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Society Mourns Passing of Brother Robert S. Novosel
We are deeply saddened while writing this column which informs our membership of the unexpected and untimely death of our colleague in the National Administration of the Croatian Fraternal Union, Brother Robert Novosel. Bob passed away on August 17, 2021, suddenly and without warning, which leaves his dear family and friends in shock and bewilderment. Having just celebrated his sixtieth birthday, Bob was well-established in his professional life as an auditor garnering many accolades from customers and associates for his dedication, professionalism and kindness. Outside of work, we gratefully acknowledge his involvement in our society on many levels encompassing our business and fraternal operations.
As a member of the CFU Board of Directors, whether as National Second Vice President or as a member of the Board of Trustees, Brother Novosel brought with him an ardent desire to ensure that our society provided excellent benefits to our present members as well as position itself to serve future generations of members as well. In support of this desire, we could always count upon Bob to take an active role in the discussions of the National Board of Directors and to vote his conscience whether it was part of the majority or dissenting opinion. For this, we respected his demonstrated courage and convictions.
Personally, we call to mind and remember the conversations which we had where both Bob and I were considered the “young” ones on our CFU National Board of Directors and in the ranks of local lodge leaders. We sincerely admired our colleagues’ ability to navigate the divide between the older and more seasoned members of his Zora Lodge 351 and the younger and more ambitious members who were emerging into leadership positions. We recall Brother Novosel’s very important work in serving as Building & Renovation chairman for his Lodge’s present property on Ryan Road in Warren, Michigan and were pleased to learn of the progress that he related to our Board at our meetings during that particular time. Suffice to say that through his leadership positions as Lodge Vice President and Lodge Secretary, and through his most recent position as Lodge President, he was able to serve our society and, most importantly, his Lodge membership in the very finest fashion. Over the ensuing years, we recognize the long-lasting impact that Bob has had on the community of Croatians and friends he has amassed not only in his native Detroit area but from across the United States and Canada.
While Bob’s family was small, growing up with parents Robert and Mary Ann and older brother Joe, the Novosel family was entwined with the Croatian community of greater Detroit. Through this community and his activities, he enlarged his circle of close friends, acquaintances and associates. Chief among activities not directly related to Lodge 351, were his playing of the Tambura which afforded him many opportunities for interactions with individuals who enjoyed our Croatian and other Eastern European music. In his youth, Bob was a member of the Detroit Junior Tamburitzans as well as the Detroit Tamburitza Orchestra. However, he may have been most well-known for his association with the Tomicic Brothers Tamburitza Orchestra where along with Brother Joe, Bob joined with Pete and Mike Tomicic in entertaining audiences across the US and Canada. Both Bob and Joe assumed leadership positions within the Tamburitza Association of America (TAA) and for many years have been instrumental in the success of that organization’s annual Tamburitza Extravaganza.
Bob was a family man in words and deeds. He spoke glowingly of his nephew and namesake, John Robert Novosel, and along with Brother Joe and sister-in-law Teresa, annually hosted the Novosel Family Barbeque which drew family and close friends together in friendship and love. His longtime fiancé, Kathy Perpich Thiel, meant the world to Bob which led to his full integration into her family in a fatherly role. One of the last comments that he regularly left me with was, “How’s Beth and the kids?” His inquiry was genuine and not contrived and we appreciated his interest in our family as well.
The life of our colleague was all too short in length however, we believe that it certainly was impactful and memorable. The sorrow we feel at his passing is amplified by the good memories that he has left behind with his family and friends.
On behalf of the National Administration of the Croatian Fraternal Union, we extend our most heartfelt sympathy to Brother Novosel’s fiancé Kathy Perpich Thiel and family, Brother and Sister-in-law Joseph and Teresa Novosel, nephew John Robert Novosel, and his entire Croatian community of friends upon this great loss. For our departed colleague, we pray that our almighty God bless him and welcome him into the Kingdom of Heaven. May Bob rest in peace and may the light of the risen Lord Jesus Christ shine upon him now and forever. Amen.
Edward W. Pazo