Karl W. Novak

Karl Novak of Ventura, California, passed away at the age of 60 from a glioblastoma after a brave battle with brain cancer. He went peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by family. Karl leaves behind his wife – Wendy, his children – Jennifer, Joseph, and Bianca, their spouses respectively – Cameron, Tiffany, and Alex, his grandson – Giovanni, his brothers – Jon and Mark and his 91-year-old mother, Lucile.

Karl was born in Dayton, Ohio to parents Eugene and Lucile in 1959. Eugene and Lucile both served in the U.S. Airforce as pilots. As is common in the military, his family relocated every two years. Karl and his brothers counted on each other for companionship and remain best friends today. Repeatedly being the “new kid at school” Karl learned to respect and to appreciate people’s differences. He saw the innate goodness in people and treated everyone with kindness and dignity.

Karl earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Virginia and his Doctorate in management from Walden University. Upon graduation, Karl joined the Army Corp. of Engineers and was stationed in Bemidji, Minnesota. There he helped install a pipeline that provided running water to a remote Native American Indian reservation.

Karl began working for the County of Ventura in 2003 and retired in 2019 as Deputy Director of the Watershed Protection District. Karl was a dedicated environmentalist, focused on protecting the world’s natural resources. He received international recognition for the “Raptor Program” he developed to control the rodent population that were burrowing into county dams, weakening crucial structures. By utilizing natural resources, Karl eliminated the use of rodenticides in Ventura County protecting the soil and water table from these poisons. At the time of Karl’s retirement, he had begun researching causes of the Monarch Butterfly’s dwindling population in partnership with the Xerces Society. The “Monarch Butterfly Conservation” will continue in his absence as scientists work to reinforce the butterfly’s food supply along their annual migration route. The world is truly a better place because of Karl’s body of work.

Karl had a positive attitude and lived every day to the fullest. He filled his life with family, friends, work, sports and numerous hobbies. At 6 feet 6 inches, Karl’s favorite sports were basketball, volleyball, golf, and horseback riding. Although Karl was a fierce competitor, he played fair and always had fun. He was a humble winner and a gracious loser. A few of Karl’s hobbies included listening to music, playing the guitar and harmonica, reading science fiction and historical novels, playing video games and Warhammer, Toastmasters, fishing, boogie boarding, traveling, and most of all ballroom dancing.

A Celebration of Life will be held in Karl’s honor on Saturday, June 27th from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Poinsettia Pavilion, 3451 Foothill Rd, Ventura, CA 93003. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in Karl’s memory to the Xerces Society Monarch Butterfly Conservation at P.O. Box 97387 Washington, DC 20090-7387. The city of Ventura requires guests to wear face masks and to have seating arranged with social distancing during the celebration.



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