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Bill Noble's columns now in book form
The entire five-year collection of Ceres Courier columns written by the late Bill Noble is now in book form and being sold at two locations in Ceres.

"The Once Little Town of Ceres" is being sold for $15 at Ceres Drugs on Fourth Street as well as at the Ceres Museum on Fifth Street.

"I just think he'd be really happy to know they are in book form," said Polly Noble, Bill's widow.

In 2003 the former Ceres resident approached editor Jeff Benziger about writing a weekly column about life in early-day Ceres. The column ran from 2003 to 2007, gaining him an appreciative Courier audience.

"He loved writing those columns," said Polly. "He was reliving his life in Ceres. Even though every time we moved to a different town his heart and soul was always in Ceres and he got back to see his friends every chance he could."

The column wound down when Noble started feeling ill. In March 2008 he was diagnosed with cancer. He died at his home in Sequim, Wash., on June 28, 2008. He was 82. His ashes were scattered on his former homestead on Central Ave., known as Old Creamery Road at the time he lived there.

Bill had talked about putting all of his writings in a book but didn't get a chance. Not long after his passing, Polly was inspired to publish the book "in memory of Bill."

Daughter Ann Noble went through the 240 columns, editing them into paperback book form. Most of the stories detail what life was like growing up in Ceres in the 1930s. They also include some of his experiences as a member of the Merchant Marine during World War II as well as in the oil business. In 1959 Noble went to work at E.R. Vine & Sons in Ceres, a petroleum distributorship, delivering fuel products to stations and ranches with tanks on their properties.

"The book's still not perfect but we had an urgency to get it publish," said Polly. "We wanted to get it published because the people he wrote about are passing away."

Polly and Ann paid $28 per copy to have 100 books published in the Portland area, then turned around and donated about 40 copies to friends. The rest were donated to the Ceres Historical Society to be sold.

"If there's a demand for another 100 we can have them printed," said Polly.

Mr. Noble moved from Ceres to Tulare in 1969 and then to Gustine in 1974. Bill retired from the oil business in 1988 and moved to Modesto in 1993. When he wrote his columns he was living in Washington State, home since 2000.