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Gayle Novak

February 22, 1958 October 13, 2019
Gayle Novak
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Obituary for Gayle Novak

Gayle English Novak, Ms. Senior America 2018 of Englewood, Colorado.

Gayle was born in San Antonio, Texas and was adopted by Royal and Frances English when she was two days old. The family relocated to Denver when she was five. Gayle graduated from Bear Creek High School, and attended Red Rocks Community College for two years.

She had a special flair for excellence in the hospitality industry and attributed her success to teamwork. She met well-known restaurateur Ed Novak in 1996 at the Aurora Summit where he often dined with his friend who owned the restaurant where Gayle was a hostess. They married on May 25, 2001 at Wellshire Presbyterian Church. Many years later and after many restaurants they operated together, Gayle was so proud to have secured the loan herself in a primarily male-dominated industry and become full owner of the Summit Steakhouse.

The philanthropist and fundraiser also took her role seriously as a volunteer and helped bring in millions for local and national charities. Her special love for humanity and the arts led to being elected president of the Denver Center Alliance (DCA). Under her leadership, the fundraising arm of Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) flourished and she was asked to be president a second year. Gayle was also the recipient of the DCA’s prestigious Volunteer of the Year award. She also chaired the organization’s signature gala Saturday Night Alive bringing in Frankie Valli.

She enthusiastically chaired the Volunteers of America (VOA) Western Fantasy, Rocky Mountain MS Center Gala and Cancer League of Colorado’s Hope Ball. She had creative plans already underway to chair the annual gala for Bessie’s Hope 2020. She was co-emcee and entertained at this year’s event. She was a member of the Colorado and National Restaurant Associations. For ten years she was lead singer and choreographer for the Skyline Chapter of Sweet Adelines.

In addition, Gayle was mom to six and grandmother to 13. Although she was an accomplished community leader and entrepreneur, when she turned 60, she wanted a new challenge. After all, the family’s restaurant, Zane’s Italian Bistro in the Denver Tech Center, was being run by her son, Zane. When she met Rene Green (the Ms. Colorado Senior America Pageant Administrator), a new opportunity unfolded and she found her place in a new arena – competing for the title of Ms. Colorado Senior. The minimum age to enter the pageant was 60 – beginning the “Age of Elegance” in this pageant world. Since she had no sisters, she was thrilled with all the pageant stood for and developed close relationships with fellow contestants and the Cameo Club comprised of all former contestants who voluntarily entertained throughout metro Denver. She had been a friend of Tony David (Tony David & WildFire) since the 90s. “Gayle had a love for the stage and music and that’s where her star would shine the brightest,” he said. They talked about what and how she should perform and Tony literally gave her his stage for practice. Knowing that one of the pageant’s heaviest weighted categories was the interview segment, Gayle said right away she would not be nervous. Those who knew her agreed. She was the complete package and her inner circle felt certain she would win the state title. She did. Her confidence grew and the inner circle again felt she would capture the national title. She did. With a beaming husband supporting her every step of the way and a mom back home who always believed in her. Rene Green has this to say about her: “Gayle was pure sunshine. She carried the crown with enthusiasm, energy, and joy. She showed many people that being a senior was not growing old and sitting around. She attended many nursing homes, church groups, pageants and business groups spreading the message. Gayle truly loved out loud. She packed more in 61 years than most people do in a lifetime. I will miss her energy and that radiant smile that changed everyone’s day.”

“My philosophy of life is like a melody. There are high notes and low notes. Yet I have learned to persevere until the end of the song. I am thankful for the music, the tunes of knowledge and wisdom. The joys and the challenges that have sung out to me throughout life. And, I look forward to the rhapsodies yet to come.” This was Gayle’s philosophy that was part of the competition for the Ms. Colorado Senior pageant that she won in 2018. That inspirational message along with her poise, beauty and belting out “Money, Money, Money” from Mama Mia wearing her overalls, a tool belt and pushing a crate helped her win the national title just a few months later in October of 2018. With her husband and best friend Ed by her side, she had crowned 17 state queens across the nation and made countless appearances – always with a smile that lit up the room. Her bags were packed, her sparkling custom gown had been created by friend Judy Huff who had competed with Gayle for the state title, and she would have crowned her successor in Atlantic City, New Jersey the week of October 21.

She was preceded in death by her father, Royal English in 2017. She is survived by her mother Frances English of Englewood, her brother Gene English of Englewood and his daughter Angela of Colorado Springs, her devoted husband Ed Novak, her son Zane Anderson of Aurora, her daughter Danielle (Grant) Hicks of Centennial and their children Keely, Nolan and Briar. Also, Ed’s son Todd (Lori) Novak of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and their children Joshua and Rachel; Ed’s daughter Julie (Steve) Curtin of Aurora and their children Coleton, Cooper, Kennedy and Carter; Ed’s daughter Tanya (Michael) Hsu of Vancouver, Canada and their children Mia, Isaac and Calvin and Ed’s son Kier (Paige) Boyea of Canyon Creek, Montana and their son Christian.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to Colorado Restaurant Association Educational Fund, Bessie's Hope or Cancer League of Colorado in Gayle's memory. Please visit the MEMORIAL CONTRIBUTIONS section below for full addresses. Thank you.


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Previous Events

Celebration of Life

Wednesday

30

Oct

1:00 PM 10/30/2019 1:00:00 PM
South Suburban Christian Church

7275 South Broadway
Littleton, CO 80122

Complimentary valet parking is available. Reception to follow services in the Fellowship Center. Services will conclude at the church.

South Suburban Christian Church
7275 South Broadway Littleton 80122 CO
United States

Memorial Contribution

Cancer League of Colorado

P.O. Box 5373
Englewood, Colorado 80155-5373
In Gayle's memory.

Bessie's Hope

P.O. Box 12675
Denver, Colorado 80212
In Gayle's memory.

Colorado Restaurant Association Education Fund

Attention: Mary Mino
430 E. 7th Avenue
Denver, Colorado 80203
In Gayle's memory.
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