Jerry Novak was born on a farm near West Bend, Saskatchewan, one of a family of nine. His father passed away in 1934 while he was quite young. His education started at Coloraine School then to St. Mary’s Seminary in Yorkton and on to St. Vladimir’s College in Roblin, Manitoba to complete High School and almost become a Priest. After a short stay in the Navy, and in farming, he joined Saskatchewan Co-operative Creamery at Melville in 1947. He washed cream cans, bought poultry from a truck as he traveled from Spy Hill to the Nokomis area, graded cream, made butter and became foreman of the creamery at Esterhazy. While busy at this he also married Emily Novakowski and started a family which would consist of two daughters and a son. The Creamery paid his expenses to go to University for three months but no salary. When he finished he became manager of a new hatchery at Melville and supervised establishment of three more at North Battleford, Esterhazy and Preeceville. In 1956 he went to manage the Saskatchewan Approved Flock Co-operative Hatchery at Moose Jaw. There were five hatcheries and chick agents in business there. They annually shipped a quarter million chicks by rail. As rail became less of a factor Jerry moved to Quaker Oats and became one of their top feed salesmen.
In 1964 he was given the opportunity to buy Kelliher Creamery. Within four months he had the hatchery turning out broiler type chicks. The place was modernized and enlarged as more business was added and capacity increased from 5,000 to 100,000 chicks per week. It and Jerry became part of Crawford Foods at Wynyard and the leading broiler chicken hatchery in the province. He was a Director of Crawford Foods and then Plains Poultry and, with his partners, had a hatching egg production unit.
In 1983, because of his leadership, he was hired as the Manager of the Saskatchewan Chicken Marketing Board. He was very active both provincially and nationally. He served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Broiler Council and was active in co-ordinating the chicken industry input to the 1990 National Poultry Task Force. For two years, he also guided the formation of the Saskatchewan Broiler Hatching Egg Producers Marketing Board. Jerry retired from the Chicken Board in 1992.
Not one to let others do his share of work, he became a leader in many areas. He has been a Director and has chaired both the Saskatchewan and Canadian Hatchery organizations. More than once he chaired the Saskatchewan Poultry Council and has been a long time director. He has also served as a director of the Saskatchewan Dairy Association and the Canadian Western Agribition. Promotion of the Industry and poultry products has long been his passion.
He served his community well. He was Councilman and Mayor of Kelliher as well as being active on the Board of Trade and as a hockey coach. He has been deeply involved, yes, devoted to making this a better place. We commend him and all like him, who make a difference.