Peggy Jo Novak, 72, Park Rapids, MN passed away Thursday, September 7, 2023 at her home.
Peggy was born March 21, 1951 in Minneapolis, MN to Edgar and Vivian (Powell) Deal. She grew up in Minneapolis and graduated from Southwest High School in 1969 where she participated in tennis, golf, badminton and was Homecoming Queen in 1968. She attended St. Olaf for one year. She graduated from Bemidji State University in 1973 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and again in 1989 with a Master’s Degree in Education Administration.
Peggy’s most passionate years of employment began at Akeley School where she taught math and physical education from 1986-1990. In 1990 she became Principal at Akeley. In 2002 Akeley staff and students moved to Walker. Peggy served as principal at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley school until her retirement in 2014.
Peggy was a very strong, confident and inspiring person. She had a very strong calling and passion for education, especially for her teachers and students. She was always finding ways to reach her students more efficiently and compassionately. Everyone who knew her knew how much she loved her students. She greatly enjoyed her interactions with them, ribbing with them in the halls, asking those she was concerned about how they were that day, and taking the time to visit with those who needed someone to confide in. She was tough but fair, and her students knew Mrs. Novak would always listen to whatever they had to say. Above and beyond was a daily standard for her; she was completely dedicated to her colleagues and students.
Peggy was exactly the same as a mother. She was so strong, so confident, so inspiring. Her children and grandchildren were the center of her world. She loved them hard. Her favorite times were when everyone would gather at her home on Little Sand Lake for special weekends, birthdays and holidays. Pontoon rides, swimming, barbecues, having drinks on her deck or by the lake were treasured times by all. Her house always looked so beautiful, with a perfectly manicured yard and gorgeous flowers she took great pride in. She greatly enjoyed being outside, mowing and watering. She enjoyed her neighbors on the lake and they always helped each other.
In Peggy’s earlier years, she and her children attended Riverside United Methodist Church, but in retirement, she called Hubbard United Methodist Church home. She enjoyed the wonderful community there, singing in the choir and spending her Sunday mornings with all of the lovely folks there.
In her retirement years, she got a part time job at Dorset Liquor. She loved that job, and more importantly, the people she worked with there. She enjoyed doing tastings, and because of her magnetic personality, people loved her. She will be greatly missed by her Dorset Liquor family.
Peggy and her presence will be forever missed by her adoring family, friends, colleagues and students. Her presence was so strong, so impactful, so meaningful. So many lessons, so many memories, so much love.
Peggy is survived by her children: Carly (James) Novak-Hayes of Park Rapids, Amy Novak of Minneapolis, and Anthony (Kori Moore) Novak of Minneapolis; four grandchildren: Carter Novak, Vivian Novak Andersen, Cormac Novak Gehrke, Violet Moore; two nieces; two nephews; Sophie her special cat; her best friend of 67 years, Julia “Bean” (Skip) Fox; and her close friends, Mary Muller and Linda Hamm.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Edgar and Vivian Deal; siblings, Madeline Hanson, Bev Graf, and Douglas Deal.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, September 30, 2023 at 11 a.m. at the Hubbard United Methodist Church in Hubbard, MN with visitation for one hour prior to the service at the church. A celebration of Peggy will follow the service. Burial will be a Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis at a later date.
Arrangements by Cease Family Funeral Home of Park Rapids, MN. Online condolences may be left at www.ceasefuneralhome.com. 9-20c