Former Oneonta County Rep. Michal Swiderski, who had headed the county’s Social Services Committee a decade ago and was the father of two sons, was stricken by a fatal heart attack over the weekend.
He was 45 years old. Relatives said he had recenty moved to West Oneonta from Schenevus. He died early Saturday.
Swiderski, according to relatives and acquaintances, had a passion for government. He was thrilled in 2002 when he and his wife, Michelle, were invited by the administration of then-President George W. Bush to the White House for a special reception for Poland’s President, Aleksander Kwasniewski, they said.
“I’m still amazed that they found me here in Otsego County and called me,” Swiderski told The Daily Star.
He was the former operator of Country Club Liquors store in Oneonta and, at the time of his death, was employed by Opici Wines of New Jersey.
Swiderski’s sister, Emelia Borelli, said her brother was very proud of his Polish heritage. He felt at home within the Republican Party, she said, because he disliked the impact communism had on the homeland of their father, Eliguisz Swiderski, who had emigrated to this country from Poland.
“He loved to talk politics, and he loved the relationships he made when he was on the county board,” Borelli said.
Swiderski swerved on the county board, representing District 13 in the city of Oneonta, from 2000 to 2003, the year he was defeated by Democrat Stanley Harrington. After Harrington died in early 2004, the board voted to fill the vacancy with Swiderski, who served until the end of the year. He was defeated in the fall of 2004 by Democrat Ralph Laguna Jr.
Rep. Catherine Rothenberger, D-Oneonta, who has the longest tenure on the county board, recalled Swiderski as a diligent representative who traveled to Philadelphia with Social Services Commissioner Joyce Boyd to research an imaging system before the county decided to buy it.
“He was an energetic individual, and he really took the meetings seriously,” Rothenberger said. “He was a light-hearted human being. When he talked about his boys, his eyes would light up.”
Borelli, who resides in Oneida County, said her brother was a devoted father to his two sons, Jameson, who is seven years old, and Andrew, who is 10 years old. Swiderski was a 1986 graduate of Oneonta High School and later attended the State University College at Oneonta.