Cover Story - February 2021 - Whitey Noll
In Loving Memory of Whitey the Mighty
by Robin Noll
LeRoy Noll Junior was born on June 16th, 1941 to LeRoy and Elizabeth Noll of Newmanstown. His father doted on him and use to take him to the bars with him and LeRoy remembers his dad would stand him on the bar and have him sing. That is his first memory of singing. His dad passed away when he was 6 years old. His mom was talked into having him tested to attend the prestigious Girard College for orphan boys and he was tested with a very high IQ and was accepted. Another boy being sent to Girard at the time was Harvey Bensinger, and Harvey (whose mother was a music teacher) would sing in the bus station and LeRoy, aka Whitey, was in awe of his vocal talent and asked Harvey to teach him to sing like that, so Harvey did. From that day on Whitey’s true career that gave him the most joy and fulfillment was singing and making music.
In 1959 he joined the United States Navy and made more money singing in Norfolk than he did on the ship. During his stint in the Navy he tried out for the Blue Jackets Naval choir and they wanted him to join but he didn’t want to be stationed in Chicago he wanted to go out to sea.
After his stint in the Navy he started singing with local groups in the Lebanon, Hershey, Harrisburg area. He sang with The Invaders and than joined the Starfires. One of the many highlights of his singing career was the opportunity to sing for a John Kennedy fund raiser held at the Democratic club in Enola. At the age of 28 he finally picked up the guitar and started an acoustic show where he played the Beachcomber on a regular basis [I might have that name wrong] He had full time jobs and his music was his secondary income as he went through life, marriages, and children. He had three children during this time, Douglas & Tammy Noll and Jeff Wolf.
In 1971 he was living with a group of single men in a house owned by Mike Staub. “Debzee” a manager at the Roy Rogers, where I [Robin] worked, told them to stop in for leftover food. I was out sweeping and mopping up the floor and Whitey came in and started talking to me and dropping his ashes on the floor saying, you missed some. Anyway, later on I was walking home and he followed me in his car and asked if I wanted to go for a ride and the rest is history. That first night he took me under a bridge where his voice would echo and sang to me, “Old Shep”, “I Believe,” and “Miss Otis Regrets”. I was truly smitten. He moved to Florida because Lani (from the Starfires) was living there and he wanted to start fresh. He was still keeping in touch with me and while he was in Florida I found out that I was pregnant so he came back to take care of me and the baby. He told me if this baby started calling him Daddy, don’t expect him to ever leave. He felt bad about his first three children and failed marriages and looked at our relationship as God giving him an opportunity to get it right and have a lasting relationship.
One of the things he gave up was singing in clubs (temptations were too great for him) He would still bring home musicians he met along the way to come to the house and jam and listen to music. He continued to learn how to play the guitar and wound up doing some gigs. He started making spoon rings and unique jewelry out of twisted forks. He made some beautiful pieces. As was the case for every thing Whitey started the demand got to be so high that the silver ware companies started making their own and selling them in magazines and eventually the price of silver got to high and he lost interest. A few more children entered our lives, Andrea, Josh and Rachel and Whitey was working for Mike Staub once again but wasn’t making enough money to sustain our little family so we went of welfare for awhile.
In 1982 Christmas was coming and money was short and he was telling Mike (who owned the publication, “The Apartment Guide” and a few other assorted businesses). He use to pick Whitey’s brain for ideas and Whitey gave him a few that increased his income (actually doubled it) so in turn he told Whitey, you need to start your own publication. Whitey said, right, I don’t have any money. Mike told him to do one thing at a time. First up was to pick what kind of publication. Standing at the news stand there were Real Estate pubs, Auto Locators, Fish Finders and there was “The Musician Magazine”. Fish Finder/ Musician…He loved fishing and he was a musician. Wouldn’t it be neat to have a Musician Finder he thought to himself, I would have loved a publication like that to promote myself when I was performing thus, the Pennsylvania Musician Magazine was borne. He was working at a car salesmen when he got up from his desk and announced, “I’ll see you guys, I just became President of The Pennsylvania Musician Magazine.” He went to the state Library and found a book entitled, “The Have and the Have Nots” and the rest is history. One day while we were driving to Scranton to meet up with Ken Williams he started talking about doing The Shopper’s Remedy for Perry and Juniata Counties. It would have 7 Remedies in it and a pretty picture on the cover. We did start the Shopper’s Remedy but it’s more ad related with free classifieds in it. Both publications have sustained our family for 39 years. We started with nothing and it’s always been tight but we raised four kids and have never gone hungry or been homeless. THANK YOU to all who have supported us over the years and how exciting it has been to watch musical careers expand and succeed for 39 years knowing we had a small part in that success for success in life is working together and helping one another along the way and we truly appreciate all those that have helped us along the way.
So much has happened in our 48 years together that I could and should write about but time and space limits me. We lost our Christoper in 1990 and Whitey went on to record a CD, “Between the Curtains & the Clouds” because Chris wanted him to. We are so thankful that he did and it will be available at the Celebration of Life. Little did we know he would loose that wonderful voice.
Whitey first got cancer of the throat in 2010 and thanks to Dr. Levin and our Heavenly Father he was granted 10 more years with us. During that time he reconnected with his daughter, Tammy Noll and her children. He was very thankful for that opportunity. He also developed a stronger relationship with Jesus and showered love upon his family, we have many precious memories of time spent together. He went home to heaven to be with our Chris, his Mom and his brother Lenny whom all preceded him on Friday, January 29th, 2021. We were married for 48 years. We will have a “CELEBRATION OF LIFE” on Saturday, June 19th, 2021 (his 80th birthday would have been June 16th) in Liverpool on private property. We want to have a rockin’ good time with family and friends and EVERYONE!!
Josh Noll, our son, has taken over the PA Musician Magazine. It does not make the money it use to but he is determined to keep it going so we ask in lieu of flowers that you would help him get a boost by donating to paypal firstname.lastname@example.org AND please continue to promote your music and your business through the pages of The Pennsylvania Musician Magazine.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to one and all who read, and use the PA MUSICIAN MAGAZINE without you, we wouldn’t be. And we are most thankful to Jesus and our Heavenly Father that has drawn us to Him over the years through trials and tribulations and has been with us in our life long journey here on earth and will be with us for all eternity. PRAISE GOD FOR GIVING US LIFE & LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY!!