Life Story: Bruce Noyes

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A longtime family-owned business in St. Paul has closed for good, after the death of one of the owners.

Bruce Noyes was a familiar face at the Dairy Queen on Snelling Avenue.

“He worked seven days a week. He never complained. He walked with a limp, but it never stopped him from doing anything,” said Carol Noyes, his wife.

Carol was also his business partner.

Her father opened this walk-up DQ in the 1950s, and then she and Bruce carried on the tradition.

In this week’s Life Story, we discovered how Bruce is remembered by his family and his many customers over the years.

It’s a childhood memory shared by many people in St. Paul.

Walking up to the window of the Dairy Queen on Snelling Avenue, and being greeted by Bruce Noyes.

“He just loved talking to people. He was interested in everything they had to say, and their life,” Carol said.

She married Bruce in 1977.

They met when she was working as a nurse at a clinic where Bruce regularly went to get allergy shots.

“He said I wore the same sweater all the time so he thought I was a frugal woman. And that’s terrible,” Carol said.

Their love story and marriage evolved into a business relationship when Bruce and Carol took over the business her father started.

The couple carried on the tradition of running this walkup DQ for another 37 years.

“It was great. We spent 24 hours a day with each other. At home and here. We very seldom fought.”

All while raising five children.

“We always called and put in our orders for the day. It was like ‘okay Dad is about to leave, what do you want?’ He would come home with chicken tenders and fries and ice cream. It was awesome,” Kendall Noyes said.

Bruce’s daughter Kelsey remembers working alongside her dad during middle school and high school.

“I actually started when I was younger. I used to beg to be taken to work with my father. And I’d wanna wear a shirt. It would be past my knees, but he would just have me do odd jobs,” Kelsey said.

Bruce loved Hawaii.

“It’s the one place we actually sat down and relaxed,” his wife said.

During the winter breaks when the DQ was closed, the entire family took trips to Hawaii.

“We had talked about maybe getting a place there. I’m sad he never saw a day of retirement,” she said.

Bruce Noyes was 71 years old when he died in March.

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