 48 years ago when he was a young man battling with the decision to become a priest.
“I remember plenty of yarns with him as he tried to make his decision,” Fr Ranger said.
Fr Ranger admired him for his faithfulness to his decision to become a priest and in more recent times, along with his sisters, caring for his mother who was seriously ill.
He remembers fondly Fr Noble’s love of horse racing, which he enjoyed to watch but rarely placed bets on as he wasn’t much of a punter.
Fr Ranger said in one sense Fr Noble never really left the family farm at Freestone.
“A part of him was a farmer and he never really lost that,” Fr Ranger said.
He returned to Warwick in April 2008 where he was appointed parish priest after being with the Killarney parish for many years and worked alongside pastoral council chair Rob Dawson.
“He was a great man, very compassionate, who cared for those who were less privileged and always had time for people,” Mr Dawson said.
“His work was his whole life. If he wasn’t in the presbytery, he was at St Mary’s or visiting people of the parish.”
Killarney’s Holy Cross Catholic Parish will never be the same after they were graced with the presence of Fr Noble for about 10 years and parish member Frank Schneider said he would never be forgotten.
“He was a very good priest, very good at his job and he liked to mix with all denominations,” Mr Schneider said.
“He was of very good character, very well spoken, everybody loved him.”
Mr Schneider said he was always there for everybody.
“He was like one of our family. He was a part of the community in Killarney,” Mr Schneider said.
Fr Noble was supported by retired priest Father Terry Hickling who worked alongside him in Warwick, Allora and Killarney.
“I have only heard wonderful comments on how he was with Catholic people as well as all other people. It has been a privilege to work with him,” Fr Hickling said.
“He was a good friend of mine.
“We have lost a wonderful priest who will be missed very much.”
FR Hickling said Fr Noble came from a close-knit loving family who supported him and remained by his side until he passed away on Friday evening.
Fr Noble joined the St Patrick’s Parish of Allora in 2006.
Parish chairman John Briffa said Fr Noble was a supportive man with a quiet but determined nature.
“He was appreciated, loved and respected,” Mr Briffa said.
A prayer vigil will be held for Fr Noble at St Mary’s on Wednesday at 7pm, to which all are welcome, before his funeral on Thursday.
The requiem mass will begin at 11am before the celebration of the Eucharist and the funeral.
Fr Noble will be buried in Warwick.
He leaves behind three sisters, Margaret Cummerford and Lynnette and Mary Noble.