‘Salt of the earth’: Mourners encouraged to live like Morristown postman

The late Gary Nobles, left, and his friend David Denman. Photo courtesy of Maureen Denman.


By Marion Filler

Gary Nobles, the gregarious postman whose death saddened customers in Morristown last month, was remembered Wednesday as “the salt of the earth,” a man of simple grace whose friendly manner is worthy of emulation.

Gary Nobles, as Morristown will remember him–always smiling. Photo by Maureen Denman

“He treated us all as equals. He didn’t see a man as a white man or a black man. He saw him as a man,” said his longtime friend, retired postal carrier David Denman, during a eulogy to a packed Calvary Baptist Church in Morristown.

Nobles, a postal employee for nearly 33 years, died at his Dover home on Aug. 24, 2019, friends said. He was 60.

His death stunned Morristown merchants and residents, who exchanged pleasantries with him that very week as he made his appointed rounds downtown. Some of them attended Nobles’ wake on Tuesday, and Wednesday’s funeral service.

Denman said his friend showed the same respect to everybody– women, seniors in public housing, shopkeepers on South Street, well-to-do lawyers on Maple Avenue.

“It’s a quality that each and every one of us needs to take out of this church today, the church he so loved,” Denman said, describing Nobles, a church usher, as someone who shared his faith through the example he set.

He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Celeste, a son Jermaine, six grandchildren and three brothers and three sisters, according to his obituary.

David Denman remembers his friend Gary Nobles, Sept. 4, 2019. Video by Marion Filler for MorristownGreen.com:

Born in Lenoir County, N.C., Nobles was a graduate of South Carolina State University, and was a fine basketball player, friends said. When aging knees ended his men’s league days, he expressed interest in joining Denman’s golf group–until he discovered they tee off on Sundays.

“He’d step back and say, ‘There’s no way I’m not going to church on Sunday!'” Denman recounted, to knowing laughter in the pews.

‘SALT OF THE EARTH’ : Pastor Jerry Carter Jr. of Morristown’s Calvary Baptist Church remembers Gary Nobles, Sept. 4, 2019. Photo by Marion Filler

Nobles was a “good brother and a good friend,” said the Rev. Mark McCreary.

Quoting scripture, Pastor Jerry Carter Jr. likened Nobles to the “salt of the earth,” explaining that salt was an important preservative in the time of Jesus.

In a crescendo of metaphor and emotion, the pastor concluded that those who follow Christ’s teachings, however downtrodden and seemingly unimportant, are destined, like salt, to preserve society.

The community has lost a bright light, Denman eulogized. Yet all is not lost, he insisted.

“We can get that light back on,” Denman said, “if we can all be just a little more like Gary Nobles.”

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  1. Nice to see the outpouring of affection and respect for this good man. Thank you Kevin for chronicling it for us.