Community leaders celebrate longtime Ford dealership owner Laird Noller
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Community leaders came together on Monday to celebrate the life of longtime Ford dealership owner Laird Noller.
Laird Noller died August 22nd at the age of 83 and he’s battled Parkinson’s disease.
Family, friends and law enforcement agencies honored his life, while also giving back to the community.
“He would of been very humbled, he didn’t like a lot of fanfare, he was a private person, but he would of been humble especially with the heroes, the first responders to be here as well,” Laird Noller’s son, Steve Noller emphasized.
The Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office, Topeka Police Department, Kansas Highway Patrol, and the Topeka Fire Department were in attendance at the event.
Along with Laird Noller’s family and friends too, to honor the late auto dealer.
“It was amazing, overwhelming really, it was very unexpected," Steve Noller said. “It was kind of a surprise that was put on for us. Several people wanted to do some Memorials for him, right after he passed away.”
"But, that was something he didn’t want, because he didn’t like all the fanfare. But, this was great, it was great for our family, and it was really good for the people who have worked with him for 40 plus years,” Steve Noller added.
Local auto dealers spoke at the event, and the Greater Topeka Partnership presented an award to the Noller family.
In addition, they unveiled two Christmas trees to donate to SLI’s annual Festival of Trees. Both Christmas trees honored Laird Noller and community heroes.
“That’s very ironic, because December is tough in the car business," Steve Noller emphasized. "So to have a Christmas tree dedicated to him, I think is fitting for his legacy.”
“It’s also about helping the community through shelter living," tree designer, Kathy Belanger said. "The Laird Noller Ford tree, there’s going to be at least $4,000 worth of merchandise under there. I think there’s at least three sets of tires that go with that. This tree, this heroes tree, we’re going to feed at least 2,000 families through this tree.”
SLI announced at the event that the Festival of Trees will be a virtual event this year.
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