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NOVOKOWSKY, Dr. Bernard “Bernie” Ph.D.

March 16, 1952 – February 28, 2012

A five year survivor of a tonsil cancer ordeal led to Bernie saying “I am on my bonus ball.” Bernie died at Foothills Medical Centre on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 from ARDS — Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.

Bernie will be missed as a husband, brother, uncle, friend, educator, learner, challenger, consultant, author, volunteer, and confidante for hundreds of people. One never left Bernie without a new way of approaching issues. Bernie will be long remembered for his innovative Higher Order Thinking (HOT) executive education sessions.

Bernie will be missed by the heartbroken love of his life, his wife MaryJane (MJ). Predeceased by his mother Marie, his father Alfred, and brother Allan, Bernie will also be sadly missed by his siblings, Terri (Gary Chappell), Joan (Allan Folkersen), Ray (Brenda), Barb (Norb Dumanski), Bernadette, Mark (Cathy), and Gary (Kelley); and numerous nieces and nephews. Bernie will also be sadly missed by his wife’s McCullough family, Graham (Eileen), Craig (Bert) and Cam (Marnie) and their children. He was predeceased by “Auntie Margaret” — they loved each other to bits. A special thanks to medical student-niece Sandi Dumanski.

Growing up in Saskatoon, after high school Bernie joined the Canadian military as a Private. Over twenty years — much of it in his beloved German countryside — he rose to rank of Major, retiring in 1985.

Studying part-time over twenty-five years while working full-time, and co-author of two books, Bernie was the ultimate “self starter” and “life-long learner.” In the 1990s, Bernie gained a Master of Arts in Organization Development and a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems. His academic education complemented Bernie’s military leadership skills; and his practical corporate education was honed at the City of Calgary, Canterra and Husky.

Starting his own international consulting business in 1995, Bernie presented at numerous conferences, focusing on helping organizations survive and thrive in today’s business environment.

While proud of the honours and awards he attained, Bernie was always more concerned about what he could do to help others. He embodied and sought to role model the personal growth and change he asked of others.

In Parkdale Community, Bernie’s intervention and dedication enabled the Community Association to become the thriving place it is today. While Bernie and MJ did not have biological children, this Parkdale family were his children, whom he mentored, taught, scolded, commended and loved.

A Celebration of Bernie’s Life will be held on the day he would have turned 60: Friday, March 16, 2012 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., at Parkdale Community Association (3512 – 5th Avenue N.W., 403-283-5767). Condolences may be forwarded through In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be directed to the Dr. Bernie Novokowsky Legacy Fund by cheque or on-line at The Calgary Foundation, Suite 700, 999- 8th Street S.W., Calgary, AB T2R 1J5,

In living memory of Bernard Novokowsky, a tree will be planted at Big Hill Springs Park Cochrane by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 CENTRE STREET NORTH Telephone: (403) 276-2296.

Offer Condolence for the family of NOVOKOWSKY, Dr. Bernard “Bernie” Ph.D.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Erin Fingler :


    I’m so sorry for your loss. I never had the pleasure to meet Bernie, but you always lit up when you spoke of him. Please know that you are in my thoughts.

    My Deepest Sympathy

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  2. Kathleen Foster & Patrick Plumridge :

    MJ – Bernie was the love of your life and such a wonderful, accomplished man. We so wish we had had the opportunity to meet him yet so many times we almost met him but fate always intervened. Our thoughts are with you. Love from Kath & Pat

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  3. Wendy & Les Stewart :

    M.J. & Bernie – a wonderful couple who adored & cherished each other so very, very much. Thinking of you constantly, M.J. Love Wendy & Les

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  4. Elaine Mordoch :


    My sincere condolences – he ws such an interesting fellow. I know you are shattered. Take care of yourself as best you can. You did experience the love of your life and it was obvious. May a cloak of love wrap iself around you now.

    Elaine Mordoch

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  5. Mira Monagen :

    On behalf of Servus Credit Union, please accept our sincerest apologies for the loss of Bernie. A truly exceptional man. His caring, devoted, intelligent and compassionate nature will be forever missed, and we are all truly blessed to have known him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mary Jane and his family.

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  6. Arlene Weidner :

    So sorry to hear of Bernie’s passing. As a colleague, he was treasured, and I never left a meeting with him without a new idea or way of perceiving or approaching an issue. I recall many of his comments regularly as he provided such sound and humane guidance for dealing with difficult situations.
    A unique individual who will be greatly missed…the world needs more kind, inclusive individuals such as Bernie.
    Arlene Weidner

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  7. Marlowe V. Paul :

    MJ and families:

    I was saddened to see a familiar face looking at me when I opened the Saturday classified newspaper section.

    “I know this guy,” I said to my wife. “We were in the #2293 – 2nd Battalion The North Saskatchewan Regiment Cadet Corps together.”

    I know this guy I thought to myself, but I hadn’t seen him or had contact with him in over 40 years. What makes you remember someone after not seeing them for that long?

    Upon reading the rest of the obituary column I knew why. We all know that Bernie had the ability with that impish smile to connect to people in a believable way. The military used to call it the “man management” smile. It’s the ability to be able to bring chaos/anarchy under control or to get the best out of people and make them believe in themselves. It reminded me of a story about Bernie and I.

    Our Cadet Corps was a strong unit traditionally held together by a series of top-notch officers/commanders and a strong company sergeant-major. Most of the years we had between 50-70 cadets until one year when I was going into Grade 10 at Walter Murray and Bernie was going into Grade 11 at Feehan a 125 people showed up for our initial parade of the year.

    Bernie and I had received our Master Cadet designations the previous year and had both been promoted to cadet lieutenant. Our adult leaders had to make a choice between Bernie and myself for the second-in-command position and the company sergeant-major position. One was a promotion to captain and one was a demotion to a very high profile, prestigious, and important position among the soldiers.

    The adults asked Bernie firstly which position he wanted and he asked to be the company sergeant-major. This turned out for everyone to be the absolute best decision that possibly could have been made. For the next two years because of Bernie the cadet corps continued to be at the top of the province at the annual inspection time. Bernie also joined the local militia when he turned of age. We all knew that Bernie was and would be excellent soldier and leader. So it was no surprise when he joined the regular military out of high school. It just seemed like a natural thing for him to do. It doesn’t surprise me that he went through the ranks to be a major in a short time!

    So I am pleased that his time among us was well spent. I am sorry to have not kept in touch with him over the years since our adolescence. As I look out the window of Caswell School where I will retire from this year I can see the Sgt. Hugh Cairns V.C. Armoury where I remember many fond memories of my/our friend Bernie Novakowsky.


    Marlowe V. Paul

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  8. Wendy Dudra-Rutherford :

    My deepest sympathies from my family to yours.
    Wendy Dudra-Rutherford

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  9. Wanda Cheng :


    I was so sorry to learn about your loss. I would like to express my heartfelt condolences.

    With thoughts of peace and courage for you….

    Wanda Cheng

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  10. Robert and Hilary Butt :

    Our deepest sympathies at this time. We have just heard of the unfortunate passing of Bernie having been away. Hilary will write to MJ but wanted to take this chance to say we are so sorry for your loss. RIP Bernie. They won’t see your like again in Calgary. “Have you seen the light Commando?” I hope he has.

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  11. Barbara and I were saddened by the news of Bernie’s passing. He was a great asset to the Community of Parkdale for many years. His community activism contributed to the character and quality of life in Parkdale. He was tirelessly devoted to do what he thought was best for the community.
    Paul and Barbara Mercer.

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  12. Carolyn Magee :

    Dear MJ,

    I was so sorry to receive news regarding Bernie’s passing. Words can not express the loss of someone who contributed so much during his time on this earth. Although I did not know Bernie well, I came to know of him and your love for each other through my conversations with you. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

    Carolyn Magee

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