Skip to content

Joseph C. Novacek JR , 85

Joseph C. Novacek JR , “Honey Joe” was born in Polonia Twp, Roseau County to the late Joseph SR and Josephine (Gonshorowski) Novacek on October 8, 1930.   He was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith at St. Aloysius at Leo and attended Polonia district 58 school up to the 8th grade. Following school he worked for Lionel Hopkins bee operation starting in 1948 until he enlisted in the Army in 1950 where he was stationed in Korea in the 25th Division as a communications specialist until his discharge in 1953.  He then went back to work for Lionel Hopkins and started purchasing his own bees from Lionel and working alongside him.   He was united in marriage to Darlene McDonald on November 16, 1955 at St. Aloysius and the two made their home in Greenbush and they would spend the winter months in Louisiana winterizing their bees.  Honey Joe also worked for Herb Reese Construction for one year.  In 1975 he and Darlene built their home and moved onto their farm in Barto Township where they raised their family, farmed and operated their honey bee business. In 1990, Joe stopped migrating his bees to Natchez, Mississippi, and began hauling bees and queens from Willows, California. He has remained active and passionate in the business for 63 years.  Joe passed away on Thursday, August 11, 2016 at his home, at the age of 85 years.
He was a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Greenbush, the Greenbush American Legion Post # 88, the Knights of Columbus and Sue Bee Honey Corporation, as well as a past member of St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Leo.  Honey Joe loved to hunt, fish, take long drives to look at his fields and his kids are proud of the fact that he taught them all to hunt and drive.
He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Darlene, 2 sons: Joseph (Jeanne) Novacek III and Ronald (Lynette Renaud) Novacek of Greenbush; 2 daughters: Sherri (Kevin) Waage of Greenbush and Mary Jo (Jayson) Ottesen of Thief River Falls. Grand children: Emily (Dave) Lauinger, Annie (John) Prestegord, Allison (Mike) Fillmore, Ashton Waage, Rachael (James) Foley, Courtney Novacek, Faith Novacek; Dillian, Mavrick, McKenzie and Llayson Ottesen; Great grandchildren: Addison, Abigail, Jacob and Jozie Prestegord, Sadie Foley, baby Waage: 1 sister Emilia Novacek, along with many nieces, nephews and other relatives.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents, siblings: Theresa Heddan, Ernest Novacek, Norbert Novacek, Christine Goroski, Leona Nelson, David Novacek, Daniel Novacek, Jerome Novacek, and Bernadette Novacek (in infancy).
Mass of Christian Burial was held at 10:30AM,  Monday, August 15, 2016 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Greenbush with Fa. Luis Buitron presiding.  Special music was provide by Emily Launiger, Deb Bellefeuille, Rachael Foley and Bobbi Ludewig being accompanied by Jeanne Novacek.  Courtney and Faith Novacek were the Readers and James and Racheal Foley were the Eucharistic Ministers.  Alter Servers were Addison Prestegord and John Wilebski III and All of Joe’s grandchildren acted as Gift Bearers.  Joe’s Casket Bearers were all of his Grandchildren: Emily Novacek Lauinger, Annie Novacek Prestegord, Allison Waage Fillmore, Ashton Waage, Courtney Novacek, Faith Novacek, Llayson Ottesen, Rachael Weets Foley, Dillian Ottesen, Maverick Ottesen and Mckenzie Ottesen.  Joe’s family asked all of his many friends to act as Honoray Bearers. 
Visitation was held at the church on Sunday evening with a Prayer Service at 7:00PM, and the Holy Rosary led by the Knights of Columbus.  Visitation was also held one hour prior to services at the church.
Interment services were held at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Cemetery of Greenbush following services.
Arrangements are with Collins Funeral Home of Greenbush.
An on-line guest book is available at

Leave a Comment