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Tragedy strikes family twice

Ken and Brenda Novotny, of Germantown, Tennessee, are originally from west central Minnesota. (Submitted photo)

OLIVIA — A family with its roots in Renville County is mourning the loss of two brothers who died days apart, one in a tragic hunting accident.

Ken Novotny, 53, of Germantown, Tennessee, died Wednesday when he was attacked by a grizzly bear while hunting southwest of Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, Canada.

Keith Novotny, 59, of Appleton, died Sunday. Friends said he was waiting for a kidney transplant.

Their mother, Marjorie Novotny, learned the news of her second son’s death after reaching Tennessee to be with Ken Novotny’s family. Ken Novotny is survived by his wife, Brenda (Johnson), originally of Lake Lillian, and their three children.

Keith Novotny is survived by his wife, Peggy, of Appleton. He was serving as utilities superintendent for the city of Appleton.

Ken Novotny was hunting along the Northwest Territories border with the Yukon when he was attacked by the bear, according to Dr. Cathy Menard, M.D., chief coroner for the Northwest Territories.

The Commercial Appeal in Tennessee reported that a coach of the victim’s daughter said the bear “came out of nowhere” and attacked him as he was prepping the moose he shot.

The coroner said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police received a call for assistance from a guide accompanying Novotny on the hunt at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Darkness and weather conditions prevented help from reaching the remote site in the Arctic that night.

A helicopter reached the site the following morning.

Novotny had died at the scene, according to the coroner. The guide was not harmed.

The bear was found and killed on Saturday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. DNA testing is being done to confirm that it was the bear that attacked Novotny. Officials with the Northwest Territories Department of the Environment and Natural Resources are confident that it is, according to the report.

Ken Novotny is remembered as an avid outdoorsman, athlete, and as a leader. He was a captain for the Olivia High School football and baseball teams in his senior year, said Steve Altmann, a friend of the deceased.

Ken Novotny was working with Raymond James in Germantown, Tennessee, a financial services company. He holds a degree in accounting from St. Cloud State University and a master’s in business administration from the University of Minnesota.

Funeral services for Ken Novotny are tentatively planned for Friday. The Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery, 5668 Poplar Ave., Memphis, Tennessee, is in charge of arrangements.

Funeral services for Keith Novotny are tentatively scheduled for Monday. The Zniewski Funeral Home, 50 South Miles St., Appleton, is in charge of the arrangements.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

(320) 214-4335
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