Biryl J. "BJ" Novotny, age 93, of Minnetonka, formerly of New Prague, died peacefully surrounded by his family on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, at Golden Living Hopkins.  BJ was born on August 19, 1923, in Montgomery, MN to Frank J. and Louise E. (Corley) Novotny.  He attended St. Raphael Catholic School (now Holy Redeemer Catholic School) in Montgomery and graduated from Montgomery High School. Straight out of high school in 1940, BJ began his career in insurance with his father, F.J. Novotny in Montgomery.

He took a three year leave of absence from his career to serve in the U.S. Army during WWII earning the Expert Infantry Badge.  Only about 10% of infantrymen who attempted to earn the badge were successful.  He entered the Army in 1943 and served in both the European and Japanese Theaters until his discharge in 1946.

Upon his return, he married Margaret "Peggy" Topka on June 26, 1948 at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church and the couple settled in New Prague.  He opened Novotny Insurance Agency (later Novotny-Bednar Agency) in 1953 where he was in business until his retirement in 1980. During his business years, he gave his time to many civic organizations including New Prague City Council, Scott County Welfare Board, the Regional Library Board, Scott County Insurance Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors at 1st National Bank in New Prague. BJ was instrumental in building (and early ownership) of Mala Strana Nursing Home.  With great pride and love for his country, BJ continued his Army service for ten years in the reserve and organized the first Color Guard in New Prague. He was a member of the VFW, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, and the Boy Scouts. His love for the outdoors led him to participate in the Sportsmen’s Club, Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever. In retirement B.J. and Peg spent many winters in Boerne, Texas. BJ’s home away from home was Lake of the Woods where he enjoyed over 60 years of fishing, hunting and special friendships.

B.J. was a man with many talents and strong interests. He was an avid gardener and especially enjoyed growing tomatoes and tending his orchard. A kolacky baker, he gave away many dozens to family, neighbors and friends. B.J. had a beautiful singing voice and was a member of the St. Wenceslaus church choir for many years, sang for countless area weddings and later on for funeral services. Most of all he was a great family man, music lover and a wonderful storyteller. He did all things with perfection and great passion. 

BJ is survived by his wife, Peggy of Minnetonka; children, Christopher (Kathy Raisbeck) Novotny of Minnetonka, Mary (Tony) Simon of Montgomery, Timothy (Connie Magnuson) Novotny of Minneapolis; sister, Bonnie Turek of Austin, TX; 8 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren.  He is preceded in death by his sister, Frances Kohout.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday, February 14, 2017, at 11:00 AM at St. Wenceslaus Church with Father Denny Dempsey officiating.  Visitation will take place also at church starting at 9:00 AM.  Burial will follow Mass at St. Wenceslaus Cemetery with military honors.  Lunch follows at the Legion Clubroom.  In lieu of flowers memorials preferred to Holy Redeemer Catholic School.