James Novak

Obituary of James L. Novak

James (Jim) L. Novak passed away unexpectedly at the age of 73 on December 4, 2020, in Hawley, Pennsylvania. Jim is survived by his wife of 51 years, Kate J. Novak; his two daughters, Kelly N. Ryals and U.S. Army Staff Sergeant (Ret.) Poppy J. Natalie (Ryan); grandchildren, Billy M. Lee, Kelsea N. Natalie, Katie H. Novak, Meghan E. Natalie, and Dillon T. Crispin; great-grandchildren: Evelyn A. Lee, Ava R. Lee, Jacob A. Lee and Mia L. Mauro; and his brother, Joseph J. Novak (Beverly). Jim is also survived by extended family and many treasured friends. Jim was preceded in death by his son, U.S. Army Sergeant James J. (Jimmy) Novak (Honorably Discharged), and his sister, Carol M. Drejza. Jim was a U.S. Army veteran, and was awarded the Purple Heart Medal for Vietnam combat injuries received in July 1967. Jim served as a demolitions specialist and combat engineer in Vietnam. Jim was active in veterans’ issues and was the Commander of Chapter 1782 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. He was proud to have been instrumental in establishing the Purple Heart Hall of Honor, located in New Windsor, New York, which is now operated by the the New York State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Department. Jim was born in Newark, New Jersey, and was raised in Rockland County, New York. He attended college at Plattsburgh State University and Clinton County Community College, and met his wife Kate in Thiells, New York, in April 1969. They were married in September 1969, had three children, and raised their family in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York. After retiring from the U.S. Army, Jim worked for the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene as a Recreation Director, and then began a career as a Corrections Officer with the New York State Department of Corrections. Jim retired from New York state service in 1995. Jim and Kate relocated to Hawley, Pennsylvania, in March 2002. Jim was an avid and skilled hunter, outdoorsman, and woodworker, and had built many strong friendships through these interests. Jim was also an excellent storyteller. One of his most fantastic (yet incredibly, still true) stories was about his role in the capture of a dangerous fugitive who had killed a Pennsylvania State Trooper. Jim’s discovery of the fugitive’s vehicle led to the successful resolution of a massive weeks-long law enforcement manhunt. Jim was dedicated, loyal, and was a man of high integrity. He had many friends who would do anything for him and had an excellent sense of humor. A memorial service celebrating Jim and his life will be scheduled and announced in 2021 after the easing of quarantine restrictions. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you instead consider donations to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor (https://www.thepurpleheart.com/).
A Memorial Tree was planted for James
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Teeters Funeral Chapel
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