Norma Lou Levin Novak, 86, of Omaha, died Dec. 14, 2012 at home. She was born Oct. 15, 1926 in Leavenworth, Kan., to Morris and Geraldine Levin. Her parents named their clothing store Marnor’s, after their two daughters, Marjorie and Norma.
On March 8, 1953, Norma married Harry Novak of Varklian, Latvia, and she moved to Nebraska City. Harry, with his brother Herman, had a Nebraska City automobile dealership and farming business from the 1930s until Harry's death in 1986. During her years in Nebraska City, Norma volunteered as a hospital Gray Lady, was a Girl Scout leader and a member of the Nebraska City Women’s Club.
Norma graduated from Leavenworth High School, and matriculated at the University of Missouri, St. Mary’s College and Washington University. In her twenties she joined her parents in working at their store. She was an active participant in the Jewish congregation of Leavenworth, and she had a lifelong love of writing poetry, painting, playing the piano and singing. She studied voice as a young woman and sang in her synagogue’s choir.
After moving to Omaha in 1988, she volunteered leading musical performances with senior citizens and as a rabbinical assistant. She treasured her main Omaha caregiver, Young Mai.
She is survived by her daughter, Esther Novak, M.D., who was born in Nebraska City and is a geriatric psychiatrist, and Esther’s husband, John Chendo, of Davis, Calif.; granddaughter Rachel Goldberger Teichman, Rachel’s husband Jesse Teichman and great-grandchildren Nina Lynn and Eli Judah of Oakland, Calif.; Norma’s sister Marjorie Levin Rabin Brodkin of Kansas City; and nieces Sandy Rabin and Janelle Rabin Flacks of Kansas City. She was preceded in death by her parents and husband.
Per Norma’s request, the funeral and burial will be held at Mt. Zion Cemetery, Leavenworth, Kan., Monday, Dec. 17, at 1 p.m. The family will be receiving friends Wednesday, Dec. 19, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lied Lodge and Conference Center, Nebraska City.
Memorials are suggested to Children’s Reading Programs, Morton-James Public Library in Nebraska City.