Having said farewell to one good friend a few days ago, I find myself saying goodbye to another this week. Jo Anne Noble’s heart was as big as her personality, and her death yesterday afternoon is being mourned by the entire Central Texas herding community. I did not know Jo Anne as well as some, but she was unfailingly kind and encouraging to all of us. When handlers and their dogs did well, she congratulated them, and when we faltered and failed, she built us up and convinced us to keep on trying. She was a genuinely nice person and always had a smile on her face.
Below are a couple of photos of Jo Anne and her dogs I took at herding events last year. Jo Anne treated people and dogs alike with courtesy and respect. I’m sure there were dog spirits waiting to greet her yesterday at the rainbow bridge, and I hope the green fields of Heaven they walk will be filled with flocks of sheep.
My classmate, Gary Ragsdale, recently put it very well when he said, “A downside to living so long is having to say 'goodbye' to so many who added meaning to our lives.” My life is certainly richer for having known Jo Anne. She was a person to be emulated, and she will be remembered and sorely missed.