Luis A. Noboa Naranjo
Luis A. Noboa Naranjo was born in Ambato on February 1, 1916, and his birth registered on the 8th by his uncle, Jorge P. Naranjo. The certificate states: That in combined volume 1, Page 63, Record 186 of the Registry of Births of Ambato Region, corresponding to 1916, verifies the inscription of LUIS ADOLFO NOBOA NARANJO, born in Ambato, province of Tungurahua, the 1st of February Nineteen Hundred Sixteen, legitimate son of Adolfo Noboa and Zoila Matilde Naranjo, seamstress. – Ecuadorian – The boy was born healthy.
This is the history of a life that began harshly, gamely – as an utterly vulnerable child – one that was never free of conflict. It is not a simple novel in purple prose as one could easily imagine. It is the existence of a notable countryman: the greatest Ecuadorian businessman of the 20th century, who moreover had the resourcefulness to lift himself up via work, saving and sacrifice, generating businesses and giving employment to thousands of this fellow citizens, until finding his place in economic and financial circles worldwide. And if he made mistakes, as any human being does, they were more an effect of the times rather than his person given that he had a heart that never flagged even in the darkest hours, nor did he know hatred or meanness. For that reason, in the last stage of his life he could say:
From my father I inherited poverty, but never bitterness!
His genealogy, back to his great-grandparents, is as follows:
PARENTS: Luis Adolfo Noboa Ledesma, born in Guayaquil in 1890 and Zoila Matilda Naranjo Villota, born in Ambato in 1896.
THE EARLY TIMES
“A time of constant effort and sacrifice to overcome began for the young widow. But given that she thought about nothing other than her children, working everyday to attend to their needs, she was never daunted.
“Of my husband’s family, only his grandmother – Rosa Salinas – gave us her support, but she was old and very poor. We went to live with her in her house, an old wooden chalet with a zinc roof located in Quito Street. In the beginning we all had to sleep in a hammock until we had saved enough money to buy beds.”
The neighborhood was on the edge of the city, they had to bring in drinking water in a tank. It was very dusty in the summer, and during the winter the streets became impassable. The climate was so unhealthy that the white scourge – as the awful tuberculosis was known – decimated whole families in the area.
“From the good times with my husband, I had kept three pounds of the highest quality gold that he had saved for our children and realizing that I could earn a living in some kind of business, I sold the first pound for 800 sucres. On credit I acquired a few jugs in which to store milk and began to get daily supplies from the neighboring farms. Through various young men for whom I began to make white uniforms, my sales began little by little.
And since there were some people who helped me, seeing I was a widow and very hardworking, things always went well. With the milk that was left over in the afternoons, I made eggnog in big buckets, adding eggs and liquor that I then bottled and distributed, by which good fortune I didn’t have a break or let anything go to waste.
“One day it occurred to me to talk to a bakery owner called Rigoberto Verdesoto Yagual, and he agreed to bake the “cholitos” – that’s what they called whole-wheat bread – in his store, as well as the yucca bread, and the bread with eggs that I had them call Ambato bread, and the same milkmen sold everything because it was all clean, uniform and in wicker baskets with lids, and I was able to pay the baker and have some money left over to carry on with the business.
“Another day, realizing that the Carnival holidays were approaching, I got hold of colored paper and cutting at night without let-up, I filled several dozens of envelopes with mixed colors that I then sent out to sell with much success.”
And all this while attending to her children, the oldest of which – Maria – was 13, while the last – Amanda – was a newborn.
BRIEF STUDENT LIFE
In 1924, when he had scarcely arrived in Guayaquil, the young Luis Adolfo Noboa Naranjo, then known only by his second name, began his primary studies in the public school Manuel Maria Valverde, in front of his grandmother Rosa’s chalet. He then moved on to public school Simon Bolivar and a little while later to the Silesian school, Cristobal Colon, given that Zoila ha said to the Rector:
“I have become a widow and my children are decent kids who need a good education. I don’t have the money to pay for the tuition, but I beg you to take them on…!”
In light of this petition, raised with such sincerity and emotion, the Rector received them. They did not have to pay the monthly fees; they would pay the costs of certain scholarly supplies and at times the poverty was such that on some days they didn’t eat. In 1925 he attended Cristobal Colon.
He retained a clear and precise memory of his mother, an admirable woman from all points of view, “who taught me my first behaviour, the wisest, that which lasts forever. We were so poor when we arrived to Guayaquil that there were days we went to sleep in order to forget that we were hungry.
Hunger terrified me and on one occasion, knowing that there was nothing in the house to eat, I got two sucres worth of pies costing 10 and 20 cents on credit from a baker named Sucre who stopped outside our school. That night we all ate the pies, but from the next afternoon my brother Enrique and I began to go to school on foot, saving the 10 cents a day that our mother gave us for the tram and we reimbursed the debt as was due until we had finished paying it off twenty days later.”
In such dramatic circumstances the young boy abandoned his studies in order to take up any kind of work as he could not allow his nearest and dearest to continue in penury. It was an incredible decision given his young years, a harbinger of the will to triumph over the hardships of life, the will which would always accompany him and motivate all of his acts and projects. For that reason, when he ran to his mother to contribute the first money he had earned and saw that she cried, he looked at her and said with an almost religious fervour:
“Don’t cry, mama, one day I will be rich and I will give you lots of gifts.” He was very poor, but he was correct and punctual in his dealings. Later he would say, “It doesn’t matter what work it is, what is important is to work, the only way to get ahead. The vilest thing on earth, what degrades, is the easy handout. Spongers are bad for society.”
IN THE LOTTERY
Ricardo Chacón Garcia, known as “Don Richard” remembers that in those years he got to know Adolfito, who after 5pm on some afternoons used to go to the gym of the well-known trainer, Manolo Vizcaíno, located in the large open patio in Bolivar Street at the corner of General Cordova, with a ring in the middle, where the youth of the area gathered to watch friendly matches between amateurs.
José Salcedo Delgado administrated the Lottery of the Guayaquil Benevolent Society and it was the cashier, Vicente de la Cuadra, who took the young Richard in to work in this subsidiary for 5 sucres a week, plus one additional sucre for Sunday mornings. The Sunday morning work consisted in drawing the numbered balls with the winning numbers from containers set up in the middle of the viewing public. The Lottery was played with four digits and as Richard had become friendly with Adolfito, it occurred to him to ask Adolfito to accompany him on Sundays for the same wage of 1 sucre that he himself earned, uniformed in marine blue trousers and gold-buttoned white jackets. And every Sunday, the young Noboa was thrilled with his work. “Drawing the numbers corresponding with the jackpot was all of an experience for me. I let myself get carried away with the dream of what I would do with 100,000 sucres of those days in my pocket. Hire a boat and buy merchandise in Panama or in some North American port, in order to resell it in Guayaquil. In seconds I did the monthly figures and I saw the response.” Years later, he confessed: “I always wanted money, not for the money itself, but for the power that money grants, for the multiplying effect when it is well managed and for the riches that it produces.” But he never played the lottery and thus never won. His road would be different…!
On Sunday afternoons, both young men went to the Coliseum, property of Rodolfo Baquerizo Moreno on the other side of the Salado marsh, where boxing fights were held and even bull runs on certain special days.
Entering the ring, Adolfito strolled around holding up cards displaying the number of rounds while Richard situated himself at the corners to help the contenders by passing them towels, water, ice and oranges, because all was done in the simplest way, in the creole manner, as they say. The salary was 2 sucres per Sunday, but as they also saw the fights for free – and from the best seats – their savings were doubled by the value of the entrance fee.
SUCCESSFUL SAVIA SALESMAN
In 1928, when he was only 11 years old, an age in which most children are still thinking about games and pastimes, he began to work as a salesman for the magazine Savia, a publication of information, literature and culture edited monthly by Jose Maria Aspiazu Valdes and Luis Gerardo Gallegos, the former an illustrator and painter, the latter, a writer and intellectual.
Condensed biographies of those who produced the magazine appeared in the first anniversary edition of Savia in 1928. Since the young salesman jokingly chided the editors for not having remembered him, a photo of him from tip to toe appeared in the next issue with the following note:
“Adolfito” Noboa Naranjo: That is what this agreeable, intelligent and diligent circulation representative for Savia in Guayaquil is called. At the same time, he is the pet of administration, since, in regards to the magazine’s circulation, he brings us a lot of luck, or what is the same thing, a lot of money.”
Because of his relationship to the Lottery, he began to sell numbers for Panama and Guayaquil, with the Lebanese being his best clients. One morning he entered into Luis Vernaza Lazarte’s dealership to offer him a ticket. Another young man working as a messenger for the firm – Joaquin Orrantia Gonzalez – said to him, “Hey! Sell me a single!” and received the quick reply: “I’ve come here for my exclusive client, Mr. Vernaza, not for you, but I am going to make an exception because he is your boss…!” From that moment, they remained friends. He was a slim, intelligent, lively boy, who demonstrated a healthy pride in every thing he did.
IN “LA SOCIEDAD GENERAL” AND FIRST BUSINESSES
One memorable morning in the life of the young Noboa, in 1928, he went out to sell rags for polishing metals and passed by the door of Sociedad General de Crédito Bank, owned by Juan Francisco Marcos Aguirre. He entered and announced himself to Marcos’ son Juan Xavier, in the following curious manner: I have come to sell you a kind of cloth that is especially for cleaning metals, well, since I have observed that in this building there is a lot of bronze but none of it shines… With the demonstration completed, young Marcos was so impressed by the strong personality of someone who revealed himself to be so enterprising that he offered to employ him as a doorman in the supplies department for 40 sucres a month. The boy asked for some time to reply, went home and told all to his mother who advised him to accept because despite earning more than the offered sum with his work in the streets, it was convenient for him to be integrated into such a robust business.
“Soon all of my colleagues, who given their age could well have been my parents, loved me. The very same manager, Juan X Marcos, grew to appreciate me and sometimes had me sit next to him where I could observe how the city’s transactions were carried out.”
At the age of one’s first games, Luis A. Noboa Naranjo, as he began to call himself from then on, had neither toys nor friends. He dealt with adults and learned quickly how to be like them. But neither wrongs nor anything else could cast a shadow on his life since he was made for the highest sentiments of goodness. Years later, a close member of the family would happily comment that his greatest virtue was his gentleness of heart as he pardoned grievances with great ease and didn’t bear grudges.
MERCHANDISE ACCOUNTING STUDIES
In 1929 he began a night course in Accounting in Professor Marco A. Reinoso’s Business School. He had always been attracted to numbers and mathematics; he was a bright person, quick, hardworking and straightforward, someone who didn’t bother himself with philosophical or existential problems as the hardships of growing up fatherless had made him very practical. He had a notable talent for numbers as he could mentally add, subtract, multiply and divide 5-, 6- and 7-digit numbers with an almost mathematical precision.
“I had hardly been working for six months when I asked young Marcos for a loan of 3,000 sucres. ‘You will have your money back in three months and make a profit of 3,000 sucres.’” Amazed by the boy’s audacity, Marcos gave him the loan. When the date came around, he paid up – at only 13 years old – to the very last dime, and asked for 6,000 sucres under the same conditions. Finally he asked for 10,000 sucres, a large sum for the times, when young Marcos, before conceding him the sum, asked, “In what business are we partners?” Upon knowing that his young employee found out about auctions held by Customs and invested in those things that would sell well, and by which he made more profits, he granted him the loan with pleasure, having realized that he had before him a great businessman and entrepreneur in the making.
IN THE POST OFFICE DOORS
Besides all those activities, and with the aim of earning a bit more in order to help sustain his household where he was the de facto head, Luis proposed putting his good penmanship to use from 6pm onwards when the Post Office closed its doors. Thus he sat at one of the corners and for 2 sucres wrote letters that the locals and police, who were largely illiterate, sent to their families in the sierra. The price included the paper, envelope and the stamp that he took from his bag. There were nights in which he produced up to thirty letters.
THE BOULEVARD RESIDENCY
By 1930, the familial situation had improved. Doña Zoila had for several years been preparing and selling food to take-away. Finally, she was able to establish a small residence in an apartment rented on the boulevard between Rumichaca and Santa Elena streets, in front of the Military Zone, for which she had to sell the last two remaining gold pounds for 1,600 sucres, increasing her savings to 8,000 sucres. Set up to receive families from the sierra who arrived in train to Guayaquil, with good and abundant food, courteous treatment, clean and orderly rooms, and situated in the very center of the city at prices affordable to every wallet, the residency was soon filled with guests.
“The business prospered, I liked it very much, a short while later I rented the apartment next door because it was a kind of permanent pursuit. At night, Adolfito shined the guest’s shoes and earned some extra money.”
The days began at 6 in the morning. At that hour, she went to the South Market to buy food. At 7am the dining room opened where breakfast was served, and the guest’s rooms and common rooms were put in order.
Doña Zoila supervised these tasks daily, discussed the day’s menu with the cook, and instructed and directed the help with regards to the treatment to be given to the guests. Lunch was served from 12 noon exactly, and the dining room closed at 3pm. From then until 7pm, only the bar attended guests. The dining room reopened at 7pm in order to serve dinner. At 9pm service to the public was concluded and only then did Doña Zoila return home where her daughter Maria took her place. Almost always her son Luis Adolfo accompanied her, or occasionally Enrique, but she never returned alone because, although the city was not dangerous, it would have been unseemly for a lady to move about at night without the company of a gentleman of the family.
MONEY EXCHANGE AND SOUVENIR SALES
In January of 1933, Luis set up an office in the 9 de Octubre Boulevard, at No. 113, between Malecon and Pichincha, close to the banks given that money goes after money. His friend, Nelson Uraga Suárez, guaranteed the rental agreement. It was a money exchange business, lottery, tourist souvenir, panama hat sales, and small dealership – for Parker Pens, among others. In general, anything with a quick turnover. He registered with the Chamber of Commerce and was manager, accountant, cashier and doorman, functions that he carried out all at the same time, as he would humorously recount when he was older. Soon the office became known as “The Undertakers” due to the habit of its owner never closing, and of working late, even on Saturdays and Sundays. But time was found to meet up with various friends, Gustavo Medina Vallejo, Carlos D´Ortignacq, Marcos Lamota, Martín Arellano, Víctor Salgado, Alberto Ruiz de Banegas, among others, and while they talked about girls and other topics of the day, Noboa took out his pen and notebook and became distracted by his calculations.
Once, upon saying goodbye, Vallejo surmised, “That Noboa is of the stuff of millionaires…” Perhaps for that reason he began to prosper.
BUSINESS WITH ESTRADA
Proximity to La Previsora Bank engendered a friendship with its manager, Victor Emilio Estrada Sciacaluga, a highly intelligent but bad-tempered and grumpy character who Luis greeted daily. Estrada was a superior person and with great insight into the human heart, who seeing young Noboa so active and self-confident, wanted to put him in one of the branches of the bank; an offer that was not accepted as Noboa had never been interested in a desk job. But his personality was so lively and extroverted that Estrada had decided not to lose him. “That young man is worth his weight in gold,” he said to himself, and he offered to make him a partner and minority shareholder in “Comercio y Mandato”, later to become “Comandando S.A.” an import business and dealership representatives – above all, North American – which he had just established.
Meanwhile, Doña Zoila continued with her tasks in the Hotel; her daughter Maria had become married to Carlos Suárez Pareja and had three children named Vila, Mauricio and Sixto. Widowed, she later married Giacinto Coopmans Saporiti who was childless, himself the son of Conde Yoldi. Enrique worked in the Isabel Maria Refinery. Amanda studied. For this reason, it has been said that in the ’20s, the Noboa Naranjo family suffered extreme poverty; in the ’30s, the situation improved notably due to the efforts of the family, to which point that in the ’40s there were already two rich family members: Doña Zoila and her son, Luis, although she was rich first, such was her brilliance. Thus, the greatest hardships and needs had become things of the past, part of the treasure box of memories.
THE RICE BUSINESS
In 1935 the main occupation of Noboa’s office was the small-scale purchase of wholegrain rice, given that his lack of capital impeded his entrance into the world of big business. As everything at the beginning brings surprises, the rice of one of his purchases had been ruined by weevils due to bad storage. The loss was considerable given his tight economic resources, but several friends came to his aid and he could overcome the crisis and return the money he had received as loans.
THE “STANDARD FRUIT COMPANY”
The “Standard Fruit Company” arrived to Ecuador because the Panama banana blight had infected the production of plantations in Central America, especially Panama, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, and fruit from other locations was required.
In Ecuador, banana was still a marginal product with an exportation of barely 4%. As there was no highway infrastructure that would allow the fruit to be acquired overland, Standard recognized the need to contract the services of boats and workers of Luis A. Noboa Naranjo’s business in order to ship the bunches from the riverfront farms over the waterways.
Thus Luis A. Noboa Naranjo became their exclusive exporter for the North American market, and on December 26 founded the “Compañía de Comercio y Trasporte S.A.”, entered on the 30th in the Property Registry with an initial capital of 500,000 sucres, and transformed over time into today’s “Exportadora Bananera Noboa S.A.”
THE SAN LUIS FARM AND RICE HUSKING PLANT
As the banana business continued to increase, Noboa continued in rice, a very productive activity, to such a degree that he had acquired an extensive farm, San Luis, from Jujan upwards which has always been a great rice producer. There he established another rice husker. San Luis was the first of his agricultural properties.
In those days, he associated himself with the international firms Bunge y Born from Buenos Aires and New York. Together with them, he became the leading firm in the exportation of rice, taking on markets like those of Japan, South Africa and India.
When the exportation of rice began in 1941, Marcos received 60% and Noboa only 40% of the earnings. In ’47, having associated himself with Standard Fruit in the exportation of bananas, the split evened out. Finally, Marcos ended selling his shares and Noboa became the sole owner of all the business, functioning from that date as Grupo Noboa.
At 8pm the gentlemen in dark suits and ladies in long, usually black dresses, gathered together. They spoke softly and made toasts with cocktails and champagne. At 11pm or midnight, they returned home in elegant vehicles. Some lived in the center, others in the Centenario and Salado neighborhoods. On some occasions, on passing by Marcos’ office, we would see the lights on, an unmistakeable sign that Lucho Noboa was still working, and they laughed at this very strange behavior that some classified as inoffensive madness, given that they could not understand why a pleasant and intelligent young man would waste the best years of his life in such an exaggerated way instead of working and healthily entertaining himself as they did.
THE BONITA BANANA BRAND
Luis A. Noboa Naranjo was already a national figure, he spoke and wrote correctly in English, a language he learned with the aid of dictionaries. On April 18, 1956, he presided over the Ecuadorian delegation to the International Conference of Banana producers in San Jose, Costa Rica. The event was summonsed by that nation’s President in order to oblige the Central American countries, Ecuador and Colombia, to accept the assignation of quotas for the exportation of bananas, a proposition which Noboa stubbornly opposed as being against the free market. Later, statistics demonstrated he was inarguably correct as Ecuador was able to export quantities far superior to those which they would have, had they been subject to a quota.
In 1950, Noboa initiated a new stage in his life, establishing the “Industrial Molinera S.A.” in order to cope with the popular internal consumption of wheat flour in the country. As national production did not cover internal needs, he thought that by importing the best varieties of the grain from the traditionally producing countries and mixing them with Ecuadorian varieties, he would get an excellent flour of recognized brand and variety. Therefore, as he was an implacable contender – counting among the manufactured products Quaker Oats from the United States – he was able to displace the powerful industrial group, “Harinas del Ecuador S.A.” established by Francisco Illescas Barreiro.
La Molinera employed costly suction unloading equipment in order to transport the cereals from the holds of the ships to the plant, allowing processes to be contamination-free. These rigorous procedures, together with the most modern technology and strict measures of quality control, resulted in the best possible product. He contracted the ideal staff and trained them with technicians from abroad; he raised the most functional silos in the country and placed a series of products that enjoyed massive and popular consumption on the market.
THE POULTIER MILLS
In November 1980, Noboa acquired the well-known Poultier Mills in Latacunga and assigned as their head the Chilean engineer, Richard Watt. In ’81 he contracted the German technician, Konrad Linder and by May 1982, with a series of changes and the assembly of several Golfetto machines from Italy, he increased production from 33 to 52 tons of wheat flour per day, an amount that has increased regularly until reaching 170 tons a day, and with quality controlled by modern laboratory. The traditional building was extended in only six months by the Foram company.
THE SHIPPING FLEET
The shipping business evolved thanks to the trade of bananas for craft paper and starch to make the carton boxes in which he began to export fruit. He also did three-way deals, transporting banana produce from Ecuador to the consuming country, taking on freight there destined for other countries and bringing general cargo back from them to Ecuador. For that he established the Pacific Fruit Co. in Nassau, capital of the Bahamas.
On September 23, 1964, he acquired the Martinica Estate in Pimocha, in the Los Rio province, with an extension of 785 hectares. Later he bought others, dedicating them to banana production with very modern systems and exploitative technologies, with the exception of two which are cattle ranches.
At that time he changed the corporate name to “Exportadora Bananera Noboa S. A.”, a business that in 1988 had a capital stock of 400,000,00 sucres divided in 400,000 ordinary and nominal shares of a nominal value of 1,000 sucres each, numbered from, and including, 0 to 400,000. By which manner the Noboa Group was owner of 200,182 shares, against the Marcos Group’s 199,818, which together produced the total of 400,000 shares that made up the capital stock. A short while later, the Marcos Group ceded and transferred its total shares to Noboa.
TECHNOLOGIZING THE COUNTRY
Noboa’s condition as an Ecuadorian abroad, above all his closeness to the large scientific centers of the modern world, cleared his vision regarding the Ecuadorian future. He dreamed of a highly technified country, of great agricultural production due to the existing facility of obtaining three or four harvests a year along the coast, but he knew that reaching optimum goals required improving average levels of education, forming technical institutes, and shifting the national consciousness towards the brilliant future that one day awaits us. Therefore he began to consider the practicality of creating a Foundation for technical training, especially in the branch of agricultural industry, a project that unfortunately he never was able to see begun and only now is becoming a reality due to the efforts of his surviving family members, especially his widow and his daughter, Isabel, who works with enthusiasm in the Foundation and presides over it.
THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
A short while later the Guayaquil Chamber of Commerce decided to bestow upon him their highest institutional award, the Chamber’s Centenario, never before given to anybody and created to honor their most distinguished members. On Wednesday, June 5, he received the award from Andrés Barreiro Vivas, in a ceremony that carried with it special characteristics given that it was something of a swan song. It was apparent that he was affected, but not diminished, by illness. His speech had special touches of liveliness and ingenuity, it was even funny, commented the information presented by one newspaper and, as all else to do with him, had the virtue of being simple, direct and discrete.
LAST BUSINESS CHANGES
In the beginning of 1993, he moved his central offices in New York from the 11th floor of a luxurious building located on 56th Street between Madison and Park Avenues. In October, the government of Architect Sixto Duran Ballén Cordobés decorated him with the Great Cross of the National Order of Merit, but due to his poor state of health the bestowing of the corresponding medal and sash was postponed. The symptoms of his last illness – cardiac complications – had begun to make themselves felt.
The businesses generated 18,000 workplaces and around 5% of the Ecuadorian GDP. The Bananera Noboa S.A. (EBNSA) constituted the fourth commercialized group of banana producers in the world and the biggest in the country. Its fixed assets comprised 14 banana estates divided into three management groups named Agrícola Clementina, Álamos and La Julia. It had two subsidiaries: Bananera Continental Banacont S.A. and Bananera Esmeraldas Banaesmeraldas S.A.; associated businesses: Oro Banana Obsa and a dozen of banana producing cooperatives located in the El Oro province. It was also involved in three crate and plastics producing businesses called Industria Cartonera Ecuatoriana (ICESA), Manufacturas de Cartón (MACARSA) and Compañía Nacional de Plásticos (CONAPLAST). With respect to fumigation and aerial services, there was Lineas Aéreas Nacionales del Ecuador LA Ecuador.
In 1993, Noboa suffered two cardiac emergencies and in February of 1994 submitted to an arterial by-pass operation. At the beginning of April he suffered another heart attack but recuperated in the intensive care unit of New York Hospital, the same center where former President Richard Nixon had been only weeks before. Immediately, Noboa was surrounded by his family, who arrived quickly from Ecuador.
Undergoing a medical check-up in New York, Dr. Manuel Rodriguez Morales went to visit Noboa at five in the afternoon on Monday, April 25th in order to congratulate him on his recuperation. Noboa responded: “I know you said that you haven’t come here on business, but tell me, what about…” and began to get to the medical matter at hand. He was lucid but with his strength diminished, speaking slowly due to the bronchial fluids that afflicted him. “Upon leaving, I leaned close to his face, he ruffled my hair and said, ‘Come and see me if you are going to be here in about eight days….don’t be a stranger.’”
Three days later, at 6 o’clock in the morning of April 28, 1994, he woke up, entered the bathroom, but quickly came out, coughed and never regained consciousness. Noboa died at 2.10 in the afternoon without further pain, was taken to a private funeral home, as is the custom in the United States, and his remains arrived in Guayaquil on Saturday, April 30, at 7 in the morning for his wake, prepared beforehand by his son Alvaro.
The Traffic Commission and the National Police coordinated the transfer to the patio of the Noboa Industrial Molinera, where a sober chapel of rest had been set up. The El Oro Street was closed from Eloy Alfaro, permitting only the entrance of the hearse and the family cars.
Under escort, the cortege traveled down the Avenida de las Americas and Los Rios and El Oro streets. Upon arriving at the mill, workers from his companies bore away the coffin in two turns.
Monsignor Nestor Astudillo and Father Guillermo Quiteros celebrated the funeral mass with heartfelt prayers offered by Pedro Mujica, Roberto Baquerizo Valenzuela and Juan Jose Pons Arizaga. There was massive participation as hundreds of employees and workers from Noboa’s businesses had gathered. At 12.30 his coffin was taken via Eloy Alfaro to Venezuela Street and from there to Chimborazo Street and on to the Cathedral where it remained on view.
At 5.30, President Sixto Duran Ballen Cordovez arrived, greeted relatives and presented the widow with the insignia of the National Order of Merit bestowed months before, and another mass was held.
At 6.30, Noboa’s coffin was conveyed for the last time via Chimborazo Street to Julian Coronel, was interred in the General Cemetery in the Door 3 sector. With his passing, his son, Alvaro Noboa Ponton, became the head of the family.
Upon the third anniversary of Noboa’s death, the El Universo newspaper published some of his celebrated sayings, all full of a healthy desire to live.
It doesn’t matter what kind of work it is, the most important thing is to work. That is the only way to get ahead. The vilest thing on earth, the most degrading, is the easy handout. When everyone has work, when everyone does more, we forget about politics and we have created wellbeing. Where there is wellbeing, no one thinks about killing, or executing, or conspiring. The fundamental basis for man is to have abundant and honorable work. The man without work doesn’t believe in social justice. I am satisfied with knowing that I have generated work for many people and I would like to continue to do so for many more.
Where there is wellbeing, no one thinks about killing, or executing, or conspiring. The fundamental basis for man is to have abundant and honorable work. The man without work doesn’t believe in social justice. I am satisfied with knowing that I have generated work for many people and I would like to continue to do so for many more.
A man’s dignity is the respect that he has for himself, the decorum that he searches for. Dignity constitutes the sum of distinction and honor that make an excellence of a human being.
The success of an enterprise is not the building that it owns, but the organization that runs it.
ON THE ORGANIZATION
I have many organizations, many businesses, all of which have heads granted the power of action and decision-making.
I have little confidence in money disinfected by banks with secret accounts, those secret bounties of dictators and tyrants, loophole funds from countries in crisis. My money is naturally clean, the product of work done with determination by my business team.
Life is not magnanimous and, at bottom, one has to work hard. One has to get the best out of it because death is just around the corner.
Death is an abstraction. Life is what is important.
Such was the man that lifted himself up via his own merits until he became the best Ecuadorian businessman of the 20th century, and why not say it, of all times.
Luis Adolfo Noboa Naranjo, February 1, 1916 – April 28, 1994