Ted Novakowski
By Joyce Wolff, August 2015

Sadly, sadly, Walt and I must relay the news from Dorothy that Ted Novakowski died on July 27th in his home at Notre Dame.  We were close friends when we were pioneers on the Ranch in the late 1990s.  I have a huge lump in my throat as I write this.

Ted had not been in good health for some years and one thing complicated another.  Dorothy's note said the past two years have been especially hard for him.

A Mass of Christian Burial has been celebrated at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame.

Ted was the first elected President of the POA after Mr. Baldwin turned Ranch government over to property owners.  He had an executive administrative job with Sears and Roebuck and loved to mention his view from one of the top floors in the Sears Tower in Chicago.  The Novakowskis moved back to Notre Dame as they realized that living on the Ranch presented more problems that they chose to face.  Ted was beginning to have health problems even then.  Old-timers will remember the great party that Jim and Suzie Davis hosted when they left.

They sold their home to Bets and Jerry Withington and it has remained in good hands with them.  Although Ted and Dorothy weren't able to enjoy their lovely home for many years they never had any regrets about building and living on the Ranch.  They treasured their time there.  Dorothy walked Brandy, the white lab, for miles every day and she loved being outdoors.  Ted loved to read and cook and he was passionate about Notre Dame Football.

We met Ted and Dorothy one afternoon while we were driving around the essentially undeveloped ranch.  We met on some obscure road and chatted a bit then got in our cars with promises to get together some time.  We were parked behind them and just as Walt started up the engine he suddenly let out a loud whoop and jumped from the car.  What on earth? He had seen the Notre Dame bumper sticker on Novakowski's car.  He ran after them for a few yards before Ted realized he was being chased and stopped.  Ted too jumped out to see what was wrong.  “You're from Notre, Dame.” “Yeah.” “ I am too.” “No kidding?” Big hugs, back slapping, and smiles.  The second meeting, now between two ND alums was noticeably more animated and lengthy.  And our story with the Novakowskis began.  We spent many happy times together and I stayed in their home and walked Brandy while Walt and his son, Mike, were working on our cabin and Novakowskis were on vacation.

After they returned to ND – they really did live on campus – we visited them one football season and attended a home game.  I am neither Catholic nor a football fan but I must say that a football weekend at Notre Dame is special.  An air of pride, love, excitement and great cheer permeates the air.  The golden dome shining amidst golden trees, seen from every direction is a crowning touch to the experience.  Ted was the #1 ND football fan (Well, aside from Regis Philbin.) and it was easy for them to simply walk across campus to the stadium, with a stop along the way at the Grotto.  Ted was so proud of his alma mater.

Ted deserves our thanks for directing the POA through some early rocky times.  He was the first of the calm, collected and competent Presidents that followed to this day.  He set the bar.

Dorothy can be contacted at PO Box 839, Notre Dame, IN  46556

I wrote an article for the SFTR Website, At Home in Indiana written just after we returned from visiting them there.  You can find in under articles dated 11/8/2000.