Doctor's son was visiting friends in Belmar

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

-- Christopher P. Nowak, 22, an electrician from Oakwood, died Saturday in Belmar, N.J., when he was hit by a car.

Mr. Nowak was crossing Route 35 at 11:42 p.m. when a 2003 Corvette heading north struck him, said police. He suffered severe head trauma and was killed instantly, said Detective Sean Pringle of the Belmar Police Department.

His family said Mr. Nowak, who dreamed of one day running his own electrical company, had traveled down to the Jersey Shore earlier in the day to visit friends. About 50 miles south of Staten Island, Belmar is a popular beach destination for borough residents and other city dwellers.

The accident occurred about 100 yards south of the intersection with Eighth Avenue, said Pringle. The Corvette was driven by Mark Rich, 53, of Neptune, N.J.

Police are trying to determine exactly where Mr. Nowak was coming from and where he was going.

Cops also are trying to gauge the Corvette's speed and whether drugs or alcohol might be involved, said Pringle, adding that the investigation is in its early phases.

Dr. Patrick Nowak, Mr. Nowak's father, said his son was devoted to his family, especially his brother and two sisters.

"He was a very, very hardworking guy," Dr. Nowak said yesterday. "He was a wonderful family man, a good friend, loyal and very protective of his siblings."

Mr. Nowak relished hiking, camping trips to the Adirondacks and fishing in the waters off Fox Beach Avenue in Oakwood Beach.

His family settled in Oakwood about 16 years ago, moving here from Bay Ridge.

Mr. Nowak played junior varsity basketball at New Dorp High School, graduating in February 2004, said his father. While in high school, he worked at Village Maria Pizzeria in Great Kills.

He attended the College of Staten Island, then became a member of Local Union No. 3, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. He formerly worked for Reno Electrical Contracting in Brooklyn and was working for Kleinknecht Electric Company in Manhattan at the time of his death.

His goal was to enter the apprenticeship program in Local 3's "A" Division, become a licensed electrician and open his own shop, said his father, a former electrician.

An outdoors enthusiast, Mr. Nowak enjoyed an Outward Bound trip he once took to Utah.

But spending time with family and friends was a priority for Mr. Nowak, who is remembered as a loving godfather to Liam Karr and uncle to Hannah Karr.

Mr. Nowak was a parishioner of St. Charles R.C. Church, Oakwood.

Surviving, in addition to his father, Patrick, are his mother, the former Patricia Smith; his brother, Patrick Jr., and two sisters, Jennifer and Laurie Ann. The funeral will be Thursday from the Colonial Funeral Home, New Dorp, with a mass at 9:15 a.m. in St. Charles Church. Burial will be in Moravian Cemetery, New Dorp.