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Jack Noble - In Memoriam
Tribute by Dr Michael Du Preez in August 1993

JACK NOBLE died at his home in Cape Town on 27 July 1993. Long will he be remembered as one of the most colourful characters and loyal devotees ever connected with the Chow Chow breed in particular, and with dogs in general.

Jack first saw light of day in London in 1921. He was born into a family of dog fanciers. His father had Fox Terriers, but it was at the age of seven that Jack met his first fate in the shape of a Chow Chow spied on a stall in one of the dog street-marets which abounded in London in the ‘20s. It was a case of love at first sight. The deal was concluded for a “couple of bob”, and thus began Jack’s lifelong commitment to the breed.

In due course, the inevitable happened. Jack began to show his dogs, and with a certain amount of success. It should not be forgotten that those were great days for Chow Chows in England, with famous kennel names such as Amwell, Choonam, Rochow and the like, being pacesetters for excellence in the breed.

It was in 1938 that Jack met his second fate, this time in the petite and pretty form of Golda. They were married in London, but not before Golda had been presented with her first Chow Chow by Jack on her birthday!

During the following year, World War II was declared. Jack joined the Essex Yeomanry, was posted to Italy and to Northern Europe, and was wounded in action. After the war, he continued his association with his old comrades by his involvement with the MOTHS, of which he remained a very active member for the rest of his life.

Of course, the interest in dogs had to be placed on the back burner at this time, not only because back at home his young wife Golda was bombed out on three occasions, but also because there was simply not enough food available to feed pets. There was scarcely enough for the human population.

With the coming of peacetime, things were not at all easy in Britain. With his qualifications as a Baker, Jack had the offer of a post in Salisbury, Rhodesia – and thus it came to pass that the Nobles move to Southern Africa took place, together with a couple of Chow Chows. And thus a very successful phase of life began for the young couple.

'Ere long, the newly established Noblechow Kennels in Bulawayo were a great success. With up to 30 dogs at any one time, and maintained to Golda’s positively clinical standards of cleanliness, one champion after another was produced. All the time, additional excellect bloodstock was imported from the United Kingdom – most often from the Hanoi Kennels of Dulcie Smith, and of course from the Baytor Kennels of the Westlake family in Teignmouth.

Soon Jack, with characteristic energy, established the Matabeleland Chow Chow Club (a first for Africa), and at times there were as many as 50 Chows entered in the shows, a truly remarkable achievement. Golda it was who usually brought dogs down South to show in the South African rings.

In addition to the conventional shows, Jack also put together a carting team of stunning black Chows, which became a noted feature of many outdoor and charity events in Rhodesia at the time.

In 1960, Jack went to Malawi to resuscitate an ailing bakery, and of course the dogs went along too. Then, in 1973, the whole tribe moved to Cape Town. At that time, Jack’s most stunning dog was Ch Noblechow Freddie of Kalamunda, who had more presence and dignity than any other Chow I have ever known.

It was not long before Jack spotted a deficiency in the local dog scene here – so he established the Cape Utility Dog Club, which first saw the light of day at a meeting held at a hotel in Rondebosch in 1973. The Club is still in existence, and at the time of his death, Jack was not only an Honorary Life Member, but an active serving committee member into the bargain.

   
   
 

It was in the late ‘70s that the Nobles moved to Paarl, where Jack once more took over an ailing bakery. It was hard work turning the business around, and unfortunately the dogs had to take second place. In due course things were going well when there occurred a particularly unpleasant and tragic incident at the Noble home. Intruders broke in and murdered one of their loyal staff. To some extent, it was this event which precipitated a move back to Cape Town, where the couple chose to live quietly with some of their remaining Chows.

Illness had also started to take its toll, but Jack continued to maintain an active profile in the Chow world, and with the establishment of the Chow Chow Club of the Western Cape his guiding hand was apparent from the inception, and he was a natural choice as the Club’s Honorary Life Patron. Jack continued to participate actively in the affairs of the Utility Dog Club right up to the end. He suffered a stroke in July, yet nevertheless managed to carry out the duties of ring steward from his wheelchair.

A strong character, Jack Noble has left his own indelible mark on the Chow Chow breed in this part of the world. He may be gone from our midst, but he will certainly never be forgotten, and we shall remember him with affection.

 
           
 

Written by Dr Michael Du Preez.

More stories will be added over time as more memorabilia comes out of attics!

 
           
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