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Joseph A. Nowak, 88, of Cloquet, passed away Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Barnes Care in Esko.

Joe was born July 16, 1928, in Duluth, to Louis and Nellie (Peloquin) Nowak. He graduated from Duluth Cathedral High School in 1946 and attended Duluth Junior College from 1946-1948. He also attended the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1950 and 1956-1958, graduating with a B.S. degree. Joe then attended the University of Wisconsin-Superior from 1967-1969, graduating with a master's degree in physical science.

Joe served his country as a Corporal in the U.S. Army 28th Infantry Division during the Korean War from 1951-1953. He worked numerous places including Arco Coffee Co. from 1945-1950; Bell Telephone from 1953-1954; IBM as a customer engineer from 1954-1956; and the Cloquet Schools, ISD 94 from 1958-1983 when he retired.

Joe was a member of Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Hebert-Kennedy VFW Post 3979, Cloquet Ski Club, Arrowhead Fly Fishers and AARP. He served as president of the Duluth Ski Club in 1959 and president of the Cloquet Archery Club in 1965. Joe was a three-time Duluth City Ski Jumping Champion, retiring the Guy R. Olson trophy. He personally broke 11 hill records in the U.S., Canada and Europe. In 1978, Joe was inducted into the MN State Ski Coaches Hall of Fame; inducted into Duluth Cathedral Athletic Hall of Fame; and the U.S. Ski Jumping Hall of Fame in 2008. In 1984 he was awarded the 25 Year Coaches Assoc. Award. Joe was one of the top 10 U.S. ski jumpers from 1951-1959. He was founder of the Pine Valley Ski Area in Cloquet, founder of the Cloquet Ski Club; coached 13 state high school ski titles; and was a founder of the Cloquet Educational Foundation.

He was preceded in death by his parents and five brothers, Victor, Leonard, Francis, Vincent and Eugene.

Joe is survived by his brothers, Gerald and John Nowak, both of Duluth, and Lawrence (Terry) Nowak of Torrance, Calif.; numerous nieces and nephews; and special friend Barb Nelson.

VISITATION: 5-7 p.m. with a 6:30 p.m. Rosary service Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Nelson Funeral Care in Cloquet, and 10 until the 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial Thursday, Nov. 3, in Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Cloquet. Military Honors will be presented by the Cloquet Combined Honor Guard followed with a luncheon in the church social hall. Interment service will be at Sunrise Memorial Park in Duluth.

Condolences may be sent to the online guestbook at

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I'll so miss my dear friend Joe of 70 plus years. Fishing, Ski trips, Isle Royal fishing trips and frequent phone conversations. My closest enduring friendship that we regularly maintained. Truly a major youth contributor in Cloquet. Goodby Joe, may you now rest with God.
I fondly remember my year in Mr. Nowak's science class. I fell in love with science well before middle school, but he cemented my life long learning and career path in science.
Ski jumping experienced an incredible era in the '50s, '60s and '70s because of incredible people that nurtured all the little hometown Clubs. The events were big and the concession stands and banquets were awesome with sharing stories, socializing and camaraderie. Pine Valley was always a very Special place thanks to Joe and his Crew that made it all so, honestly, Wonderful!!! ! Fly far.......with Style, like Joe would want, have a Good-one Joe and thanks!
I am so sorry. Joe was a great man. He guided a lot of people including me.