Cover photo for Janet Mable (Sanderson) Novy's Obituary

Janet Mable (Sanderson) Novy

February 12, 1929 — April 16, 2024

Janet Mable (Sanderson) Novy

February 12, 1929 — April 16, 2024

Cypress, California


(Given at Life Celebration Service by Mark Novy, Greg Novy and Sandy Novy Chvostal)

Janet Mable (Sanderson) Novy was born in her parents Carl and Margaret Sanderson's farmhouse in Marshall, Wisconsin on February 12, 1929. She attended Lone Oak Elementary and Marshall High School, then went on to receive a Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater in 1950.

Upon graduation, Janet taught Business Education at Hillsboro High School for six years. While teaching she roomed at Anna Novy's boarding house, where she fell in love with Anna's son Virgil. According to Janet, "Virg was the kindest man I had ever met."

Janet and Virgil married on August 23, 1952. They relocated to California in 1956. In 1970, Janet took a job at Disneyland Hotel in reservations and worked there for 31 years. Upon retiring, Jan greatly enjoyed writing and researching her family history, but her greatest joy was visiting with her family and friends. She loved hostessing her annual Christmas Party, and using her Retiree's Silver Pass to let people in to visit Disneyland.

Beloved Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother, Janet "Jan" Novy, 95, passed away on April 16, 2024. She is preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Virgil Frank Novy, and her sister Jean Shirley (Sanderson) Smith

She is survived by her five children and their spouses: Kathleen (Novy) and Steve Douglas; Sandra (Novy) and Paul J. Chvostal; Mark and Polly Novy; Greg and Jodi Novy; and Thomas Novy.

She is also survived by her 12 grandchildren and their spouses: Paul and Katharine Chvostal, Christopher and Heather Douglas, Nicole and Sean Keough, Daisy and Tim Odell, Matthew and Megan Novy, Julie and Brent Newberry-Olson, William and Virginia Novy, Brandon and Katherine Novy, Danielle and Ryan Ruppert, Jacob and Allison Novy, Jesse and Brielle Novy, and Janet's youngest granddaughter Hailie Jean Novy.

Janet also leaves behind 21 great grandchildren: McKenna, Cassidy and Elise Douglas; Henry and Carson Odell; Dylan and Marek Keough; Cy Chvostal; Lana, Dean and Bodie Ruppert; and Hayden, Desiree, Elena, Mason, Kylie, Mackenzie, Jaxon, Mary Jane, Morgan and Zoey Novy.


"Mom” by Mark Novy:

Thank you for coming today.

Many of you knew her as Janet or Jan. Most of you here today knew her as Grandma Jan. But five of us only knew her as Mom. And we still call her Mom, even today.

When we were young, we always thought she was like most moms. We didn't know how lucky we were, and how great we had it. She always gave us the things we needed most. Not toys and sweets, although we got our share. But she gave us precious things, like her time, her support, and her love.

Mom even got Greg and me into the Girl Scouts...well, not really. But at least we tagged along for a few camping trips. We didn't get to do everything the girls did, but we did fish and we did learn all the campfire songs.

Mom was always able to take a small budget and feed a family of seven with elegant dishes like her famous Chili. And then there were meals like Creamed Eggs on Toast, and a delicacy called Tuna Casserole. Dishes that stretched a dollar and that I can still taste when I think about them.

Mom was always there for us, stopping what she was doing if we were hurt or sick. It was always Mom that took us to the doctor, or in some cases, the hospital. She was the one that signed us up for school, talked to our teachers and brought the rest of the brood to our games and performances, which was like herding cats. She was always counting heads to make sure no one ran off. 

Mom always had a total belief in us. She knew in her heart and often told us that we could do anything we wanted to do, or be anyone we wanted to be, no limits, and no doubt in her mind. Just true belief in us. You know, recently Daisy admitted that she had done something silly and thought, "Oh, no. I'm turning into my Dad." Well, I too often laugh at myself when I do something and think, "Oh, no. Mom always did that. I'm turning into my Mom." 

I miss her, especially when I feel sad for myself. But when I look around at my family and truly believe in them, like she believed in me, I know she will always be here and part of my life. 

So I choose to see her where she is now, with our Dad, pure love, hand in hand. 

And in that I truly believe.


"Mom” by Greg Novy:

Janet Mable Sanderson Novy went by “Jan” to most, but to me she is Mom. 

In writing this, and reflecting back, I’ve come to the conclusion that I under appreciated her during my early years of growing up. When you think about her going back to work when I was ten, having five kids ages two to sixteen, managing a household, and supporting Dad while he tried to find work, she was the backbone of the family.

Memories of Mom while I was growing up include getting ice cream and going to Disneyland Hotel to watch the Dancing Waters show. She loved that show. Her home maintenance included always having a coffee can with paint and a brush handy to paint random walls in different rooms. Our air conditioning consisted of Mom going out and hosing down the roof on hot days to cool down the house. There was a thousand other things she would do behind the scenes to make life great.

Special times with Mom included sitting around the kitchen table and playing euchre. We would always hear stories about the intense euchre games she would have with her mom, dad, and sister growing up. They were very serious euchre players. If you were their partner and you threw the wrong card, you heard about it.

I remember when the boys were young. She would come by every Saturday for coffee, usually after her weekly trip to the Cypress swap meet. I had to be careful where I sat because she would come up behind me and give me a firm, love-filled pat on the head. I attribute that to my continuous hair loss over the years.

When we moved to Colorado, she was very supportive but I know it made her sad. We would talk to her almost daily and she was always eager to “share the news.” We loved coming back for Christmas parties and to see everyone. We usually took her to IHOP where she would get a sausage omelette and black coffee. Always just black.

I loved Mom’s writing, and especially her “tidbits.” I have every one she sent me, some of them multiple copies. I never cared about the Van Cortlands, even though Mom was so proud of that heritage. It was the ones about the farm and what it was like growing up in Wisconsin that I loved.

Mom was always interested in what we were doing. And when we told her we were adopting Hailie, she was just as proud and just as happy as when we told her we were having Matthew 35 years earlier.

I know Mom didn’t have any favorites, but to me, I’ll always be her favorite. I’m her “little Greggy” as she would randomly call me.

I will miss her great sense of humor, her lively discussions on politics, but most of all, I will miss her just being there whenever we need cheering up or just someone to talk to. 

I love you, Mom. 


“Mom” by Sandy Novy:

Thank you for being here today. I know it’s beyond difficult to organize kids, work, and just life in general to carve out time to come to a funeral. But even though I know how blessed we were to have had Mom with us for so long, I am lonely for her. We are all lonely for her. So thank you for easing our pain by helping us celebrate our great memories of her. 

And we do have great memories of Mom. So many memories! I promise I won’t relate all mine right now, but here are some things about Mom that I want to share:

Mom was beautiful—

Mom never thought so, but she was beautiful. She had blue, blue eyes which were especially striking whenever she wore blue, which she rarely did. I asked her once why she didn't wear blue more often and she said it was because her mother had her wear it all the time as a kid, and people would then comment on her eyes which embarrassed her. Her favorite color to wear was actually pink, but after retiring she primarily chose her clothes for sentimental value. Her favorite top was a quilted turquoise sweatshirt her sister Jean had made for her. (You’ll see it often on the slide show.)

Mom also had a warm, welcoming smile that would immediately light up her blue eyes whenever she saw us. So Mom was forever beautiful to us.  

Mom loved Animals

Although her parents loved her dearly, Mom was lonely as a little kid on the farm. Her only sister Jean didn’t come along until Mom was five, so Mom relied on the farm animals to be her friends. She’d chase the farm cats and dogs to play with, but when she was really little, she could usually only catch her pet chicken. The chicken was lame so it couldn’t get away, and Mom just loved cuddling it on her lap. All her life Mom loved animals. Even towards the end, she’d smile when Kathy’s dog Sweetie would trail Kathy in to see her, and reach down from her bed so Sweetie could lick her hand. To Mom, animals had their own unique personalities just like people. I think we all got our love of animals from Mom.

Third, Mom loved politics—

Mom was always so pleased that she’d been born on Lincoln’s birthday. Lincoln was her favorite president, of course, but Obama was a close second. (We kids have wondered if that’s because Dad kind of looks like him in their wedding picture.) When she was older Mom had these little chalk-white busts of Lincoln, Washington, and Teddy Roosevelt (who is grinning like a beaver) displayed in her bathroom. Keeping them dusted drove me crazy, but Mom loved them.

Politics were always an integral part of Mom’s life. At age seven while trudging home from school, Mom’s little classmate Eddie Haberkorn started making fun of Roosevelt’s WPA workers fixing the road. Well, Mom lunged at Eddie and they scuffled until they rolled into the ditch.


When Queen Elizabeth died recently, Mom told me about listening to the 14 year-old queen and Winston Churchill speak on the radio during World War II. Young German soldiers (many very good-looking according to Mom) were imprisoned nearby when Mom worked in the canning factory as a teenager, and returning American soldiers—war weary and hardened—were in her classes in college. 

Mom was a democrat, but on a few occasions she voted Republican. She studied the issues and voted accordingly, but her primary criteria for the candidates on election day were integrity and kindness. (Kindness was the trait Mom valued most in people.) Voting was a duty to Mom, and she voted up to the year she died. 

Mom also loved art—

As a kid, mom loved to draw, and as a young mother she enjoyed doing “Paint by Number” pictures. She took painting lessons along with Mark, Tom and I when she was in her fifties, but Mom’s real artistic outlet was interior design. Mom loved decorating and redecorating her home, moving furniture around, repainting rooms. She was a “dyi” kind of decorator, and always had a project going. She rarely bought any new furniture; she was happier with pieces she’d inherited or found herself. She and I loved to scour swap meets and thrifts stores for “treasures” together. Dad or Mark would repair them and Mom would do the sanding, painting, or staining herself. Everything in Mom’s house had a history or a story. I think we all enjoy decorating our homes because Mom enjoyed fixing up hers so much.  


Mom loved to give—

During the last few years of her life, Mom started “gifting” a lot of the items she cared about to people she loved. She distributed her Disneyland awards, and her jewelry. Some of her favorite dishes and china pieces. Giving was always a great joy for Mom, especially at Christmas. For over thirty years, Mom hosted her Christmas Party on the Sunday before the holiday, first at her house on Diane Circle, then at at our houses, and then at the clubhouse, and for the last several years back at Kathy’s. (Thank you Kathy.) In recent years Mom and I always tried to buy Disney pins to give out. We’d pool our money and use Mom’s 40 percent discount and really had fun choosing them. When she got her covid relief check from the government a couple years ago Mom was immediately all hot and ready to go to Downtown Disney to buy pins. It was kind of a tough time financially for her and Tom and I tried to get her to skip the pins that year and buy something for herself. She gave me her sad-eyed look saying, “But I want to give something to everyone.” So we went and got pins.

Mom also loved to write—

Another thing Mom loved to give at Christmas were copies of the books she wrote, mainly after she retired from Disneyland. She wasn’t interested in writing fiction; Mom’s passion was writing about real people and events. She wrote at least 20 full books on her life, her family, ancestors, Disneyland, politics, special events and so much more and she’d give them out at Christmas or send them off to family in Wisconsin or wherever. Which was great, but Mom never remembered which book she’d given to who, so in later years she’d often repeat. It was also getting a bit cost prohibitive, and she was having a harder time sitting at the computer for long periods or seeing the screen. So Mom hit on the idea of doing “Tidbits” where she’d fold a standard sheet of paper in half like a pamphlet with a just a “bit” of information on it to hand out. Well, those tidbits kept popping up everywhere! I tried to keep a copy of each one but she kept producing new ones or changing them just a little bit each time and I couldn’t keep up. They reminded me of that Star Trek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles” where the spaceship is overrun by these seemingly innocuous furry little animals that just keep reproducing until Captain Kirk is buried in them.

But I am so glad Mom wrote as much as she did. Her stories are full of humor and caring and memories of people and a time that will never come again. She started writing her Lone Oak School for Paul, her eldest grandson, because he wanted to know what it was like when she was growing up, but she kept on writing for all her grandkids, and great grandkids and cousins and friends because she wanted to connect the new generation growing up around her with the previous generations of the past. That was her primary goal, and when I promised her recently that I would be sure to publish Lone Oak School and as many of her other books as I could she was so very happy. 

Finally, Mom was an extrovert. On steroids—. 

I was in Staples a couple years ago, and wanted Mom to have the rewards from my purchase. So when the cashier asked my name I told her “Janet Novy.” Well, the women reared back. Glaring at me she declared, “You’re not Janet Novy! I know Janet Novy!” 

“I know Janet Novy too!” the cashier next to us put in. “And you’re not Janet Novy!”

Then a couple stockers working in the aisles popped up their heads like prairie dogs. “I know Janet Novy, too!” one called out. “So do I" said the other one. Now everyone was glaring at me—even some customers who I’m pretty sure did not know Janet Novy. So I explained that I was actually Janet Novy’s daughter and wanted her to have my rewards. Everyone relaxed after that and told me how much they liked my mother; what a nice person she was, and shared their stories about her.

When Mom had to go on hospice, Kathy, Tom, and I were worried about telling her but Mom was fine with it, happy because more people would be coming to the house to visit with. Although her body kept aging, Mom had an eager curiosity and a joyful, caring spirit that remained forever young. To Mom, every person she met was a potential friend. And she never stopped making friends.

She really couldn’t help herself. Because to sum it all up Mom was a hoarder. She was a people hoarder. When Mom made a friend, she put real effort into keeping that friend. She has cards and correspondence from elementary school friends, high school and college friends, friends from her teaching days, and definitely friends from Disneyland Hotel. Cards from neighbors from wherever she’d lived—and of course, all the cards or pictures or notes her friends, parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, in-laws, her kids, grandkids or great grandkids had ever sent to her. 

Her entire life Mom enjoyed people. She valued people. And she deeply loved her family. She was always excited to see or hear from any of us. She was someone you could share your sorrows with, but even more importantly perhaps, she was someone with whom you could share your joys. Because despite her severe hearing loss, Mom was always a great listener. I found a little poem that describes her, especially for me and Tom who she couldn't wait to see every day when he got off work:

“When you need a patient listener who’ll always take your part, 

who’ll keep important secrets locked up tight within her heart, 

When you need a friend to help you out and cheer you if you’re blue, 

to understand those special things that mean the most to you, 

When you need someone to share your joys and wish you many more, 

you turn to Mom because she’s shown you  

that’s what Mom’s are for.”  

After being with her, I always hated to leave Mom. Mom hated for people to leave too. When we were growing up, Mom and Dad would walk visitors to their cars to wave goodbye. As she got older, Mom used her trusty red walker to follow visitors to the garage door of the coach, and waved goodbye from the steps. 

A few months ago, when walking was starting to get extra difficult for her, I told Mom not to walk me to the door, to just stay in bed.

“I want to walk you,” Mom said. “I want to see you as long as I can. I miss you all when you leave.”

We miss you, too, Mom. And we always will.


Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation of Janet Novy

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Starts at 4:00 pm (Pacific time)

Forest Lawn - Cypress - Hope Chapel

4471 Lincoln Ave, Cypress, CA 90630

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Funeral Service of Janet Novy

Thursday, May 9, 2024

11:30am - 12:30 pm (Pacific time)

Forest Lawn - Cypress - Patriots Chapel

4471 Lincoln Ave, Cypress, CA 90630

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