Joseph Laurence "Larry" Noel Jr., 78, a retired Air Force Department intelligence analyst who was an instrumental figure in the organization of foot races in the Washington area, died Oct. 10 at a hospital in Gettysburg, Pa. He had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
While the former Greenbelt resident worked for the Air Force for more than 25 years before retiring in 1978, he devoted most of his spare time to running and organizing races. He was a founding member of the D.C. Roadrunners Club and was a Roadrunners race director. In the latter capacity, he helped officiate races in the Washington area for about 30 years.
Among the races he started and directed was the Washington Birthday Marathon in Beltsville. Mr. Noel, an avid runner himself, participated in races, most recently in the Senior Olympics five-kilometer trials.
In 1998, Greenbelt officials renamed an annual 15-kilometer race there after him in honor of his community work.
Mr. Noel, who was born in Pittsburgh, lived in Greenbelt for 31 years before moving to Emmitsburg, Md., in 1988. He served in the Navy during World War II and took part in the Normandy D-Day invasion as a lieutenant in charge of a landing craft tank. In later years, he became a student of World War II history with an emphasis on landing craft tanks.
He was a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., and received a master's degree in transportation at the University of Maryland.
Survivors include his wife, Dorothy Kirk Noel of Emmitsburg; six sons, Larry Noel III of Gettysburg, Mike Noel of Chad's Ford, Pa., Bill Noel of Mount Airy, Md., Harry Noel of Marlton, N.J., and John Noel and Tom Noel, both of Greenbelt; two daughters, Margaret Mary Black of Olney and Rita Noel of Greenbelt; a brother; and 13 grandchildren.