David Chester Noyes III


David Noyes was one of the best-liked people that I have ever known.  David was an All-American sailor as well a gritty player on Yale hockey team.  However, it is the memory of his special personality and spirit that will forever inspire those of us who were fortunate enough to know him.  He possessed a remarkable combination of good looks, easy smile, optimistic spirit, enthusiasm, sensitivity, and quiet determination. He managed to be friends with everyone: serious students and not so serious students, athletes and non-athletes, activists and conservatives.  He was one of those people who you always felt lucky to be able to sit down with in the dining hall.   Starting at Yale, David endured a protracted course of very serious health problems.  Yet, he never let his medical problems detract from his wonderful demeanor.  He had an amazing inner strength that always enabled him to make the best of his situation. He finished in the top 10 in the 1976 Olympic qualifying races for 470’s.  He ran marathons on an artificial hip.  

I still vividly recall a small episode that typified how people felt about David. In 1983, Carl Frank ‘72 generously arranged a weekend gathering for us in Rhode Island. It was the last summer of the America’s Cup races in Newport.  David knew of my long time interest in this event, and on Saturday morning after coffee, he asked me if I wanted to see a 12-meter yacht. I immediately responded in the affirmative although I suspected that security measures would mean viewing one only from a distance. I was wrong. David found a way for us to get on the pier for the Liberty syndicate.  Liberty, the US defender, had just been hoisted from the water for repairs, but her sister 12-meter, Magic, was at the pier tied up to the syndicate’s cabin cruiser, and her crew were preparing for a practice race.  Although I feared imminent arrest for trespassing, David nonchalantly escorted me across the syndicate boat and onto Magic.  The crew was so busy that no one seemed to notice us. We used the bow hatch to go below decks and see all the sails.  Finally, when David had the nerve to show me the on board computer in the main cockpit, the syndicate owner, in a surprisingly polite voice, inquired who we were.  David promptly turned around and pleasantly introduced himself. As soon as the crew heard his name, there was a sudden pause in all the preparations.  A friendly chorus of hellos and friendly gestures rang out.  Several crewmembers came over to ask in very caring manner how David was feeling.  They even asked David (and his friend) to sail with them on the race. Unfortunately, David did not feel able to accept the offer. But, I was very touched by the warmth everyone exuded.  Clearly, they also knew that David was a truly special person. 

Don Tracy

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