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George D. Novak of California, PA, passed away April 25, 2023. George was born to Michael and Katherine (Masayko) Novak of West Brownsville, PA, on January 8, 1934. He attended California Community High School, graduating at the age of 16. At the age of 19, he graduated from California State College with a degree in mathematics and physics. Barely older than his students, George then began his teaching career at West Bethlehem Schools. He taught for four years at “West Beth” and one year at Bethlehem Center High School, where he met the woman who would become his wife.
In 1958, George earned a Master’s Degree in Mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh. In the fall of 1959, George began his decades long career at what is now California University of Pennsylvania. He was a physics professor for three years before moving to mathematics and computer science. He served as Intern Director for Computer, Information Studies, and Mathematics until his retirement in 2019. For a number of years, he was a sponsor of the Math Club and the Computer Science Club. George served on the Cal U Alumni Board for many years and collaborated with many alumni and friends to help students. Among his assistance was founding the dire need fund, to help students experiencing financial difficulties, and supporting student awards and tuition grants. While at Cal U, George served on committees too numerous to mention. Among his awards were the John R. Gregg Award for Service and a Lifetime Achievement Award.
He enjoyed working with the Boy Scouts of America to help scouts earn merit badges in computer science. George was a director and teacher in the university’s gifted and talented camp, rated by Johns Hopkins University as one of the best camps for children.
George was a lifelong member of both the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) and the National Education Association (NEA). He served as a technical advisor/educator with J&L Steel Corporation (Coal Division) for several years. A dedicated teacher, George gave numerous lectures sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America and the National Science Foundation. Through the National Defense Education Act (NDEA), George also taught educational programs to high school students throughout the tri-county area. Always an avid learner, George attended programs (some under grants from the National Science Foundation) at a number of universities including West Virginia University, the University of Illinois, and the University of Wisconsin.
George was a partner in CND Computer Systems and was an implementer for Data General computer systems. He was the long-serving president of Cal-Ed Federal Credit Union and was a member of the Mon Valley Health and Welfare Council, where he also served as president for a time.
He proudly served in the U.S. Army Reserves for eight years and was honorably discharged.
George enjoyed country music, occasional visits to the casino, and sporting events.
In addition to his parents, George was preceded in death by his brother Thomas (Sara, deceased) Novak and his son-in-law Ronald Barber. He is survived by his loving wife of more than 63 years, Eileen (Paler) Novak, and his daughter Jean E. Novak of Pittsburgh, PA, son G.David (Sheila) Novak, II, of Fairfax County, VA, son Christopher M. (Jennifer) Novak, of Purcellville, VA and grandsons Jacob Novak, Matthew Novak, George D. Novak, III, Nicholas Novak, and Michael Novak, all of Virginia, brother Ronald (Jackie) Novak of Manheim, PA, sister, Kathy (John) Hershbine of Sanibel Island, FL, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
George wanted to thank West Beth for giving a 19 year old his first teaching opportunity, Cal U students, faculty, and staff who worked with him, and the industrial, commercial, and educational leaders with whom he worked in placing interns. He valued the work experiences he had with faculty, administrators, students, student assistants, tutors, and so many others. “I have learned much from all of you, and I wanted to personally thank you. All of you have made my life very enjoyable.”
Friends will be received in the Mariscotti Funeral Home, Inc., Anthony N. Mariscotti, Supervisor, 323 Fourth Street, California, PA on Thursday, April 27 from 6-8 pm, and on Friday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm. A Blessing service will be held in the funeral home on Saturday April 29, 2023 at 11:00 am.
Interment will follow in Lafayette Memorial Park.
George’s family requests memorial contributions to the California Volunteer Fire Department, 1000 Wood Street, California, PA 15419.