Family thanks community

The parents of UW-Eau Claire junior Michael Noll expressed thanks to the community Thursday while holding a press conference in town before going back home to Rochester, Minn., to grieve privately.

Noll had been missing since Nov. 6. His body was found Tuesday in Half Moon Lake.

Noll’s brother Patrick and uncle, Jack Noll, joined his parents, Jeff and Carol, at the front of a room in the Eau Claire Police Department.

About 60 family members and friends, as well as members of the media, packed into the small room, some crying and at times laughing as Jeff Noll described his son.

For those who never knew Michael Noll, his father described a mental picture of a smiling fisherman with a sketch pad in hand, surrounded by friends, with a fish on his line in the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota.

Those who knew Noll laughed as his father said he’d be eating “something pickled” with his ice water nearby.

“I truly believe someone bigger than us” needed a fisherman, carpenter and leader, he said.

The Noll family is staying strong, Jeff Noll said, through its faith in God and the support of friends. Everyone who knew Michael Noll will take an aspect of him with them wherever they go, he said.

Jeff Noll thanked the Eau Claire fire and police departments, those who participated in the search for his son and the university community, in general. He also thanked the extended Noll family and friends for their continuous support as well as the media.