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Ruth Marie Novak
June 22, 1935 ~ August 1, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old
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On Tuesday, August 1, 2023, Ruth Marie Novak passed away at the age of 88 in Sedona, Arizona. A loving wife and mother, she was known as a gifted teacher, woman of faith, great cook and baker, and master conversationalist.
Ruth Rihanek was born June 22, 1935, in Pender, Nebraska. Married to Gene Novak on May 15, 1955, the Novaks moved to Leigh, Nebraska, where they farmed for over 60 years. She was the proud mother of LaJean and Bob. Ruth taught students in K-8 country schools for nearly 20 years. She also worked for Platte County Social Services supervising parent/child visits and managed Westbrook Apartments in Columbus from 1995-2000.
Ruth lived a life of service. Through her gift of teaching, she led many children to Christ in kids’ ministries in her local church, district camps, and other faith-based gatherings. She had an amazing ability to hold the attention of kids with creative object lessons and her powerful story-telling ability. She also served in the Women’s Auxiliary of Gideons International for 30 years and worked with Gene in MAPS RVers for 17 years, assisting with 50 building projects throughout the US. She knitted more than 1,000 baby hats for local hospitals and overseas missions. In 2013, Ruth and Gene were honored as “Laymen of the Year” by the Nebraska District of the Assemblies of God.
A devoted follower of Christ, Ruth considered her faith and family as her greatest life legacy. She led many Bible studies and passionately prayed for family and friends. Known as a generous gift giver, she loved distributing candy wherever she went. Her closing days included precious conversations about God’s faithful love and the glory of heaven, and they will be cherished by her family.
Ruth was preceded in death by her husband, Gene; her parents, James and Stella Rihanek, and 9 brothers and sisters. She is survived by her two children, LaJean (Mark) Hadenfeldt of Sedona, Arizona, and Bob (Esther) Novak of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, as well as a sister, Amy Hammack.
On Monday, August 14, 2023 a memorial service will be held at Word of Life Church, 3701 23rd Street in Columbus, Nebraska, with Visitation at 10 am and Life Celebration at 11 am. Donations in memory of Ruth can be made to Word of Life Church.