A celebration of life for Joan Stocks Nobles, 89, of Brownwood, will be held at First Methodist Church of San Angelo. Time and date are still pending; private interment will be at a later date. Arrangements are under the direction of Blaylock Funeral Home of Brownwood.
Joan passed away Friday, June 17, 2016, at Redstone Assisted Living Center in Brownwood. Joan lived an extraordinary life and left an impressive legacy.
Joan was born to Aubrey Banks Sr. and Lois (Drake) Stocks on Feb. 13, 1927, in San Angelo. She spent her early years growing up in San Angelo and on the family’s ranch at Kent, 45 miles west of Pecos. Joan was raised in a masculine ranching environment where she learned to break horses at 9 years old. On the weekends she was driven to Pecos for voice and music lessons. She was the first rodeo queen of the Pecos Rodeo in 1939, at the age of 12. Joan had big shoes to fill during World War II when all the men were away; she helped deliver thoroughbred mounts purchased by the cavalry to El Paso, which was a 165 mile trip one way by horse.
After a year of college at Texas Western, now UTEP, she transferred to UCLA. While at UCLA, through her connection with West Texas rancher Cole Means, an ex-coach of the U.S. polo team, she rode and exercised polo horses for many of the stars in Hollywood. During her college days at UCLA, she taught actor, Gregory Peck, how to ride a horse prior to his filming “Dual in the Sun.” She also played the drums in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Joan co-owned Wimpy’s Doonie, later to be known as Marion’s Girl, World Champion Cutting Horse, who was ridden by close friend, Buster Welch.
In 1961, she acquired 100 acres of land west of Midland to found a home for girls who had no place to go, and in 1963 High Sky Girl’s Ranch opened their doors; in 1985 the name changed to High Sky Children’s Ranch, accepting both boys and girls. Joan also managed the Midland Women’s Club in the 90’s.
She operated the Las Brisas Motel and Gideon’s Restaurant in San Angelo in the 70’s. Later she operated the Limpia Hotel and Restaurant in Fort Davis. Joan was active with the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce and San Angelo Historical Society in creating the Concho Cadre; some in San Angelo called her the “Madre of the Cadre.” She was very instrumental in starting the hotel/motel tax, which financed the San Angelo Convention Center.
Joan loved people; she never met a stranger. She became friends with George Bush, Bum Phillips, and Hayden Fry. She especially loved athletics and going to games. Joan was known as “Gran” by all the players, coaches, and fans when she traveled to her three grandsons’ Midland High School baseball practices and games.
She had a deep love for her family and the mountains of West Texas, especially the Davis Mountains, Gomez Peak and Bloys Campmeeting. She authored two books reflecting her life in the mountains of West Texas; “Run with the Horses” and “Soar with the Eagles” were her labors of love for which she earned an invitation to the Texas Book Festival in 1998 hosted by Laura Bush. Joan also cherished her relationships with her special friends, Betty Ford, Dorothy Scharbauer, Ima Jean Holmes and June Cowden.
Joan leaves behind to cherish her legacy her children, Jane Arrott and husband Jim Bob of Evant, Gerald C. Nobles Jr. and wife Debbie of Brady and Joe E. Nobles of Hemet, Calif.; grandchildren, Cade Nobles, Jaime Foster, Joanie Arrott, Ross Nobles, Tyler Nobles, Rebecca Nobles and Natalie Nobles; seven great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Louise “Weezie” Stocks of Gilmer; step-sister, Sarah Buss of Austin; and half-sister, Lydia Stocks Reavis and husband Will of Tyler. She is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her father, Banks Stocks; mother, Lois Drake Hicks; step-father, Lindsey Hicks; brother, Banky Stocks; and step-brother, Lin Hicks and his wife Honey.
The family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to the Doran Lemke family, Dr. Richard Reese, Dr. Amy Tindol, Redstone Assisted Living Center, and Solaris Hospice of Brownwood.
Memorials can be made to High Sky Children’s Ranch, Bloys Campmeeting Association, or a charity of one’s choice. Online condolences for the family are welcome at www.blaylockfuneralhome.com.