Rachel J. Novy, 91, of rural Hillsboro, passed away on Monday, March 16, 2020 at Serenity House hospice in Tomah, Wisconsin, after a short battle with pneumonia.
She was born Rachel Jane Hart on May 6, 1928 in Hillsboro to Lyle and Ellyn (Staley) Hart. She graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1946, studied two years at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, then studied three more years at Macalester College (Miss Wood's School) in St. Paul, Minnesota, majoring in primary-level education and graduating in 1951. After teaching kindergarten for two years in Neenah, Wisconsin, she returned to Hillsboro and married Martin F. Novy on September 10, 1953. Together they operated the family dairy farm for many, many years.
Rachel was very active in community affairs throughout her adult life in Hillsboro. She joined the Hillsboro Woman's Civic Club in 1953 and served as its president and secretary for several terms – enthusiastically organizing and participating in the club's various community-benefitting efforts. She was also a strong supporter of the Hillsboro Public Library, serving on its board at the time of the new library's construction and inclusion within the Winding Rivers Library System. An educator by legacy, nature and training, Rachel worked as a teacher's aide in the English department at Hillsboro High School for many years, assisting the teachers (Elizabeth Schaller, Nan Hall and Carol Wolfenden, notably) with classwork and the school's “forensics” (public speaking/performance) program. Also concerned about the community's healthcare needs, she was a member of the St. Joseph's Hospital Auxiliary, serving as president and secretary several times. It might be added, in the context of “community affairs,” that she was an avid and longtime member of several bridge clubs in the area, along with a number of women who also served in various community organizations with her.
Rachel is survived by sons Ralph (Minnie) Novy and Matthew (Nanci) Novy of Hillsboro; grandchildren: Sara (Aaron) White of Mauston, Vanessa (Nathan) Stowell of Hillsboro, Mark Novy of Ellsworth, Wisconsin, and Lyle Novy of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; step-grandchildren: Bret Severson of Ithaca, Wisconsin, Theodore (Nicole) Williams of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Brook (Shean) Severson of Reedsburg, Wisconsin, and Brea (Kurt) Behn of Portage, Wisconsin; great-grandchildren: Martin Stowell and Ezra White; step-great-grandchildren: Haili Kehoe, Rosalie Severson, Isabelle Severson, Aurora Severson, Kadieshia Joyner, Theodore Williams III, Brittany Hogan, Briana Williams, Mariah Hogan, Matti Severson, Boe Severson, Phynn Severson, Kaelin Behn, Braedin Behn, Lilly White and Nora White; step-great-great-grandchildren: William Shafer, Atlas Shafer, Natalia Joyner, Cecilia Briscoe and Zaydinn Joyner; brother-in-law: Dean (Elizabeth) Novy of Livermore, California; sister-in-law Karen (Ron) Greene of Edgerton, Wisconsin; nephews and nieces: Stuart (Dianne) Pacl, Lorena (David) Verboort, Penne (Henry) Rush, Randall (Song) Brown, Rachelle (Jeff) Cobb, Scott (Claire) Greene, Colin (Carrie) Greene, Kathryn (Jeff) Aloia and Lisa (Douglas) Richardson; cousins: Sharran (David) Everhart of Delafield, Wisconsin, and Carl (Mary Ellen) Hill of Leawood, Kansas. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Martin, daughter Jane, sisters-in-law Josephine Pacl, Olive Collins and Irene Brown, brothers-in-law Elgin Pacl, Edd Collins and Stanley Brown, nephew Daniell Brown, and step-grandson Brad Crouse.
A memorial service will be held when conditions permit.
The family would like to express sincere appreciation to the staff of Gundersen Lutheran Health System, Tomah Health and Serenity House for the excellent care and kindness shown to Rachel during her last illness.
The Picha Funeral Home in Hillsboro is assisting the family.