Multitime world and national champion offshore powerboat racer Robert Noble Jr., “J.R.” to most, passed away in his sleep early on Tuesday, March 8. He was 58 years old. Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, he spent most of his life in the Orlando area where he worked as the president of Stihl Southeast.
Since 2007, Noble has also been an offshore racer, starting out in the Superboat Stock class. He won the world and national championships before moving up to the Superboat class, where he ran a Skater 388 while flying the Stihl colors and won the national championship. He is already sorely missed in the offshore racing community where he was considered a friend and competitor with the utmost class. He was also pivotal in getting NBC Sports to recently air coverage of the Superboat International Key West World Offshore Championships from last November.
Noble had recently reunited with throttleman Grant Bruggemann, and the team was building a new boat for the 2016 season. Mr. Noble is survived by his mother Ardyce Youel, his father Bob Noble Sr., wife Suzanne, son Jacob, sisters Susan Hasselkorn and Sherri Sussex, and Sherri’s fiancé Mike Fosse, and also by his partner, Elizabeth Shively. A Celebration of Life Service in Noble’s honor was held on Saturday, March 19, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency, 9801 International Drive, Orlando.