Former Seymour fire chief dies at 79

A former Seymour fire chief who later reopened a beloved skating rink for kids leaves behind a legacy of memories with friends, family and co-workers.

Glenn Noblitt had battled heart and kidney failure for the past few months and died early Friday at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. He was 79.

Noblitt served with the Seymour Fire Department as a firefighter for 25 years and as fire chief for eight years, from 1972 to 1976 and from 1980 to 1984. In his administrative capacity, he was heavily involved in the community, his wife said Monday.

“He devoted his life to the city of Seymour,” Nancy Noblitt said.

Former Fire Chief Fred Hines worked as a firefighter under Noblitt for a number of years and said he was sad to hear of his passing.

“He was a very fair and honest guy, and he did as much as he could for the department,” Hines said.

Back in those days, firefighting was different than it is today, Hines added.

“It was tough,” he said. “And Glenn was a big, strong guy. But he wasn’t a bully. He stood up for what’s right.”

Noblitt became active in the Indiana Fire Chiefs Association, a group in which Hines became involved, too.

“He was chief when we purchased our first ladder truck,” Hines said. “He always wanted to make the department better, and I had and still have a lot of respect for him.”

Working some tough fires together, Hines said Noblitt was the kind of guy you wanted backing you up.

“He was one of those guys you could trust with your life,” he said. “He would walk through a wall to get you out.”

After retiring in 1984, Noblitt started Noblitt Excavating. In 2007, he and his wife reopened Rok-Sey Roller Rink in Rockford.

Noblitt also had a passion for the outdoors and was known for making Kentucky long rifles. He enjoyed going hunting with his handcrafted muzzleloader, his family said.

His daughter, Eva Auleman of Seymour, said “he was a most honorable dad.”

“He loved for us all to be together and wanted everyone to have plenty,” she said. “He always came to my house on Sundays and holidays in hopes everyone would come. We enjoyed him so much.”

Although he had been in declining health, Auleman said her dad never complained.

“He asked about everybody else,” she said. “The last thing he said was he wished we could all just be together and watch the world go by. He loved everybody, and everybody loved him.”

Besides his wife and Auleman, he is survived by his other children, Julia Mohr, Beth Linnemeier and Nathan Noblitt; nine grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; two brothers; and a sister.

Hines said after Noblitt retired from the department, they didn’t stay in close contact all the time. But when they happened to see each other, there was no time lost.

“There’s always a kind of bond between fire chiefs,” Hines said. “So when we would bump into each other, it’s like we were long-lost friends. We would talk about the department and about the fires we worked.”

Hines said they shared the same jokes and same stories, but that was perfectly fine by him.

“They were just as funny as the first time we told them,” he said. “We had a good working relationship all the way through.”

Hines also described Noblitt as the “hardest-working person I knew.”

“He always told me how proud of the department he was and what it had become, but he built the foundation for us,” Hines said.

Noblitt’s funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at The Point, 311 Myers St. in Seymour.

Visitation is scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. today at Peter’s Switch Church of the Nazarene, 9528 N. County Road 760E, and from 9:30 a.m. until time of service Wednesday at The Point.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.