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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Obituary - Dr. Elaine Novak

Sad news - the local theatre community has lost one of its most prominent members, a woman who affected the lives of thousands in the arts community. Here's the obituary for Dr. Elaine Novak:
ELAINE ADAMS NOVAK, 87, of Huntington, W.Va., died on Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, at the Emogene Dolin Jones Hospice House in Huntington.

Born in West Milton, Ohio, on July 3, 1922, she was the daughter of the late Dr. Edwin Booth Adams and Isabel Mast Adams, who lived and worked in Huntington.

Her education included an A.B. degree from Marshall College, an M.A. from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Other study was at the American University, Catholic University, American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and American Theatre Wing.

During World War II, she achieved the rank of lieutenant (senior grade) in the WAVES, and worked in Communications Intelligence for the U.S. Navy in Washington, D.C.

In 1956, she began a 37-year career of teaching speech and theatre, and directing plays and musicals at Marshall University, rising from instructor of speech, to professor of theatre, to director of university theatre.

She was the author of four books on acting, directing and performing on stage.

During her long and notable career, she received the 1987 West Virginia Theatre Conference's award for "Outstanding Contribution to Theatre," the 1993 "Distinguished Service Award" from Marshall University, and the 1996 "Distinguished Arts Educator Award" from MU's College of Fine Arts. Also in 1996, she was inducted onto the "Greater Huntington Wall of Fame" by the City of Huntington Foundation.

Dr. Novak taught thousands of students over the course of her career, and she is survived by them, as well as a son, Edwin Adams Novak of New York City; and a daughter and son-in-law, Deborah Novak and John Witek of Huntington.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in memory of Dr. Novak to Marshall University Theatre. Checks should be sent to the Marshall University Department of Theatre, One John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25755.

A graveside service will be held at Spring Hill Cemetery on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010, at 1 p.m. by Tim Dixon. Family guestbook at