MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A staple in her small Minnesota city, Cindy Novy’s flower shop celebrated life’s milestones for more than 40 years.

It’s why her death from COVID-19 this month has left Pine City in mourning.

In our ongoing series, WCCO shares how Cindy believed in celebrating life through nature’s beauty.

“From the time I was 10 days old she was wearing one of those carriers making arrangements with me in it,” her daughter Cara Novy said.

You could say Cara Novy also bloomed inside her mom’s beloved flower shop.

“The original owner was like family,” she said. Cindy Novy started working there in high school before buying it outright in the 70’s.

“She made it so personal,” her colleague Sheila Hughes said of her creations.

Known for her kind and generous spirit, Cindy sent leftover flowers to local nursing homes and constantly volunteered to beautify her church and community.

“To make somebody else feel better. Never expecting anything in return,” Hughes said.

The 67-year-old who still worked six days a week had only recently started talking about retirement.

“It’s just so heartbreaking that she didn’t get the chance,” her daughter said.

When the pandemic arrived in March, her mom took precautions.

“The store was closed to walk-ins, deliveries only,” Cara Novy said.

Still, in November, Cindy Novy thought she was just fighting a cold.

“The mystery of where she actually picked it up, I wish I knew,” Hughes said.

“She literally went straight from the store to the hospital,” Cara Novy said.

With no underlying health conditions, doctors could never determine why she wouldn’t improve.

“On paper she was healthy and she should have been able to beat it. But she just kept getting worse,” Cara Novy said.

Cindy spent 22 days on ventilator. She died on Dec. 2.

“It just shows it could happen to anybody,” Cara said.

It’s also why her daughter believes her mom understood better than most to celebrate every milestone along the way.

“Leaves a huge void in our family and in our community, too,” Cara said.


Liz Collin