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A Tiger-Loving Vet
Special to the Jewish News
hen Dr. Dennis J. Kovan would return
to his office after wintering in Arizona
with his wife, Milly, he would face a full
load of patients — dogs, cats, birds, even a wolf or
goat on occasion.
Dr. Kovan, 74, of Farmington Hills, died of
heart failure May 30, 2005. He was a veterinarian
for nearly 50 years, caring for the pets of several
generations of families.
Always admonishing "a family is not complete
without a pet," he was founder and owner of the
Novi Veterinary Clinic and owner of Beech Road
Veterinary Hospital in Redford. He was the first
vet in the Detroit area to open 24-hour emergency
He was also an ardent Detroit Tigers fan who
followed the team to ballparks around the country.
After his death, the family received many e-mails
and calls from pet owners. "What a terrific guy
and the true meaning of an animal lover," wrote
Merle and Stan Bassin of Bloomfield Hills. "When
our dog was hit by a car, he took him to his office
in the middle of the night ... we will never forget
his thoughtfulness and heartwarming smile."
Dr. Kovan graduated from Detroit Central High
School and Michigan State University's veterinary
school. Milly, his wife of 51 years, met her hus-
band on a blind date at a Tigers game. She recalled
how "he was always mild-mannered, reasoned
Yad Ezra Volunteer
avid Novak missed the award ceremony
May 9 because he was in the hospital.
The 95-year-old missed very little else at
Yad Ezra during the past 12 years, volunteering
twice a week at the kosher food bank, now in
Berkley. He died May 29, 2005.
A daughter, Rochelle Perlman of Farmington
Hills, accepted the Diane and Emery Klein
Volunteer of the Year Award on behalf of her father,
saying, "Only a hospital stay could keep Dave away
from Yad Ezra."
Mr. Novak welcomed client families as they
things out and nurtured every
relationship — whether the
person was a family member
or a stranger. He was loving
and selfless in every way."
His father died when Dr.
Kovan was 17, and he served
as a second father and men-
tor to his younger brother,
Dr. Thomas Kovan of West
Bloomfield. "I couldn't have
had a better brother,"
Thomas said. "We never had
a cross word with each
, Thomas recalled how they
attended the Tigers' fantasy
camp one year and his brother
refused to hit with an alu-
Di: Dennis Kovan
minum bat. "So he bought his
own wooden bat and used it
Once, while playing a sand-
lot all-star game at the old Briggs Stadium, Dr.
Kovan hit a double and slid into second base —
on the same dirt as did the major league stars, he'd
fondly tell all.
When the shivah period for Dr. Kovan ended,
several family members attended a Tigers game
and bought one extra seat, which they left vacant
in his memory.
Dr. Kovan was also an avid sportsman and a
keen golfer who attended the Masters Tournament
in Augusta, Ga., and played in the same foursome
for more than 40 years.
One of his buddies, Lewis "Skip" Siegel of West
Bloomfield, sal , knew him
since our parents pushed us
around in baby carriages
together. We golfed and played
cards, and, in all these years,
we never had an argument."
In his eulogy at the June 1
funeral, Rabbi Harold Loss
of Temple Israel described
Dr. Kovan as "an easy man
to hug and to love and to
feel close to." Daughter
Linda Kovan of Novi said
her father was "my rock,
mentor, confidant, and soul
Dr. Dennis Joseph Kovan
is survived by his wife,
Milly; sons and daughters-
in-law, Dr. Bruce and Ilene
Kovan of Bloomfield Hills,
Alan Kovan of Ferndale, Dr.
Richard and Aimee Kovan of
Franklin; daughter, Linda Kovan of Novi; grand-
children, Elizabeth, Katharine, Rachel, Sarah and
Jane; brother and sister-in-law, Dr. Thomas and
Barbara Kovan of West Bloomfield; mother-in-
law, Ida Lewis of West Bloomfield.
He was the loving grandfather of the late
Jonathan Kovan and the beloved son of the late
Ethel and the late Ben Kovan.
Interment was at Clover Hill Park Cemetery.
Contributions may be made to the Dr. Dennis J.
Kovan Memorial Fund, Temple Israel, 5725
Walnut Lake Road, West Bloomfield, 48323.
Arrangements by Ira Kaufman Chapel. LI]
Mr. Novak is survived by his son
approached the conveyor line and
and daughter-in-law, Paul and
handed out bags so they could package
Rosalind Novak of Walled Lake;
their food. Perlman told the audience
daughter and son-in-law, Harriett
that her father insisted on beginning
and Emmanuel Patchakos of Presque
physical therapy quickly so that he
Isle, Mich., Rochelle and Eugene
could return to Yad Ezra.
Perlman of Farmington Hills; 15
He believed in the importance of
grandchildren; 29 great-grandchil-
good deeds, she said, acting kindly to
everyone, and treating everyone with
He was the beloved husband of the
late Sadie Novak; loving father of the
Lea Luger, development director at
late Esther Weingarten; loving father-
Yad Ezra, said, "At an age when many
in-law of the late David Weingarten.
people start limiting their activities, his
Interment was at Hebrew Memorial
work at Yad Ezra brought him new
David Novak at Yad Ezra
Park. Contributions may be made to
friends and enriched his life."
Yad Ezra, 2850 W. 11 Mile, Berkley,
He regularly attended the agency's
MI 48072. Arrangements by Hebrew
monthly lunch-and-learn sessions,
relaxed with other volunteers when they finished
serving clients and carpooled to the agency.