WASHINGTON, IL – Lester Charles Novy died peacefully on Sunday, February 28, 2021, at the home of his daughter in Olympia, WA.
He was born on November 4, 1921, in Greenwood Township, Vernon County, WI, to Emma (Pliner) Novy and Edward Novy, dairy farmers of Czech heritage. He was the second of four children. He graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1939. After high school, Lester worked at the local granary to save enough money to enroll in college.
In 1942, Lester enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He served as a C-47 pilot with the 55th Troop Carrier Squadron stationed in Papua New Guinea. He achieved the rank of 1st Lieutenant.
Lester met his future wife, Dayis Frankie, at an army base in Greenville, SC, on a blind date arranged by Dayis’ brother. They were married September 23, 1947. After Lester completed his accounting degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1948, he and Dayis moved to Peoria, IL. Here, Lester began a thirty-eight-year career at Caterpillar Tractor Company.
He is survived by his five children, David and Billie (Persohn) Novy of St. Paul, MN, Lisa and John (Schwarzlose) of Indian Wells, CA, Michele and Scott (Harriage) of Olympia, WA, Gerard and Barbara (Desbecker) of Geneva, IL and Stephanie and Rich (Mattox) of Friday Harbor, WA; 13 grandchildren; and 5 great-grandchildren; and his sister, Mary Schnurr of Hillsboro, WI.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Dayis; brother, Raymond; and sister, Ramona Raab.
Lester and Dayis joined St. Patrick Church in 1949 when they moved to Washington, IL. For many years, Lester managed the financial books of the church and sang in the Knights of Columbus choir. He volunteered as the Committee Chair or Scoutmaster of BSA Troop 168 for over fifteen years. He joined the Knights of Columbus in 1997 and achieved the rank of fourth degree.
Lester was a kind, honest, intelligent, and unassuming person, who always gave his best. We were so fortunate to be able to call this caring, loving man “Dad.”
Deiters Funeral Home and Crematory in Washington is assisting the family with local details, and Lester’s memorial website is available at www.deitersfuneralhome.com, where condolences may also be sent to his family.