Life Story for
Cecelia Zinda Novak
Cecelia Zinda Novak, of Stow and Eastham, MA passed away peacefully at home on Thursday February 2nd, 2017 after a 22-month battle with ovarian cancer. Ce leaves behind an amazing love story, a tight knit family, loving friends and colleagues, and a heartfelt “Thank you.” She wanted her family to express her gratitude for every kindness she received in the last few months. Every card, note, flower, casserole, conversation, and visit brought happiness to the last chapter of a life lived beautifully.
Cecelia was born in Benson, MN on June 28, 1943 to Dorothy O’Malley Zinda and A. Henry “Hank” Zinda, and enjoyed a childhood with her brother, Bill, her younger sister, Char, and a pet chicken named Brownie. After graduating from St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Rochester, MN, she received BS in Nursing from Georgetown and her Master’s in Nursing from Boston College. Her nursing career spanned decades, from her first job at N.I. H. in Bethesda, MD to MGH in Boston, to Emerson Hospital in Concord, MA where she retired in 2009.
Cecelia leaves behind her husband of 42 years, Robert C. Novak. They met on a ski trip over Christmas break 47 years ago, and they had so much fun that “Zinda” or “the boss,” as he called her, couldn’t resist him. Three years after that ski trip, they were married on the Smith College campus in Northampton. They went on a month-long honeymoon to Mallorca, Spain and built their life in Stow, MA. They welcomed a son, Nathaniel Novak of Hanson, MA in 1977, and a year later, the twins: Cassie Dzerkacz of Stow, Ma and Lon Novak of Groton, MA. When the kids were little, she read them the entire Little House on the Prairie series and delighted them with her signature Coke cake and “garbage sandwiches,” which consisted of all weekly leftovers wrapped in pizza dough. As a family, they spent their weekends on Cape Cod, until Ce knew they needed a house of their own. They bought a small cape near Herring Pond in Eastham, MA, which is now the summer home base for the Novak crew, including Nat’s wife, Rachel, Cassie’s husband Frank, Lon’s wife Katie, and eight grandchildren: Tucker, Catherine, Torin, Aylin, Brecan, Francis, Boden, and James.
All of Ce’s favorite things were at the Cape: the beach chair where she sank in to read novels and Cape Cod Magazine under her blue and white umbrella; First Encounter Beach where the family took sunset walks at low tide, the kids scooping up moon snails and riding the tide on inflatable tubes; the outdoor shower, where she washed the sand and sun away before a competitive game of Scrabble, an episode of Chronicle, and a gin and tonic.
Everyone who knew her, saw a classy, gracious woman who enjoyed life, laughed freely, and loved hard. Everyone who knew her was better because of her.
Visiting hours will be held Saturday February 11th from 4-8pm at the Acton Funeral Home, 470 Massachusetts Ave (Rt 111) ACTON. Interment will be at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Cecelia’s memory to the American Diabetes Association, 2451 Crystal Dr. Suite 900, Arlington, VA 22202 or by phone at 1-800-342-2383.