THROWBACK THURSDAY: Beloved educator remembered

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By James Wear

Fifty years ago Louine Noble decided to pursue the teaching profession and give up a promising career as an opera singer. It was a decision that would eventually lead her to Liberty Hill schools, where she influenced thousands of students, parents and teachers during her career.

Ms. Noble, 80, passed away a few days ago while a patient at an Austin hospital. Her parents grew up in the Leander area, but Louine was born in Bishop. The family later moved to Lockhart. She graduated from Lockhart High School in 1958 and went on to attend Washington University in St. Louis as she prepared to become a singer. During the summers of 1967 and 1968 she sang with the Boston Symphony, and in 1969 performed at the opera house in Zurich, Switzerland.

In 1972 she taught music at a rural school in Maine before landing at Pearsall where she taught through 1973. She joined Liberty Hill elementary staff as a sixth grade teacher before being named principal in 1976. Louine took graduate courses at Texas State University in San Marcos where she earned a Master’s Degree in educational administration in 1978. She continued in her role as elementary principal until 1987, when she was selected to serve as superintendent following the resignation of J.D. Cox. She held that position until 1991.

She continued to teach music while a principal, and there’s probably not a student who attended one of her music classes that cannot tell you the words to the children’s song “Bingo.”

In an interview that appeared in the Jan. 27, 1977, issue of The Libertarian, Louine was asked about Liberty Hill and she responded, “I love it! It offers a lot of things that to me are typical of my vision of America. A little place offers things that a big community can’t: it has closeness, sincerity and honesty.”

My first encounter with Louine came shortly after she had been named superintendent and I dropped by her office to take a picture of her behind her new desk. After introducing myself, she told me, “If you’re just half the guy your brother is you are all right,” as she recognized the close friendship she and my oldest brother, who served several years on the Liberty Hill school board, had developed.

Louine, although among the sweetest, kindest, petite women I’ve ever known, also had a firm side. I recall once, prior to a Panther basketball playoff in 1988, she took two men aside (who shall remain nameless) who were widely known as being, well, perhaps a bit rowdy when it came to cheering the team on and sharing their opinions of the officiating with the referees. Louine politely but firmly informed them they would not do anything that night to embarrass the players or the school.

Indeed, they behaved themselves that night.

Louine, after leaving the school district, remained an active member of the community. She was a charter member of the Liberty Hill Lions Club and joined Cross Tracks Church in 1981 where she directed and sang with the choir.

Notification of her passing drew several comments on social media, with some suggesting that a Liberty Hill school campus be named after her. Perhaps Pam Turner summed it up best by noting, “Yesterday our Cross Tracks Church family lost a true leader, the purest heart and a woman who lived for the community, children, God and all that was good in the world. Louine left her love with all she knew and will be forever in our hearts…Thanks a million Louine Noble for touching so many lives and making us all better people for knowing you! Sing with the Angels!”

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