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Local News

January 7, 2013

Port Arthur woman celebrates 109th birthday

PORT ARTHUR — Theodore Roosevelt was the president of the United States the year Bertha Noble was born.

It was 1904 when the Church Point, La., native entered this world. Noble was her parents’ fifth child, and four more would follow after her soon enough.

But now, Noble is the last sibling living, and she turned 109 years old today.

“She’s older than automobiles,” said Henry Noble, Bertha Noble’s youngest son.

Though she may outdate the automobile, Bertha Noble did learn to drive one in her 109 years. She used to drive a Model T, her son said.

These days, Bertha Noble occupies a room at the Cypress Glen Nursing and Rehabilitation facility on Ninth Avenue. She has been living there since June, and she seems to be happy with her residence, Henry Noble said.

For years, Henry Noble, 80, and his brother, Lewis, took turns taking care of their mother, each son spending a month with her at their respective homes.

“She raised us,” Henry Noble said. “It’s good to be able to take care of her.”

In fact, Bertha Noble took care of much more than just her children at their Port Acres home. Henry Noble recalled how his mother tended to the garden and took care of the house and the cows and the chickens while simultaneously raising her two children.

“She was always a hard worker,” he said. “She kept us in line.”

But Bertha Noble also helped take care of other people’s children. For nearly 15 years, she baby-sat “every baby in Port Acres,” which is how she garnered the nickname “Ma Noble.”

“She was in big demand,” Henry Noble said.

Noble had moved to Port Acres in 1927 and later got a job at the Gulf Refinery (now the Valero Port Arthur Refinery) in the wax plant. While working there, a man she did not know had her transferred to the bakery, where he worked as the head baker, so he could keep an eye on her. That man later became her husband.

Bertha Noble has outlived her husband and the Gulf Refinery. She has seen two world wars, a man land on the moon and the invention of numerous technologies. She has probably seen some things she would not have believed, but that may be the case when someone lives longer than 100 years.

Over the weekend, Bertha Noble celebrated her birthday with family — her two sons, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. Gathered together at Cypress Glen, the extended Noble family — all five generations — ate cake and honored the woman — all 109 years of her — who made all their lives possible.

email: bcrum@panews.com

twitter: @broocrum

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