Thelma Novak

July 30, 2021 - June 25, 2014

Born September 26, 1922, died June 25, 2014, at age 91. Survived by children, Victor F. Novak II (Jodi Saylor), Gloria Novak, Shirley Novak, and Albert Novak (Barbara Colbert); her friend, Kay Stalder; and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends. Preceded in death by her husband of 58 years, Victor F. Novak; and her four brothers, Joe Phillips, Mike Phillips, Edward Phillips, and Ray Phillips; and four sisters, Ruth Prescaro, Eltina Lucidore, Elvira Toscano, and Elia Skinner; and her sister-in-law, Katherine Phillips. Her family was located in New Castle, PA. Thelma and her husband relocated to the North Side of Pittsburgh in the 1950s. There they bought a home and operated a business known as Northwestern Packing Company, both located in the East Street Valley. Thelma entered politics, where she served as a Democrat Committee woman and then as the Ward Chair for the 26th Ward in the City of Pittsburgh. Later, she served as the State Vice President for the Democrat Women’s Federation. She was known as a diligent campaign worker who could get out the vote. On her 80th birthday, Mayor Murphy gave her a key to the city and declared that day Thelma Novak Day. Later, when asked about why she retired from politics, Thelma remarked “Because when I die I want to see the face of God.” Thelma was a founding member and Vice President of H.E.A.R.T. (Highway Emergency and Relocation Team) organization. This group was instrumental in lobbying for legislation for adequate compensation for the 3,000 families and businesses who were dislocated during the construction of the East Street Valley Express Way, now known as the Parkway North. She helped save St. Boniface Church and traveled to Washington, D.C. to place it on the National Historical Landmark Registry. St. Boniface Church was one of the first churches in the country to be spared from a demolition ball. Thelma and Victor were two of the last people to leave the East Street Valley when they moved to the North Hills and relocated their business now known as Vic’s Choice Meats in the city. Since arriving in Pittsburgh, Thelma was a member of St. Boniface Church, now known as Holy Wisdom Parish. She was a member of the Christian Mothers, the Over Fifty Club and worked on the parish festival until her physical disabilities prevented it. She was a member of the North Side Greek Orthodox Church Senior Club. She traveled with both senior groups and loved the bus trips and the casinos they visited. She loved playing pinochle and was known by her friends and family as the Pinochle Queen of Pittsburgh. She loved her summers spent in Conneaut Lake Park, music, and all things Italian. A wonderful wife, mother, friend, cook, and homemaker, her smile, laughter, and wisdom will be missed by all. Friends received Saturday and Sunday 2-6 p.m. at T. B. DEVLIN FUNERAL HOME, 806 Perry Hwy., North Hills. Mass of Christian Burial in Holy Wisdom Parish, St. Boniface Church, Monday at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to Holy Wisdom Parish, 1029 Haslage Street, Pgh., 15212.

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  • Cheryl Wilson

    May God Bless you during this difficult time. I remember your Mom coming up to JCU, what a wonderful woman… Our thoughts and prayers are sent from Michigan..


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