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Thomas J. (Tom) Novak, 83, passed away peacefully on August 7, 2018 at the family home. He spent his last day surrounded by family, humoring everyone with his quick wit and being in command (giving orders) while appreciating the things he loved about his home:  the sunset view from the deck, the hummingbirds, and his loyal companion shihtzu, Gigi.  Tom was born the youngest of 10 children in Nashville, Illinois on December 27, 1934 to Walter and Rose (Piecnik) Novak. 

He is survived by his wife of nearly 62 years, Martha (Marty) L. Novak (nee. Vaughn), whom he dearly loved and their five children - Thomas Novak, Pamella Carlton (Randy), Michael Novak, Jeffery Novak (Samara), and Curtis Novak (Sheri); his brothers - Clements and Walter (Patricia) Novak, and sister, Marie Pries; brother-in-law, John (Connie) Vaughn, and sisters-in-law - Dorothy Vance and June George; grandchildren - Amber Askew, Angelie Rich, Jesse (Sylvia), Caitlin, Michael, Samuel, and Noah Carlton, Kylie Novak, Kevin (Katie) and Randy (Victoria) Quarteri, Gabe, Josh (Stephanie) and Miranda Montoya, and Morgan Novak; 10 great-grandchildren; plus numerous nieces and nephews. 

Tom graduated from Nashville High School in 1954 and shortly after met the love of his life at the Blue Moon Family Dance Hall and Tavern.  He enlisted in the Army and when Marty graduated in 1956 Tom made her his bride and took her back to Olalla, Washington where he was stationed.  Upon finishing his enlistment, they returned to Illinois to start a family. It was the beginning of a solid life-long partnership in which they shared many joys and sorrows, good times and struggles.  Tom worked as a machinist for Olin Mathieson and McDonnel Douglas Aircraft until 1967 when in search of job stability and a healthier climate for his children’s respiratory condition he moved his family to Los Alamos, New Mexico where he began a 23 year career at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  While working as a machinist, Tom earned his Associates degree in Advanced Engineering Technology rising to the level of Precision Machinist and Dimensional Inspection Supervisor (Quality Control).  He loved his work and lived by the verse, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.” Colossians 3:23.  Tom was a master mechanic who found great joy and challenge in making things work—he could fix anything, even designing and tooling his own parts to complete the job.

Outspoken in his convictions, a perfectionist nearly to a fault, and devoted to his family, work, and pursuits, Tom could be gruff at times but was also a kind-hearted and compassionate soul who was quick to lend a hand to anyone in need.  He and Marty regularly opened their home to family, friends, co-workers and neighborhood get-togethers.  He had a genuine smile and was a practical joker and tease, especially with children.  A die-hard athlete and avid sports fan, Tom played as hard as he worked despite battling with rheumatoid arthritis most of his adult life. He coached his sons through Little League Baseball and YMCA basketball while also playing men’s city league basketball and fast-pitch softball.  He played long enough for his older sons to join him until the pain after games outweighed the pleasure of playing and he hung up his cleats and glove and settled for managing.  Marty supported him as concession stand mom, scorekeeper, and #1 fan. 

Tom retired from LANL in 1990 and in 1997 he and Marty moved to Elephant Butte, NM to escape the cold Northern New Mexico winters and fulfill Marty’s dream of living by the water.  They continued their love of sports and community service as members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help church where Tom served with the Knights of Columbus and as members of American Legion Post 44 where he held various positions.  Tom also was Assistant Coach for the Hot Springs High School girls softball team from 1998-2001 and he and Marty were regular attendees at most HSHS sporting events.  Tom and Marty never forgot how to have fun or that dancing would never fail to lift their spirits. They loved the outdoor life spending time together gardening, motorcycling, sightseeing, camping, fishing, and boating along with their children and grandchildren.  Classic cars were Tom’s other passion and he and Marty took in car shows both locally and as they travelled. He kept in close contact with his roots making regular trips back to Illinois over the years to stay connected with his and Marty’s family.  Just two short weeks before Tom died, he, Marty and daughter, Pam made what ended up being his last trek to Illinois to celebrate Marty’s 80th birthday with their families.  Tom was a good man who will be dearly missed by his beloved wife, his family, his friends, and his community.

A Rosary Service will be held Monday, August 13, 2018 at 6:00 P.M. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church led by Gary Montoya.  Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, August 14, 2018 at 11:00 A.M. officiated by Rev. Don Hyatt, CSB.  Rite of Committal will be at Vista Memory Gardens Cemetery followed by a meal at the Parish Hall.  The American Legion Post 44 will also host a memorial service and lunch at the post on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 at 12:00 noon.  In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the American Legion Post 44 Overseas Care Package program which Tom and Marty faithfully supported and volunteered with from its inception 15 years ago.


Tom Novak
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  • Thursday, August 9, 2018
    The staff of Kirikos Family Funeral Home, Inc. will keep you and your family in our prayers. We thank you for allowing us to assist you in your time of need.
    ~ Kirikos Family Funeral Home
  • Sunday, August 12, 2018
    Dearest Marty & Family, We wish to extend our most sincere sympathy. God Bless You. With Love, Barb & Frank
    ~ Barbara & Frank Kapela   Elephant Butte, NM
  • Thursday, August 9, 2018
    Love you Dad. I am so glad and proud to have been your son and namesake. Rest in peace.
    ~ Tom Novak Jr.   Woodbridge, VA
  • Friday, August 10, 2018
    Uncle Tom, you will be surely missed. You are an amazing Uncle; always concerned for our well being. You always had the best advice & you gave it a way that was from your heart. Rest In Peace My sincere condolences to you Aunt Marty & to all my cousins.
    ~ Susan Nadler   Maryland Heights, MO
  • Friday, August 10, 2018
    We are going to miss you so much Uncle Tom. I will hold dear to my heart all of the wonderful memories of our visits together. Aunt Marty and cousins, please accept my sincere condolences and may the Lord bless and comfort you during this time of grief.
    ~ Judy Lynn   Huntsville, AL
  • Thursday, August 9, 2018
    I have known and worked with Tom Jr. for over twenty years, and can tell that you raised him well. I am sure that you were proud of the man that he is. May you rest in peace knowing that he is surrounded by friends that will be there for him whenever needed
    ~ Larry Chwirut   Ocean Isle Beach, NC
  • Friday, August 10, 2018
    Words can not express how sorry I am for your loss Tom Novak, Jr. and family. I hope you know you can count on your friends like me. You are an amazing person and I am sorry your heart is aching.
    ~ Garbie Pollock   Falls Church, VA
  • Thursday, August 9, 2018
    Friends, I was not a close friend of this good man, but from my view, he was obviously a God loving, family man; I was lucky to have him in my life; God watch over him and his family. A good trip successfully completed, Tom! Until we meet again. Mark Filosa
    ~ Mark Filosa   T or C, NM
  • Saturday, August 11, 2018
    So sorry for your loss my condolence to the Novak family
    ~ Mark Frame   Niagara Falls, NY
  • Monday, August 13, 2018
    We will miss our good friend Tom. But, he left us with many, many wonderful memories and "words of wisdom" to remember. He was one in a million and we're thankful he was part of our lives for 45 years. God bless you Marty and all the family.
    ~ Allen and Cheryl Dean   Albuquerque, NM
  • Saturday, August 11, 2018
    Im at a loss for words. The youngest of the Novak brothers has gone to join the rest of his siblings. Take good care of him. Judi
    ~ Judi Novak Camarato   Toms River, NJ