Larkin Mortuary

Joseph Novak

04/15/1926 - 10/26/2017

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Joseph Novak, age 91, passed away in the arms of his loved ones at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah. Joe was born April 15, 1926 to John and Mary Novak in Park City, Utah.

Joe graduated from Park City High School in 1944 and joined the United States Navy in Coronado, California. While serving, he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for saving the life of a fellow sailor. With the aid of the GI bill, Joe was able to graduate from the University of Utah in 1950 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He then attended the University of Utah Law School graduating in 1954 with his JD degree. While working at the Utah State Capitol, Joe met the love of his life, Shirley B. Parsons. They were married on March 24, 1954.

Joe had a distinguished career as an attorney, specializing in water and natural resource law. After many years in private practice, he joined the law firm of Snow, Christensen & Martineau where he was Of Counsel.  Joe was one of the most respected attorneys in the state and was proud of the many projects he facilitated. He represented a variety of water companies, irrigation companies, water user associations, and water districts and was a consultant to Salt Lake City on water matters.  He was also proud of the pro bono work he was able to provide. Joe retired from the practice of law in 2011 at age 85.

Joe was President of the Utah State Bar, Western States Bar and was a State Delegate to the American Bar Association. He received numerous awards including Distinguished Lawyer of the Year, the Amicus Curiae Award and Lifetime Service Award from the Utah State Bar all of which he was humbled to receive.

Joe and Shirley were married for 63 years and raised 3 daughters. Their marriage was filled with love, respect, devotion and tender service. Joe loved spending time with his family, traveling to Laguna Beach and Maui. He supported his family in all their many activities and stressed the importance of education. His work ethic will live forever in all of us.

Joe was truly one of those unique individuals who reminds us of how far one can come in life with hard work, a selfless nature and a smile. We marvel at how this gentleman never failed to offer a helping hand, a word of advice, or a display of generosity. We are grateful for the example he has shown of how to live life without regrets, being loved by everyone and happy just to be with his family. Joe achieved the highest levels of both personal and professional success, but remained unaffected by the notion of enviable accomplishment in either area. That in itself is the lesson that Joe has taught us all.

Joe is survived by loving wife Shirley, his daughters Kim Rigby (Dwight), Anne Wingo (Gary), Caralee Floisand (Scott), 10 outstanding grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, sisters Ann Voyles and Evelyn Thuet and sisters-in-law Ruth Novak and Peggy Duncan. He is preceded in death by parents John and Mary and brothers John and Phil Novak.

Family and friends are invited to visit Sunday, October 29th between the hours of 6-8:00 pm at Larkin Sunset Lawn, 2350 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah.  A memorial service will be held Monday, October 30th at Larkin Sunset Lawn Chapel at noon. Friends may also visit prior to the memorial at 10:45 am. Graveside services will follow at the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charity of your choice.

Recent Condolences

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  • I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. I hope you find comfort in knowing that your loved one is safe in the memory of God, who will remember every detail about him & bring him back again. John 5:28,29. You have my condolences.

    — Tara
  • Dear Shirley and Family,
    Like you, we will miss your husband and father. He was one of my mentors when we served on the Utah State Bar Commission. During those years we were involved in the active Western States Bar Conference and travelled with our wives to meetings as far away as Mexico City. As a young lawyer, I learned from the older commissioner, whom I admired that sometimes they would lose a case – and that perfection wasn’t mandatory. Ruth loved her association and friendship with Shirley, a great lady with a pleasing personality. My God bless you one and all.

    — Norm & Ruth Jackson