Maine Golf Legend Ralph Noel, Jr. Passes Away

Ralph Edward Noel, Jr. died at Maine Medical Center on January 21, 2017 from complications due to Parkinson's disease.  Ralph is survived by his wife, Judith Lessard of Cape Elizabeth, his children Kathleen King (and Hunter) of Poland, Ralph III (and Tammy) of Hebron, and Sean (and Hilary) of Waltham, Massachusetts, and their mother Dorothy Crowley Noel of Auburn.  He is also survived by his brother David (and Vicki) of West Farmington, and sister Carole (and Ralph) of Skowhegan, as well as three grandchildren – Jessica (and Randy) Hutchinson, Myles, and Cecelia Noel- two great-grandchildren – Randan and Jamison Hutchinson, and predeceased by a grandson – Nicholas Taylor.

Born in Lewiston to Ralph Louis Noel, Sr. and Christina Cunion Noel of Auburn, Ralph was a 1957 graduate of Edward Little High School. He played basketball and golf for Colby College, graduating with a BS, and later earned an MBA from the University of Southern Maine.  Ralph was drafted into the US. Army in 1963, served two years, and was honorably discharged.  A longtime employee of R. I. Mitchell, Ralph also enjoyed his time as the first Executive Director of the Maine State Golf Association.  Ralph Jr. had a life-long love affair with the game of golf.

He was the MSGA Junior Champion in 1957 and again in 1958.  He loved playing in the Paul Bunyan Tournament, and placed many times, winning in 1978.  He won sixteen club championships at his many-decade home course of Martindale Country Club in Auburn, Maine.  Many of his children’s best memories are from hours spent at Martindale with Ralph, walking, golfing, or sledding in the winter.  Ralph, Jr. was a three-time winner of the MSGA MAINE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP:  1968, 1980, 1981, and two-time winner of the MSGA MAINE SENIOR AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP:  1999, 2002.  He was inducted into the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, and the Maine Golf Hall of Fame in 1998.

Ralph was a fierce competitor, known for his accurate short game and consistent putting.  Beyond playing, Ralph loved all aspects of the game.  He worked for many years in his semi-retirement at local courses such as Dunegrass in Old Orchard Beach and Biddeford- Saco Country Club as a ranger and a starter, and just spending time on the course.  He ran MSGA tournaments for many years, and was well known and respected by golfers all over the state.

Ralph Jr. learned and loved outdoor sports from his father Ralph Sr.; fishing, hunting, ice fishing and trapping were all things he loved to do and shared with all of his children, especially Ralph III.  In his later years, Ralph became an avid reader, and together with his wife, Judy enjoyed travel, gardening and intense crossword puzzle challenges.

Visitation for Ralph will be at the Albert and Burpee Funeral home, 253 Pine St, Lewiston, ME 04240 on Thursday February 2, 2017 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, from 9:00 am to 11:00 am on Friday February 3, 2017, followed by a memorial service at 11:00 am and private interment in The Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Augusta, Maine.  

In lieu of flowers, if friends wish to make a donation in tribute to Ralph, the family suggests The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (michaeljfox.org) or the Maine State Golf Association Scholarship Fund (58 Val Halla Rd. Cumberland, ME 04021 or online at msga.org > Scholarship > How to Donate).