Sheila Novak

Sheila Kato Novak
November 30, 1947 - February 15, 2013
A person who demanded so much of herself in life finally gave herself permission to rest. After a ten-month battle with cancer, a beautiful, loving, and inspiring wife, mother, friend, and lawyer has left us. She was 65. She was the youngest of seven children born to Hitoshi, a taxi driver, and Haruno (Moritsugu) Kato in Kaneohe, Hawaii. Her intellect, integrity, determination, and hard work were evident throughout her life. She defied convention and expectations. Graduating with honors from the University of Hawaii and the University of California Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, she enjoyed a 39-year career as an appellate lawyer in both the private and public sectors. Her career began as a research attorney for the Honorable Marcus Kaufman, who later served on the California Supreme Court. She retired as the lead research attorney for the Honorable Madeleine Flier of the California Court of Appeal. She also was one of the first certified appellate specialists in California. Her love for creativity and beauty was expressed through her interests in gardening, sewing, jewelry making, baking, and reading. She was multi-talented. She could as easily fix plumbing as she consistently beat her family at Scrabble. She is survived by her husband, Steven, daughters Jennifer (Dean) and Suzanne (Taylor), grandchildren Emily, William, Austin, and Nola, mother Haruno (101), sisters Hazel, Thelma, Audrey, Frances, and Lillian, and many wonderful friends. Their love and support sustained her and provided hope throughout her struggle. We are so lucky to have had almost a year with her after the cancer was found, invaluable time that allowed her to greet a new grandchild and share memories, laughter, hopes, and fears. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the California YMCA Youth & Government Program, for which Sheila spent twenty years as a member of its governing board and program committees, and which greatly influenced the lives of her children. http://calymca.org.
A celebration of her life will be held for friends and family in Pasadena on March 30, 2013.

Published in the Los Angeles Times on Mar. 3, 2013