Dixon’s ‘Krazy Ken’ remembered for his passion, altruism

Ken Novak

DIXON – Downtown Dixon has lost its “Krazy Ken.”

A fixture of the downtown and a longtime advocate for its growth, Ken Novak died Sunday after fighting stage III esophageal cancer.

The 73-year-old was renowned for making his opinions known and making people laugh, and he was fondly recognized as “Krazy Ken the Farmer’s Friend.”

Ken operated C&N Supply in Dixon since 1986 and FarmChains.com since 2008. He was also instrumental in the development of Rosbrook Studio.

City Council members and the Dixon Chamber of Commerce and Main Street recently paid homage to Ken and his commitment to the community.

Councilwoman Mary Oros, who also works at Chamber Main Street, said Ken was fun to work with in the downtown business alliance group.

“He was a unique individual but a great guy. He was very passionate about Dixon; he was very passionate about this community,” she said. “He didn’t have a filter, but that’s what you appreciated about Ken.”

Councilman Mike Venier, a fellow downtown business owner, said he will miss him as a regular downtown, but he’s glad that Ken’s family plans to continue the business.

“He was one of our major events advocates; he was an ambassador for all things Dixon,” Venier said. “He was instrumental in the evolution and the ongoing benefits that the Rosbrook Studio brings to the downtown business district.”

Chamber Main Street made the following statement honoring Ken:

“Ken Novak was a staunch supporter of Downtown Dixon, believing that a downtown that collaborated would thrive. He was never afraid to express himself, and we were certainly on the receiving end a few times. We valued Ken’s advice, but we valued his friendship even more.

“Ken will be missed; he had a big personality, and it will be difficult to replace the energy he brought to our community and lives.”

He was also a supporter of the Dixon Park District.

Ken and his wife, Carol, a longtime area social worker who dedicated her life to helping children, donated $10,000 to the Park District for a water table feature to be added to the Vaile Park Splash Pad. Carol died in 2017 of brain cancer.

He expressed the hope that their gift would inspire other people and organizations to consider making community-minded donations of their own.

According to a Sauk Valley Media editorial on that 2017 donation:

“The Novaks’ actions are a perfect example of altruism, or the showing of interest and concern for the well-being of others. Their donation was not designed to benefit them personally, but to make the community a better place for boys and girls and their families.

“We tip our hat to Ken Novak, we salute the memory of Carol Novak, and we share the couple’s wish that others follow the Novaks’ example of taking personal responsibility to promote the betterment of the community.”

A visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Jones Funeral Home in Dixon, and a memorial will be established to the Dixon Park District and Chamber Main Street.

Ken Novak
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Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.