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Norma "Jean" Nowakowski, 82, of Toledo, Ohio, passed away on Saturday, April 26, 2014, in her home. A life-long resident of the Toledo area, Jean was well-loved by her many family members who mourn her loss. Jean was the daughter of James J. Fleitz of Oregon, Ohio, and Evelyn (Curtis) Fleitz of Norwalk, Ohio. Born on May 7, 1931, she was the oldest of their eight children. From an early age, Jean was a nurturer, had significant energy, and loved life. Her home was always the center of activity, as Jean valued family above all else.
In February of this year, she and her husband, Henry Z. "Hank" Nowakowski, celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. From the first time Hank spied Jean sitting on a sand pile, to her last moment, his promise to cherish her forever was fulfilled. In their early marriage, they built the company HPH Mechanical, which is now operated by several of their children. Jean loved to travel the world, with her husband Hank and equally with an entourage of family members. She was curious about how other people lived, what their food tasted like, and local history. Beach destinations and steel drum music were favorites. All the while, Jean was teaching her family to appreciate one another for their differences, reminding them they did not all need to be alike. She golfed for many years at Highland Meadows in Sylvania, Ohio, and Fiddlesticks in Ft. Myers, Florida.
For over sixty years, Jean and her family have celebrated their faith at St. Joseph's Parish in Sylvania. Best known for her many proverbs, her nine children, Marilyn (Bruce) Fredrickson, James (Marsha) Nowakowski, John (Cynthia) Nowakowski, Catherine Scannell, Henry E. "Chip" (Pat) Nowakowski, Jeffery Nowakowski, Mark Nowakowski, Carolyn Nowakowski, Janet (John) Bali; twenty grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, have learned their values and lessons from a very wise teacher. Even in challenging or disappointing situations, you'd hear her say, "When you have nothing else, you have experience" or "Tie a knot and hang on."
Jean is survived by brothers, Robert Fleitz, James Fleitz, Thomas Fleitz, and sisters, Joan Troconis, and Evelyn Day; her brother, Fred Fleitz, and sister, Rose St. Julian predeceased her.
Friends may call at the Reeb Funeral Home, 5712 North Main Street, Sylvania, Ohio, Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jean's life will be celebrated with the rite of Christian Burial at St. Joseph's Church on Wednesday at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Toledo Memorial Park. The family suggests tributes to St. Joseph's Parish, Little Flower Parish, and Senior Independence hospice.
Online condolences may be offered to the family at
Reeb Funeral Home
5712 N. Main Street Sylvania, OH 43560
Published in Toledo Blade on Apr. 28, 2014