Donald Noble’s first exposure to building a skating rink came at age seven when he helped a neighbor dig a tiny trench around their yard in Cleveland, OH. They piled the dirt up around the edge, then flooded the center. Once the water froze, they had an ice surface on which to skate. Years later on January 24, 1934, Donald asked the then, Alice Jackson, out on their first date. They went ice skating at Brookside Park ice skating pond in Cleveland. The park was flooded over for the public to come skate for free in the winter. Donald and Alice married in July 1939 and on every anniversary of their first date, they would go ice skating. Their love of skating was passed along to their four children, David, Richard, Jeanne and Nancy. The children grew up skating near their childhood home in Wooster on Miller’s Lakes and a flooded field on the College of Wooster campus when the water would freeze over. Each of the children were on skates by age 3 or 4 years. Their grandchildren and great-grandchildren were also taught to skate.
Don Noble was born in 1915. He began his career in 1933 as a bank messenger during the depths of the depression and later worked as an accountant for National City Bank while attending college at Western Reserve University. After completing a hard-won college education, he joined The Wooster Rubber Company (later Rubbermaid Incorporated) as an accountant and rose through the ranks to become President and Chief Executive Officer in 1959. He was elected Chairman of the Board in 1974 and continued to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of Rubbermaid until he retired in 1980.
Alice Noble graduated as valedictorian at West Technical High School in Cleveland and went to work as a bookkeeper for the National Brick Association. She later worked as an accountant at Fuller, Smith and Ross while attending night classes at Western Reserve University on full scholarship. In 1941, after almost three years of marriage, Alice and Donald were expecting their first child and moved to Wooster. Alice left her job to raise their family and became a well-respected part of the Wooster community.
Mr. and Mrs. Noble combined their success with their love of skating in fulfilling their dream of building a skating facility in Wooster. They wanted to do something for the city that had been very good to them and provide area youth the opportunity to enjoy skating sports. This was a big leap from the backyard rink Donald helped his neighbor build as a child. Donald Noble died in June of 2002, just ten days after he and Alice enjoyed a ceremonial first trip around the new ice arena in a specially built sleigh on blades. Alice Noble died peacefully at the age of 95 yrs. on November 26, 2010. Up until a few years ago, she made regular visits to the arena to watch the skaters enjoying the beautiful facility that bears her name.
You can read their full story in the Memoirs of Donald E. Noble Like Only Yesterday.