The Long Island Game Farm announced this week that founder Diane Florence Novak died at her home in East Moriches on June 8, 2021. She was 84 (born in Southampton Hospital on October 7, 1936).
She married Stanley Novak on February 16, 1958 at the Henry Perkins Hotel in Riverhead.
Novak and her husband raised two children: Susan (who preceded her in 2001) and Melinda. They first lived in Middle Island and then moved the family to the site of the Long Island Game Farm in 1969. The Novaks located the Game Farm in close proximity to the old National Speedway Race Track, which was located just down the road on Chapman Boulevard in Manorville. They debuted the Game Farm in 1970. Over the years, it became a Long Island institution and educational destination for schoolchildren and visitors to the East End.
After Stanley’s death in 1999, Novak assumed the day-to-day responsibilities and, in recent years, transferred those responsibilities to her daughter Melinda, while she remained active and pursued her hobbies, such as collecting horse prints, studying her ancestry and gardening. Fortunate to spend more years with her granddaughter Chela, Novak had a love for horses, which fueled Chela’s interest in horse riding. She also enjoyed traveling during the Game Farm’s off-season.
Novak was directly related to Reverend John Young of Southold through her mother, Reba Young. She attended Riverhead High School and played standup bass.
She is survived by her daughter Melinda and her granddaughter Chela.
The family held a private memorial, and her ashes will be buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Center Moriches.