Joseph W. Novotka, 91, of the Lincoln Heights Section of Taylor, died peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Wednesday at his home. His beloved wife, the former Helen Mokay, died August 3, 2016 and together they were devoted to each other for 68 years.
Born in Taylor, son of the late Walter and Mary Polaschak Novotka and he was a 1946 graduate of Taylor High School where his excellent athletic abilities in baseball, basketball, and football, set numerous records which earned him great recognition and football scholarships which he rejected to marry the love of his life. He taught himself carpentry and other skills to build his own home, starting with the foundation, to the very last finishing touches. Joe went on to build 95 homes and mentored many young carpenters. Prior to his retirement, Joe worked as a carpenter for the University of Scranton.
He was a parishioner of St. Ann’s Basilica. In his younger years he served his parish in many ways: an usher, building the stands for the parish picnic, ran bingos, served as PTA president for St. Ann School, and most noteworthy built a Baptismal Font which was used by the parish for many years.
Joe enjoyed gardening and canning his own produce, cooking, baking apple pies, fishing, golfing, bowling, playing with great grandchildren, and so many other things. Sunday’s was family time and reminiscing about the past. He was very creative, innovative, clever, and capable of fixing anything. His quiet, yet witty, strong presence will be greatly missed by many. As Joe became homebound, his granddaughter, Joanna became a tremendous help to him, along with daily visits from his children.
The Novotka Family would like to express their deepest gratitude to Dr. Mark Lyons and the nurses and staff of Hospice of the Sacred Hearts for their support and care.
Also surviving are four daughters, Marsha Foy and husband, Tom, Justus; Marilyn K. Howells, Scranton; Joanne Connor and husband, James, Taylor; and Janice Novotka, Scranton; four sons, Joseph and wife, Maria, Frederick, Md.; Walter M. and wife, Jackie, Louisville, Ky.; Michael and wife, Peggy; and Ronald J. and wife, Sherry, all of Taylor; 19 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews.
Three sisters, Helen Savitski, Rose Glomboski and Anna Voytko and two brothers, Walter and Peter Chapla, preceded him in death.
Memorial contributions may be to St. Ann’s Basilica Parish 1250 St. Ann’s St., Scranton 18504
Family and friends are invited to attend Joe’s funeral, which will begin on Monday at 9:15 from the Semian Funeral Home, 704 Union St. Taylor, followed by Mass of Christian Burial at 10 am in St. Ann's Basilica, 1251 St. Ann's Street, Scranton, PA 18504. Interment will be in St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Cemetery, Taylor. Friends may call Sunday 2 to 5 pm.