Gregory Novak

Gregory Novak

SAVOY – Greg Novak, 61, died Wednesday (March 7, 2012) at Carle Foundation Hospital.

Greg was born Sept. 4, 1950, in Chicago, the son of George and Sylvia (Stepnowski) Novak. He is survived by his father of Savoy and siblings Cindie (Bob) Teeling of Arden Hills, Minn., Cathie Stevanovich of Tinley Park, Jon (Vanessa) Novak of Gilberts, Peg (Tony) Luetkehans of Waterloo, Iowa, as well as many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

Greg married Donna Oakes Gerbino on July 19, 1997. He not only married Donna, but became a father to her daughter, Elizabeth Lindsey. He gave Liz away at her wedding in 2001 to Bill Vavrik. Bill and Liz have four children, Margaret Jane, Sophia Ann, Robert Gregory and Abigail Elizabeth. His grandchildren were the light of his life. Whether he was playing hide and seek with them, setting up the water park or battling them with foam swords, his love for them was endless.

Greg worked as a librarian at Edison and Jefferson middle schools for 31 years. He also served as the librarian for the Champaign Office of Education. During his tenure in Champaign, he was an active member of the Champaign Teachers Federation, serving as a building steward, member of the collective bargaining unit, vice president and president. Upon his retirement, Greg was elected to the Champaign Board of Education. He was currently serving his second term. He worked tirelessly to improve the education of all children in Unit 4 schools. He was especially proud of the improvements made to the elementary schools and the construction of a new elementary school in Savoy. He was quick to offer his ".02" (his two cents) on issues facing the board.

In addition to his family and to his educational pursuits, Greg was a voracious reader and avid war gamer. He was considered an authority on the Spanish American War and the Civil War. He wrote books about historical events as well as rules for miniature war games. His contribution to the hobby was great and he will be sorely missed by miniature war gamers around the world.

To all pursuits, Greg gave great passion. He dedicated his life to his family, his occupation and his hobby. Though too short, his was a life well-lived.

Contributions may be made in Greg's memory to the family. The Greg Novak Memorial Fund has been established at Busey Bank. More information is available at the website