Noble Wishard Lee was born in Buffalo, New York in 1896, two years before his parents moved to Chicago. Upon graduation from the "Lab School" at the University of Chicago, he studied for one year at the Realgymnasium in Freiburg, Germany. In 1914 he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, but in 1916 transferred to Harvard University.
In 1916 he went to France and served as an ambulance driver for the French Army, then engaged in World War I. When the United States entered the war, he enlisted in the American Army; he was twice awarded the Croix de Guerre during the conflict. He received his baccalaureate from Harvard College in 1920 and earned his law degree from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago in 1923. He also held a Diplome Etrangere from the University of Caen in France.
Like his father, he also answered the call to public service. In 1940, he was elected the Hyde Park representative to the Illinois House of Representatives, and served as a member of the legislature for 28 years. As an expert in the Illinois Constitution, he developed a survey for all freshmen members of the Illinois House to provide them sufficient background for legislative drafting. When interpretations of the Illinois Constitution arose, he was consulted by several governors.
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