The passing of the magazine's publisher, Armond M. Noble
I am sad to report that Armond Noble, the man who conceived of this magazine all of 36 years ago, died on February 1.
Nine weeks earlier, he had no symptoms of the aggressive kidney cancer that had already spread to his lungs. A highly motivated man, he fought bravely, with his wife, Helen, at his side, until conceding to the disease at the age of 77 here in Sacramento.
Armond was one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. He could read a page of a book in just a few seconds, and when he developed an interest in something — Amateur Radio, photography, World War II history, business, etc. — he would devour everything written on the subject. He was an excellent teacher, whose lessons always stuck because of another ability of his that I always envied: he could recall jokes on any subject.
Armond served in the US Army in the Signal Corps before beginning a career in radio and TV journalism, working at stations in Casper, Wyoming; Billings, Montana; Boise, Idaho, and Bakersfield, California. Concerned that an accurate story of our involvement in Vietnam wasn’t being portrayed, he spent time there in 1966-67 working as a freelance photojournalist.
He often told of the time when, snapping photographs while being shot at by enemy forces, he said to the soldiers beside him, “I’m torn between journalism and survival!”
Upon his return to the States, he moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and WOOD TV, where he wrote, filmed, edited and narrated documentaries — and met Helen. After a short time as news director at a station in Fargo, North Dakota, he had the opportunity to return to Bakersfield and then moved to Sacramento to work in the TIME-LIFE bureau at the Capitol. He also worked here at Channel 13 as a news film photographer and for KCRA radio in the news department.
In July 1971, taking one of his main interests a step further, Armond published the first issue of Worldradio, not just a magazine about Amateur Radio but one that publicized the community work that Amateur Radio operators do and how valuable they are when natural disasters strike. He found it exciting to speak on the air with people in countries around the world. His call sign for the last few decades was N6WR.
In 1984, Armond started the magazine Military, which focuses on military history from WWII to the present. In 2009 he sold Worldradio. But the reason most of you are familiar with Armond is because, back in the ’70s, he acted on an observation he made.
He noticed that in travel magazines and newspaper travel sections, all of the destination articles were written by freelance and staffed travel writers, who — guess what? — loved everything about everyplace they went. He saw a need for a publication in which the average person traveling internationally could speak candidly about airlines, tours, cruises, destinations, etc., telling both the good and the bad.
He published the first issue of International Travel News in March of 1976, and for the first time there was not only a reader-written travel publication but one in which the publisher was not concerned about whether a possible advertiser would be offended or not; he felt it was more important that travelers’ honest opinions be printed. Such integrity earned ITN a loyal base of subscribers.
Carrying on Armond’s vision, this magazine will continue to be published, in print as well as, now, online.
Helen and the rest of the staff want to thank you for the kind notes of encouragement you have sent since I made the announcement about Armond’s illness last month. They were shared with him, and he was touched by such comments as, “The absence of your ‘Departure Lounge’ column in the latest issue was like missing a letter from an old friend” and “My thoughts and prayers are with you. I love ITN, and all the people involved are like a family to me.”
Armond is survived by his wife of 43 years, Helen; his son, Aaron Noble, and two granddaughters. Any memorial donations anyone is considering making may be given to the Salvation Army or the Fisher House Foundation.
Personally, I will miss Armond’s latest jokes as well as his energy and inspiration. Even in his last week, he was working to improve ITN and hone its message. Did you notice the new line under the magazine name on the front wrap? He had us add that. Nice, huh?
We will do our best to keep ITN “A Celebration Of Travel.”— DT