Clem Novlan was born on May 11th, 1929 to Frank Sr. and Caroline Novlan in Paradise Hill, SK. While in grade 12, he and his brother Paul followed their father’s footsteps by purchasing Frank Sr.’s shares in Frank Novlan and Son’s, which had been formed the year Clem was born. They renamed it Novlan Bros Sales. The business now had two locations: Paradise Hill and St. Walburg and sold Massey-Harris farm equipment and Ford cars and trucks. Later Clem and Paul bought out his two older brothers’ shares and later still Clem bought Paul out.
In the 1970s, Clem’s sons, Doug and Randy, joined the business. Clem loved working at the business and continued to work there into his eighties, steadily reducing his hours to see his sons take full control.
He grew up during the 1930s when life was especially tough. While one would expect that he would talk about how difficult and hard life was during those times, which was true, he would talk about how he appreciated those days. He would talk about how everyone was equal, everyone had it hard, and everyone was in the same predicament, which brought everyone together to help each other.
Then, Clem witnessed his mother’s indomitable spirit as she moved heaven and earth lobbying to get the Paradise Hill hospital built. At the age of 9 he even aided and abetted his mother’s ‘theft of lumber’ from his father when building supplies became an issue. The resulting benefit to the community imprinted deeply on him, and while success in business continued to be important to him, community building became his life’s work.
And from his father, Clem learned how to lead. Frank Sr believed in empowering people to do their job. He believed that mistakes were inevitable, fixable, and most importantly, a learning experience. Anyone who has worked with or been associated with Clem knows that he followed his father’s approach.
Novlan Bros has been a successful company, and he was always proud of that, but if you ever asked him about his greatest successes, he would rarely mention his business successes. He would rather talk about the successes of his employees, some who left to make a go at something greater. He would talk about community projects; like the challenges they encountered in getting sewer and water service to Paradise Hill; building arenas, the seed cleaning plant, community halls, hospitals, converting the hospital to a care home, and advocating for the community. He spoke about the values of education and investing in yourself.
Because Clem believed in investing in his community, we ask that if you wish to honour him, please donate your time, resources, or money to a charitable cause that benefits your community.
After experiencing a fall and complications from pneumonia that spread through his body, he passed away peacefully in Lloydminster hospital surrounded by family on Friday, June 28th, 2019. He is dearly missed. He was 90 years old.
Clem is predeceased by his parents (Frank Sr. & Caroline Novlan), his siblings, Frank Jr., Caroline (Jonny Weinhandl), George (Marion), Victor, Margaret (Russ McCammon), Joe (Irene), Albert, and Paul (Mary). He is survived by his loving wife Beatrice, his children, Miriam, Doug (Coresa), Randy (Merena) and Janet (Graham Goldman), and grandchildren, Amy Heard, Charles Heard, Tanner (Kayla), Sammantha, Tayt, Nicole (Jim Clipperton), Brett (Chelsea), Mitchell, and Katie Goldman and one great grandchild, Lucas Randall Clipperton as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
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