Joseph Walter Novak, 96, died at home Wednesday. He was born August 24, 1922 in Ronkonkoma, NY. A graduate of Brooklyn Prep, Joseph received his professional training in engineering and science at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute while also employed as an engineering mechanic with Grumman Corporation. A longtime resident of Garden City, New York, in retirement, Joe and his wife lived in suburban Philadelphia for over 20 years and in Durham for the last 6 years.
Mr. Novak served in the Navy from 1943 to 1946 before returning to Grumman, advancing through the engineering and project design ranks until retirement in 1984. He was a proud Grumman employee for over 40 years.
Joseph Novak led a life of steadfast devotion to his family, his faith and the noble values of loyalty, reverence and respect toward others. Under their father’s tutelage, his children were raised with a strong work ethic and an attitude of humility. Joe was the consummate polite gentleman with impeccable manners.
Joe was graced with a God-centered marriage of 70 years to the love of his life, Eileen, a marriage fortified by patience and complete selflessness. Joe once remarked that the best decade of his life was the 50’s when his four children were born. He often said, “My kids are the greatest investment I ever made.”
A devout churchman, and among his interests, he found great joy in gardening, playing piano, painting and managing home projects, especially with his sons. Joe was an avid baseball fan and closely followed the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies.
Surviving are his beloved wife, Eileen Connor Novak; his children, Maureen Warner (Chuck) of Aiken, SC, Paul Novak (Rosanne) of Durham, Nancy Novak of Durham and Matthew Novak (Cindi) of Ambler, PA; his grandchildren, Chris Warner, Kim Warner Hanna, Andrew Novak, Katie Novak DeLong, John Novak-Brown, Dan Novak and 8 great-grandchildren. He was pre-deceased by his parents, Walter and Agnes Novak, and sister Irene Novak Bromka.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11:00 AM Monday from St. Matthew Catholic Church, with interment following in St. Matthew Catholic Cemetery. Friends will be received 6-8 PM Sunday at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. Memorial donations may be made to: Urban Ministries of Durham.