Rev. John William Novak
1942 - 2021
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Rev. John William Novak

Indianapolis - The Rev. John William Novak passed away, at home, on April 16, 2021. He was born in Elyria, Ohio on July 10, 1942 to John and Grace Novak. William graduated from Wittenberg University in 1964 and Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1967. He completed his graduate work in Systematic Theology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Rev. Novak was pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church for thirty-seven years and was an adjunct professor at the University of Indianapolis and Christian Theological Seminary for many years. He was president of the Meridian-Kessler Development Corporation for over twenty years and received the Inaugural Distinguished Leadership Award for exceptional and comprehensive contributions to the community through vision, commitment, knowledge, guidance, and service from 1970-2007.

He was honored with the highest award the Governor of the State of Indiana bestows, being named a Sagamore of the Wabash in 1995. This was the heightened by a beautifully framed letter of praise from the city in which Mayor Goldsmith decreed February 12, 1995 J. William Novak Day. He was celebrated as a man whose focus and achievements strengthened individual well-being, enriched a congregation, and improved a city.

Pastor Novak is survived by his wife, Myra; daughter, Susan Buroker (Andrew) and granddaughters, Abigail and Olivia Buroker.

Due to Covid-19 regulations, a private memorial service will be held.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Bethlehem Lutheran Church at 526 East 52nd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46205 or to Christian Theological Seminary at 1000 W. 42nd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Indianapolis Star from Apr. 17 to Apr. 22, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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4 entries
April 23, 2021
On behalf of my colleagues in the Dept. Of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Indianapolis, I want to convey our sympathies to Bill Novak’s family. His work as an adjunct instructor was enjoyed by students and respected by faculty colleagues. May he Rest In Peace and Rise in Glory!
Michael Cartwright
April 22, 2021
I am saddened by Bill's passing. What a good man--faithful to the church and an asset to our city! I knew Bill from UIndy (where I taught); Bill also invited me to speak at Bethlehem Lutheran and St. Paul's Episcopal. I am grateful that I knew him.
Perry Kea
April 22, 2021
Myra, Wayne Dawson sent to me word from your ADP sister Linda Markus that Bill died. My condolence to you and your family. As you know, Bill and I were in the same pledge class of Phi Mu Delta at Wittenberg, or across and down the street from the ADP house. I have good memories our my year at WU and PMD with Bill. I last saw you both at the 1985 reunion.

Wittenberg & Phi Mu Delta 1964.
Timothy Kuryla
April 19, 2021
Dear Myra, Susan, Andrew, Abigail and Olivia,

May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.

I am so grateful that Bill served as my mentor during my ministry internship through CTS, and then continued for years as my theology teacher for several years after that. We shared a mutual passion for Systematic or Construction Theology. He was an excellent mentor, always leading me to new and fascinating readings and conversations, which always led me to more questions and more knowledge. Without question, he impacted my life in ministry leadership more than any other professor at CTS! He was kind, brilliant, generous, courageous, witty, and so much more. I continue to hold him in the highest regard, and blessed to have known and studied with him.
In God's gracious Shalom,
Rev. Nona Shockney Hodder
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Scottsbluff, NE.
Rev. Nona Shockney Hodder
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