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Ethel Emma Fahlen Noble ’40

A picture of Ethel Fahlen Noble

Ethel Emma Fahlen Noble ’40, December 24, 2012, in Portland. Ethel was a day-dodger at Reed, along with her sister, Mildred Fahlen Taxer ’42. Initially commuting an hour and a half twice daily, the sisters were able to arrange a morning lift to the campus from Beepske Brevet Selhorst ’41, one of the rare Reedite car owners at the time and also carpooled with Ricky Heinicke ’42 (Thomas Frazier) and Eugene Snyder ’41. Ethel was on the Central Dance Committee and was a member of the chorus. She majored in psychology, studying with (William) Monte Griffith [psychology 1926–54], and served as an assistant to Griffith in his role as supervisor of the merit systems for the state of Oregon employment service. She had a brief teaching experience at Chiloquin High School near Klamath Falls before her marriage to John L. Noble, a structural engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. During World War II, while John served in the military, Ethel sold dresses, typed letters, worked as a bookkeeper, and did statistical studies at Kaiser Shipyard on Swan Island. Following the war, she managed the couple’s Portland home, raised their two sons, and did volunteer work. She was a member of the League of Women Voters for over 50 years, through which she exercised a long-standing engagement with public policy issues, and was a member of the First Congregational Church for more than 55 years. She enjoyed activities with Reed alumni and with the Corps of Engineers Auxiliary. In an interview in 2004, Ethel said: “I appreciate the Reed training that has enriched the ordinary process of living and the relationships with family, friends, and associates. Some of the Reed goals that I value the most are the continuing quest for knowledge, the open-minded approach to problems, and the postponement of judgment until other points of views are considered. I realize what a privilege it was to have been exposed to a very dedicated and talented faculty—most especially Monte Griffith. His wit, keen insight, practical approach, and concern for the individual are not forgotten.” Survivors include her sons, two grandsons, and sister Mildred. Her husband died in 1998.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2013

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