Family of WSU graduate remembers son, brother with $50,000 scholarship

Noble Stoneman overcame difficult childhood; his mother hopes to help others in his honor



Nearly a full year since his death, Noble Stonemans’ closest family and friends honor his memory. His friends and relatives remember him as a good student, a best friend, a great brother and an inspiring son.

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen reporter

Noble Stoneman liked to march to the beat of his own drum. His closest family and friends describe him as hardworking, humble and dedicated. He loved video games, goofing off and spending time with his family.

“He was very lively. He was very loud. He was very big,” said cousin Charlynn Havrilla. “He was larger than life.”

At 25 years old, Stoneman graduated from WSU in May 2018 with a degree in electrical engineering. Just days later, on May 10, he died after falling from an unfenced ledge on a hike at Palouse Falls State Park. 

This Friday afternoon, the WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture will honor him with the fundraising launch of the Noble Stoneman Memorial Scholarship.


Donations sent directly to the WSU foundation in his name or the family’s GoFundMe page will contribute to a $50,000 scholarship in perpetuity, said his mother, Ruth Drollinger.

The award will go to non-traditional students like Noble, she said, and help bring awareness to Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, and the prevention of childhood abuse and neglect.

From a young age, her children had a hard time, Ruth said. The family struggled with a bad home situation until moving from Montana to Pullman in 1999.

“That was the event that kind of really brought us together,” said brother Nate Stoneman. “I attribute a lot of my ability to get through that part of my life to my little brother.”

After moving to Pullman, the two worked as paperboys for the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Ruth said. He was in Boy Scouts of America and participated in the nonprofit youth organization 4-H and in a local theater group.

Noble and Nate also loved to play with trading cards and Pokemon as a child, Nate said. When they were younger, the boys would race ponies and build tree houses.

“He was my best friend. We were only two years apart,” he said. “He was just like a big, friendly bear.”

Noble took time after high school to decide what he wanted to do, Nate said. Eventually, he decided to go to WSU.

 While in college, Noble maintained a close relationship with his cousin Charlynn and her children. He often visited to play video games with the children or watch Studio Ghibli films.

“Half the time, I had to tell him to settle down, not my kids,” Charlynn said.

The two were close since childhood and liked to go to the park together, she said.

“When we were kids, we’d go up there and play in the creek and catch crawdads,” she said. “We were talking about doing the same thing with my kids.”

In class, Noble’s work earned him the respect of professors and peers alike.

“He just put his nose to the books,” Nate said. “Electrical engineering is no cakewalk, and that’s what he chose to do.”

In a letter following Noble’s passing, a professor remembered his work ethic and dedication, and noted he was “always in the front row,” and “always asking questions.”

His work was so impressive, Ruth said, a faculty member nominated her son for a single job opening. He was hired at the company and had planned to start right after college.


“I never doubted him,” Nate said. “He never let the stress and pressure of other people’s lives affect him.”

Ruth said helping others is assisting her in the grief of losing her son. She said she hopes her son’s story can inspire others as it has inspired her to help people.

She wants the money from his memorial scholarship to help others facing similar struggles to Noble’s, she said.

“He painted his own world. He lived by his own code,” Nate said. “Whenever he hit a brick wall, he would just pivot.”

The Noble Stoneman Memorial Scholarship reception will be held 1:45-4 p.m. Friday at the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture’s Sloan Courtyard.

The article has been updated to reflect the time, date and place of Stoneman’s memorial scholarship reception.