Medical center supporter, Harlan Noddle, dies

by Karen Burbach, UNMC public affairs, and Cherie Lytle, The Nebraska Medical Center | December 13, 2005

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Harlan Noddle, second from left, and his wife, Nancy, second from right, with Dr. Harold M. Maurer and his wife, Beverly, during a Sept. 14 recognition dinner.
Harlan Noddle, a longtime supporter of UNMC and The Nebraska Medical Center, died Sunday, Dec. 11, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 69.

Noddle spent the past eight years on The Nebraska Medical Center board of directors, serving as chairman from April 1, 2000, through Dec. 31, 2002.

He leaves behind a legacy of community and economic growth. He was founder and chairman of Noddle Development Company and was responsible for projects like One Pacific Place and the First National Business Park.

"Harlan was among the wisest leaders in Omaha and the state," said UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D. "He loved UNMC and the hospital. As chair of The Nebraska Medical Center board, he set in place the funding for construction of the Hixson-Lied Center for Clinical Excellence. I sought Harlan's advice repeatedly under a variety of circumstances, particularly those that related to real estate and construction. He always came through for me. His answers were always direct, honest and helpful in understanding the circumstances."

Dr. Maurer said Noddle, whom he met during his initial visits to UNMC, also was a "great friend."

"In addition to being a great and wise mentor, Beverly and I had a close personal relationship with him, his wife Nancy and his family," Dr. Maurer said. "When asked by others what he does, he would say 'he takes money from First National Bank and gives it to Peter Kiewit and Sons.' He was a giant in Nebraska and a phenomenal leader. I will miss him greatly."

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In this October 2001 photo, Harlan Noddle slides down Munroe-Meyer's new giant slide with his grandson Aaron Noddle. The slide was a gift from the Noddle family.
Said Glenn Fosdick, president and CEO of The Nebraska Medical Center: "Harlan's dedication to this hospital and the local community will be missed. He was a positive force in helping us achieve a new level of excellence."

Noddle also leaves his mark on a smaller scale. In 2001, Noddle's family helped kickoff a campaign to renovate the playground at UNMC's Munroe-Meyer Institute. MMI dedicated a combination slide and climbing wall for special needs children in honor of Noddle's birthday.

"The Medical Center always has been very close to my heart," Noddle said at the time, while "testing" the Hippo-Flippo Slide. "My family could not have chosen a better birthday gift."

Noddle was the immediate past chairman of the University of Nebraska Foundation Board of Directors and was elected to the Omaha Business Hall of Fame in 2002. He received his bachelor of arts degree in economics in 1958 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Noddle is survived by his wife, Nancy; son, Jay of Omaha, daughter, Susan of New York City; brothers Allan Noddle of Omaha and Jeff Noddle of Minneapolis; and three grandchildren.

Funeral services are set for 1 p.m. today (Dec. 13) at Temple Israel, 7023 Cass St.

Memorials can be sent to the Eppley Institute for Cancer Research, c/o UNMC, 986805 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, 68198-6805 or to the Jewish Federation of Omaha, 333 S. 132nd St., Omaha, NE, 68154.