Donna Jean Novak

December 8, 1948 - March 29, 2022

Donna Jean Novak


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Donna Jean Novak, 73, of Fontana, WI passed away March 29, 2022, peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family after a brave and brief battle with cancer. Donna is survived by her devoted husband of 53 years, James L. Novak. She was forever grateful for and proud of her beautiful daughters, Michelle Flood (Bill) and Jill Novak, and relished her role as doting “Nana” to grandchildren Jack, Alec and Kate. Donna is also survived by her brothers Mike Schwebke (Jean), Scott Schwebke (Debbie) and Ken Schwebke.

Born on December 8th, 1948, in Belvidere, IL to Ronald and Jean Schwebke, Donna was the much-loved older sister to her three younger brothers. She attended Belvidere High School, where she established cherished, lifelong friendships that remain to this day. She went on to attend Concordia University, where she met her loving husband, Jim. Shortly after graduation, Donna and Jim moved to New Berlin, WI, where their two daughters were born. Two years later, they moved to Youngstown, OH – and eventually settled in Dublin, OH, building a wonderful family life in the local community. After raising their children, Donna embarked on her career with Dublin Coffman High School. She was very proud of her 21 years of service to the school and deeply treasured the friendships she cultivated there. After Donna retired in 2014, she and Jim spent the winters in Naples, FL. They took great pleasure in hosting friends and family at their home, enjoying sunny days at the beach and boat cruises on the Naples Bay. After 40 years in Dublin, Donna and Jim decided to relocate and spend summers in Fontana, WI, where they would be closer to their children, extended family and friends. No matter what the season, they never missed the chance to go back to Wisconsin to see family and friends – or to attend their grandchildren’s baseball games, soccer games and other special occasions.

Donna was the ultimate hostess, always welcoming people onto the porch for a chat or inviting friends and family over for dinner. She brought beauty to everything around her, from decorating her home and caring for her garden to enhancing the communities where they lived. Above all, Donna loved being a mom to her two daughters and grandmother to her three grandchildren. She loved her family with all her heart. With her bright, upbeat personality and cheerful willingness to lend a hand, Donna was always a joy to be around. Her warm, friendly smile made everyone feel welcome. She brought so much happiness to her family and friends, who will always be thankful to have been graced with her as wife, mother, sister, grandmother and friend. Donna truly made this world a better, kinder place – and she will live on forever in our hearts.   

Donna’s Visitation will be held at Anderson Funeral Home, 218 W Hurlbut Ave, Belvidere, IL 61008 on May 6 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Her memorial service will be held immediately afterward at 7 pm for all those who wish to attend. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation in Donna’s honor to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital ( or the American Lung Association ( To share a memory, please visit

Service Schedule

Friday, May 6, 2022
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services

218 West Hurlbut Ave
Belvidere, IL 61008


Donna’s Visitation will be held at Anderson Funeral Home, 218 W Hurlbut Ave, Belvidere, IL 61008 on May 6 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.


Friday, May 6, 2022
7:00 pm

Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services

218 West Hurlbut Ave
Belvidere, IL 61008


Donna’s memorial service will be held immediately afterward at 7 pm for all those who wish to attend.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation in Donna’s honor to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital ( or the American Lung Association (  To Share a memory please visit


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We are heartbroken that we won’t see or hear from our dear friend Donna again. She always had a smile and time for a chat. Donna opened her home and herheart to us and to her “boyfriend “ Fritz our miniature schnauzer. Fritz loved her too. Dear Donna we will miss you always and keep you in our memories.

Doug and Mary Ann Smith 2022-05-06T09:55:29

Our condolences to Jim and family. Our hearts are sadden by the loss of our sweet friend Donna.However she will be remembered as “Daisy Duke” to us.She will remain in my heart forever. Rip

John and Kay Coder 2022-05-05T19:43:46

We would like to extend our condolences to Jim and family for their loss of Donna. We were so fortunate to have met Donna and Jim when we walked the paths in Muirfield Village. We always admired their beautiful landscaping and the lovely screened porch with wicker. We enjoyed getting to know them in retirement and spending time with them in Dublin and Naples. Donna was such a classy lady and wonderful hostess with a great sense of style. It was truly a blessing to have known Donna. Wishing you peace, comfort, courage, and lots of love at this time of sorrow.

George and Suzanne Apostolos 2022-05-02T20:13:15

Sending loving thoughts to Jim and his family. Memories live forever and after 54 years, you must have many such memories. Our donation to St Jude will be in Donna’s honor. Love and blessings to you all.
Heather & Charlie
Bridgewater Bay

Heather & Charlie Carrington 2022-05-01T11:35:06

Sincere sympathy and condolences to Donna’s entire family. I worked closely with Donna as an administrator at Dublin Coffman High School and am so sad to hear of her passing. Even in the most hectic days, Donna brought a warm smile and a caring heart to every situation. I enjoyed working with her so much and her love and pride in her family shone in her eyes. I feel blessed to have known Donna.

Cathy Sankey 2022-05-01T07:45:21

Our relationship with Donna and the Novak family began when Michelle and Jill were in Elementary School in Dublin. It was a joy teaching the girls and developing a relationship with the entire Novak family. As the years passed, our paths crossed many times in the Dublin Schools. Donna was always so warm and sincere as we would catch up on family happenings and just life in general. What a precious soul. We are so sorry to hear this news, but recognize Donna lives on… through her family and all the positive memories she made with anyone who knew her. It is a true gift that we had the opportunity to know Donna Novak.

John and Denise Orr 2022-04-24T07:22:09

Even though we didn’t know Donna all that long, it felt like we were old friends right from the start. We had so much in common, but it took us until we both moved to Bridgewater Bay to finally meet. She quickly became a dear friend as we navigated through the painting and lighting committees together. We put in a lot of work, but had some great time doing it. She was passionate, positive and uplifting to everyone. She never knew a stranger! At the same time, she was one of the strongest and bravest women I know. Donna dug in and got things done. She always had a dauntless passion for working to make our community more beautiful. She, herself, was beautiful both inside and out. We will miss her with all our hearts. Our deepest sympathies to you, Jim, and to your two wonderful daughters. May your memories keep Donna alive in your hearts forever.

Don & Jane Frendberg 2022-04-08T08:23:26

Jim and I are saddened to hear of Donna’s passing. We share in your sorrow. Wishing you comfort and peace during this difficult time. I will miss sharing porch swings with Donna and her wonderful chocolate chip cookies she baked for her friends. She was an amazing lady who will be missed!

Jim and Linda Link 2022-04-07T06:03:52

I am very sorry for your loss, I too retired from Coffman in 2014, just after Donna. I remember her at the desk outside the Principal’s office and she was always cheerful and helpful to the teachers. I will keep all of you in my prayers

Tim Rathburn 2022-04-06T07:52:18

Thinking of Jim and the family and sending our love, prayers and deepest heartfelt sympathies. We had the pleasure of meeting Donna in college and she has been a dear and wonderful friend ever since and will be forever in our hearts.

David Oldenburg 2022-04-05T09:50:42

I have nothing but wonderful memories of working with Donna. As a young educator at Dublin Coffman High School, Donna was like another mother to me. She was always looking out for myself and others. I am grateful for the time we spent together, and the Ulring’s offer our condolences and peace to the family. God Bless.

Mike Ulring 2022-04-05T07:31:47

I fondly remember many Sunday afternoons when our families would get together for meals and visits. So much fun with our group of cousins. My sympathy to Donna’s family and friends. She was a beautiful person inside and out.

Gwen Cunningham Fay 2022-04-04T22:26:56

Working with Donna in the office at Coffman High School was a true joy! May the memories you all have bring you peace. A donation to St. Jude’s children’s hospital will be made in her name from her Coffman Family.

Michelle McGovern 2022-04-04T16:29:51

I will miss our many chats over the last 20 years…we laughed a lot. I will never forget our hours together assembling those new student packets every year. We laughed so much. Then when we were both ready to retire, we spent every lunch hour going over medicare benefit packages. I would say that turned out pretty good and we both have enjoyed our retirement to the fullest. Unfortunately, our last in person visit was stolen from us by COVID. Rest in peace my dear friend until we meet again.

Sue Musacchio 2022-04-04T12:38:31

I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Donna lit up the office at Dublin Coffman with her bright smile and lovely personality. She always asked me about my family and beamed with joy showing me pics of her family and sharing fun stories. Heaven gained a beautiful angel who will be missed deeply by all.

Mary Wiseman 2022-04-04T12:25:31

I loved seeing Donna in the office at Coffman. She was a kind person who always asked how my day was while at the same time having a pretty good wit to tease me. She absolutely beamed when she would share stories about her own family.

Tyler Gantz 2022-04-04T12:14:55

I remember seeing here every day when I went to the office. She was always so cheerful and welcoming, always with a kind word to say about everyone. I am so sorry to hear about the world’s loss today. She was such a shining light. My thoughts are with her family and friends.

Kristina Zakrzewski 2022-04-04T11:38:57

Donna’s smile, which she shared always, lit up the office. So glad I had the chance to know her at Coffman – what a kind, generous person! Sending her family my sincere condolences.

Justin Fitch 2022-04-04T11:32:55

I am so sorry to hear about Donna’s passing. I was fortunate enough to work with her at Dublin schools. She was a very kind person, always cheerful and helpful. I am sure she is now in a better place, but she will be always be missed. May God repose her soul and gives comfort and peace to her wonderful family. John Makary

John Makary 2022-04-04T11:00:44

Heartfelt sympathy to all of you. Donna was treasured at Dublin Coffman High School. Always kind, loving and sweet to both students and staff. I remember the good times we shared. Sending love & comfort. XOXOXOXO

Melanie Hitsman 2022-04-04T10:58:55

We were so sorry to hear about Donna’s passing. She was always such a bright, loving presence. May you find joy in the memories you shared. Sending hugs. xoxo

Vicki Retelny 2022-04-04T09:43:14

Jim and girls,
I am so sorry to hear this.
I thought so much of Donna.
The last time I saw her was at Panera about 2 years ago.
My heart goes out to all of you.
I know the loss all too well.
Patti Auchter

Patti AuchterJ 2022-04-03T19:52:02

Jim. May GOD’s peace comfort you and your family during this difficult time

David & Debra Copen 2022-04-03T10:56:33

We are so sorry for your loss. Please extend our deepest condolences to your beautiful family.

Lisa Julin 2022-04-02T16:48:36

I will always love reflecting back on how close our families were while growing up. Especially the family reunions and the summers on Pokegama Lake. And the year I attended Rock Valley College and lived with Aunt Verna and Uncle Ron using Donna’s beautifully decorated room. I only wish we could have spent more time together ❤.
Donna, You are now safely in God’s hands and free from any pain, blessings cuz 🙏, Love, Jeanne

Jeanne and Ron Rasmussen 2022-04-02T09:20:04

My deepest sympathies to the Novak family. May Donna’s light and love live on forever in your hearts and memories.

Kelsey Tymos 2022-04-01T20:29:12

Sending love and prayers of peace and comfort to the Novak family.

Megan Bowen 2022-04-01T18:28:47

The Orendorf -Stafford family extends our deepest sympathies to Jill, her sister, father, niece and nephews and all extended family. Donna’s kind and loving spirit is easy to recognize in this beautiful photo and obituary.

Gretchen Orendorf 2022-04-01T17:50:14

So sorry to hear of Donna’s passing. I grew up around the corner from The Schwebke’s. Our thoughts and prayers to all.

Marilyn Dovenmuehle Rhode 2022-04-01T14:41:32

It is with a very sad heart that we had to say goodbye to Donna. Nancy, Kathy, Donna, and me were tied together as kindred spirits. Our love for each other started in high school and continues to this day … we will always be BBFF (Belvidere Best Friends Forever).

Melinda Luhman Saracini 2022-04-01T10:33:30


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