LELAND — Leo J. Nowak, 75, died Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016, with his family by his side.
He is survived by the love of his life and wife of 43 years, Carolyn Ford Nowak; four children, Sharon Nowak Moran, Beverly Nowak Heine, Shelly Nowak Irwin and Jeff Novak; sisters, Carol Nowak Hendry and Sharon Richards; and 10 wonderful grandchildren.
Leo was born to the late Henry and Isabelle Nowak in Wayne, Mich., and graduated from Belleville High School, where he was class president and captain of the football team. Leo worked several jobs to pay his way through college at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and went on to earn an MBA from the University of Denver while working for General Cable.
Over the course of his career at General Cable, Leo lived in the Carolinas, Indiana, Colorado and Georgia. He rose through the ranks to manage three assembly plants. Leo also owned and operated a number of small businesses, including hair salons and an eatery.
After returning to Wilmington in 1993, Leo embarked on a second career in commercial real estate with his partners at Maus Warwick Mathews & Company, undertaking industrial and commercial development projects in Brunswick and New Hanover Counties, while also doing brokerage and appraisal work.
A Porsche and wine enthusiast, athlete, beach music fan, foodie, and bon vivant, Leo and Carolyn traveled throughout South and Central America, Asia and Europe. It was a determined and adventurous life full of love, laughs and hard work done well.
A visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27, at Andrews Mortuary Market Street Chapel, 1617 Market St., Wilmington. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, also at Andrews Mortuary Market Street Chapel. Following the service, friends are invited to the residence for a celebration of Leo’s life.
In lieu of flowers, his family encourages contributions to Duke Cancer Fund, 710 W. Main St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701, (919) 385-3100, www.gifts.duke.edu/medpp; or Lower Cape Fear Hospice Foundation, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401, (910) 796-7900, www.hospiceandlifecarecenter.org.