Peter John Novotny, age 85, a man of strong Christian belief, died unexpectedly following complications from a fall he took while clearing brush on his beloved Ledgewood property in southern Brown County. His death occurred on Sunday, December 31, 2023, at his home in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he lived for 65 years.
Peter was born on February 8, 1938, in the town of Stratford, Wisconsin to his parents, John and Leone (Leick) Novotny. At the age of 2, the family moved to Green Bay, where Peter attended SS. Peter & Paul Grade School. He astounded the nuns with his reading and math ability he learned from his parents in his pre-school days and was appointed Class President because of his great parliamentary skills. His priest, Monsignor Skell, said he was the best Latin speaking altar boy he had ever encountered, but once in a while he had to remind Peter not to ring the bells too loud and for too along a time. Peter graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1956, placing in the top 10 of his class. He then went on to graduate from St. Norbert College with a Degree in Business Administration in 1960. During the height of the Cold War, Peter signed up with the Army Reserve Officer Training Corp and received the rank of 2nd Lieutenant upon Graduation from college. He proudly served his country for two years. During the Berlin Wall Crisis in 1961, Peter, now a 1st Lieutenant, was sent to Germany and commanded a truck company which passed through the Russian sector of Germany into the city of Berlin on a routine basis. He always said his limited time in the military was the most impressionable time of his life. Peter served his country well.
Returning home as a civilian, Peter took a sales position with Swift and Company and sold Pro-10 meat to stores and supper clubs throughout his territory west and north of Green Bay. He aways said he sold his products on the basis of quality, not price. When Swift closed its plants, Peter took a job with the USPS and loved it. He was a mail sorter and knew the zip code of every street in the Green Bay postal district. Living with his elderly parents and his disabled sister, Donna, Peter was the “go to” guy for trips to the store and medical appointments. With the passing of his dear mother and sister, he then took on the most important job of his life. He retired from the USPS at the age of 50 and became the fulltime caretaker of his father until his dad passed away in 2000. He was chauffeur, caregiver, housekeeper, nurse, and a loving son to his father for all those years of his life. He always said he loved every minute of it. That is the kind of guy Peter was.
Peter was a tree farmer. On property inherited from his father in Brown and Wood counties, Peter harvested trees for lumber and for pulp to make paper, and then replanted the land with his favorite white and red pine seedlings. These trees now stand tall in his honor. Peter was a family man. He was a great son to his parents, a great brother to his siblings, and a great uncle to his nieces and nephews and their children. Family was what life was all about. Peter was a devoted Catholic. He tried to attend Mass as often as he could at both his current parish, St. Bernard, and his childhood parish, SS. Peter & Paul. His humility was legendary. Peter never said a bad word about anyone, and when he was mistreated by someone, he blamed it on their “human condition”. His ability not to complain about pain by offering it up to his Lord, showed his real faith in God. Later in life, he loved to meet with friends after Mass at the local McDonalds for senior coffee and lots of conversation. He was quite a historian and could tell stories about the past with much detail and color. Peter loved being with people.
Peter is survived by his sister, Joyce Fasanella, and her husband, John, of Middleton, WI, and his brother Paul Novotny and his wife, Lee Ann, of Green Bay, WI; nieces, Laura Fasanella, of Madison, WI, and JoAnn (Jim) Buytendorp of Cottage Grove, MN; nephews, Mark Fasanella, Oakland, CA, Eric (Tina) Novotny, and Jason (Karen) Novotny of Green Bay; grandniece, Jessica Buytendorp, Woodbury, MN; and grandnephews, Justin Novotny, Green Bay, James Buytendorp, Chicago, Joseph Buytendorp, Minneapolis, and Benjamin Novotny, Green Bay.
Family was so important to Peter as he did not have children of his own. He always remembered family birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays with very special presents. He was that kind of guy.
Peter was preceded in death by his parents, his older sister Donna Novotny, his niece, Sharon Novotny, and so many wonderful uncles, aunts, and cousins.
Friends may call at St. Bernard Catholic Church, 2040 Hillside Drive, on Friday, January 5th, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. The Mass of Chistian Burial will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the church with the Rev. Adam Bradley officiating. Entombment to follow Mass in Allouez Chapel Mausoleum. On-line condolences may be given at www.prokowall.com.
In lieu of flowers, Peter had two loves, supporting the poor and hungry of Green Bay, and Catholic education. His wishes were for you to support his parish “St. Vincent de Paul” conference and/or Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) with a financial gift in his honor.