We share in the sad news, as our sister Village of Florida mourns the loss of their former Mayor, Jim Pawliczek. Jim was a native son. In his youth, he excelled in baseball and basketball. At 6’4 he was a striking presence. He spent a lifetime committed to his community, a businessman, a man dedicated to his church and the civic organizations in the Village of Florida. He was also involved with Village government as a former member of the Florida Planning Board and Village Trustee. These were all the attributes he brought to the office when he became Mayor in 2002.
He also brought a warm, genuine personality – a demeanor that well-served the people of Florida and local government. Jim brought calm to the occasion and even under stress, he remained a steady hand. As neighbor mayors, Jim and I shared many moments of confidence and humor. It was his sense of humor, his sensitivity, as well as a sense of knowing and understanding his constituents, that made Jim so well suited to govern the small but strong Village of Florida.
Jim left a legacy of important accomplishments. When he became mayor, he quickly realized that if Florida’s businesses were to remain viable, there was a need for more parking. This was something accomplished through enhanced parking behind Werner’s Department Store and next to the Mapes House. He also was the catalyst to the purchase and restoration of the Mapes House and the preservation of the Seward birthplace. Under his leadership, the Village has flourished. Small businesses and services have grown in number. The downtown has more curb appeal as building owners have done facade work and restoration. There is an abundance of pride that he was able to direct into tangible results.
I was heartened to know that although a public wake and funeral service could not happen due to the health crisis and this period of self-isolation, an actual procession through the Village did occur and rightly so for a man who so carefully tended the Village of Flowers.
The above column, written by Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard, has been published in the Apr. 8 issue of the Warwick Valley Dispatch.