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Novotny Dies at 79

Former Potomac resident worked as advocate for those with autism and other disabilities.

Jeanne Roberts Novotny, 79, died on July 5 in Gaithersburg after a long battle with cancer. She was born August 26, 1927, in Watseka, Ill. She received a B.A. degree in economics and English from DePauw University in 1949, and was elected to Mortar Board, the honorary for senior women.

She married Thomas W. Novotny in 1952, and they resided in Arlington Heights, Ill., where she served a term as the elected municipal clerk. In 1969 the family moved to Potomac.

Mrs. Novotny worked as an advocate for disabled individuals, first in many volunteer activities and then as a consultant and service provider. For the Society for Autistic Adults and Children, she served in many roles, including president. She worked to organize and was the first director of the first community-based residential service for autistic adults in the country. She was a founder and second chairperson of the Montgomery County Commission on Handicapped Individuals. She was a founder and later president of Threshold Services, Inc., which provided services for adults with chronic mental illness.

She spent nine years as a Legislative Aide with the Montgomery County Council, with assignments in health and human services and public safety.

Mrs. Novotny was active in Republican organizations in Illinois and Maryland, working for numerous Congressional and local candidates. For the Chevy Chase Women’s Republican Club, she served on the board in many capacities including president, and received the Marilyn Mikesell award. She was elected an officer of the Montgomery County Federation of Republican Women in 1999. In 2005, she received the prestigious Forbes Blair Lifetime Achievement Award from the Montgomery County Republican Party.

Her other interests included theater, gardening and needlework.

She was predeceased in 2004 by her husband of 51 years. She is survived by two children, William of Wheaton, Md., and Mary K. McIntire of Darien, Conn. her son-in-law, John McIntire; three grandsons, Ross, Gavin, and Colin McIntire; and her brother, Donald, of Fontana, Wis.

The date for funeral services has not yet been set. Memorial contributions may be made to Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children (CSAAC) Foundation, Inc., 8615 East Village Avenue, Suite 100, Montgomery Village, MD 20886, or www.csaac.org.