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John's Story

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John Novak, 97, of Haverhill, passed away on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 exactly 68 years after immigrating to the United States from war torn Poland in 1949. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family.
John was a devoted Catholic and believed in the power of God Almighty. His life reflected his core values of integrity, hard work, and devotion to family and his fellow citizens. He lived a full life and while he met with many challenges, he responded with dignity and strength. He was a concentration camp survivor having escaped twice, the last time being shot and wounded. Following this attack, he was credited with saving an American Army patrol from a Nazi ambush.

Shortly after he met the love of his life, Zuzanna (Okarma) Novak, and sold his motorcycle to pay for a wedding that would usher in 71 years of marriage. Many say they have the ultimate love story, as they were fully committed to each others’ happiness every day. John and Zuzanna had their daughter, Manya in Germany and later immigrated to Haverhill where they went to night school to learn English and subsequently sponsored other families to legally emigrate to the United States. After approaching management at the National Continental Paper Company in Haverhill, with a letter in broken English asking for employment, John worked his way up to the position of Mill Superintendent.

A short time later their son, Frank was born. Their joy with their growing family was met with concern as their son contracted polio as an infant. However with a resiliency of spirit and determination, they helped each other overcome this series of challenges.

He believed in the power of community on and off the job. He was the former President of the Polish National Home, The Pulaski Club and a Delegate to the Polish National Alliance of America. He was especially proud of being publicly recognized by Haverhill's Mayor James J. Fiorentini as a “Super Voter” as never having missed an opportunity to vote since gaining his Citizenship.
He often seen walking his Bichon Frise, Ace, of 17 years who recently passed. He also enjoyed tending his garden and making wine from his personal small backyard vineyard and gifting it to family and friends for holidays and special occasions. He was a steward of honest work and led by example throughout his life.

His legacy will live on in the hearts and lives he touched as a loving husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, friend and upstanding citizen of the commonwealth he so dearly loved. Even in the face of hardship, he saw the beauty in life's small moments and lived each day with an appreciation for what God and strength of character can do. He will be dearly missed and forever cherished.

He leaves his wife, Zuzanna; daughter, Manya Novak-Levin and husband, Stan of Alexandria, Va. and son Frank Novak and wife, Marie of Haverhill; five grandchildren, Kazia Feinberg and husband, Ben and their son, Harrison, Jacqueline (Sunshine) Novak, Stasia Levin, Johnathan Novak and Jessica Titus and husband, Jeff.
Visitation will be held on Friday, August 25, in the Driscoll Funeral Home, 309 So. Main Street, Haverhill from 4 to 7 p.m Services will begin Saturday morning in the funeral home at 10 a.m. Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in All Saints Church, 120 Bellevue Avenue, Haverhill at 11 a.m. Interment will be at a later date in St. Patrick Cemetery. For online guestbook, please visit www.driscollcares.com.
Published on  August 24, 2017
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