Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Michael Stelmachowicz, RIP

I learned recently that Michael Stelmachowicz died on December 30, 2009. His family lived next-door to my Sylwester family for four years, from 1964 to 1968, on North Columbia Avenue. Before that, they lived for a couple of years in a house that was six houses away from our house on Faculty Lane.

Michael Stelmachowicz, President of Concordia Teacher's College (Concordia University)in Seward, Nebraska, from 1978 to 1984. The image was taken from his obituary at

My Mom and Michael's wife Betty became best friends when our family's lived nearby on Faculty Lane, and that close friendship lasted during the years that we lived on North Columbia. They liked to go to auctions together, and I think they took some classes at Concordia at the same time. I remember that Betty was a very vivacious, extroverted woman, while my Mom was much more quiet and reserved. I think that Betty helped my Mom engage socially with adults again after spending many years at home raising children,

The Sylwester family had six boys and one girl, and the Stelmachowicz famiy had four girls and one boy. My sister Tricia played with the Stelmachowicz girls a lot, and the Stelmachowicz boy Cary played with our family a lot.

All the Stelmachowicz girls, beginning with Betty, were extraordinarily pretty and vivacious. Candy and Cheryl were cheerleaders, and I assume that Crystal eventually became one too.

Michael Stelmachowicz was not bad looking, but he was not extraordinarily handsome either. Also, he was rather quiet and mild-mannered. So, I wondered how he had managed to get Betty to be his girlfriend and then even his wife. His success in that area of his life gave me hope that even I might at least think about getting the very prettiest girl.

Anyway, Michael Stelmachowicz apparently was a good leader and manager of other people. He rose up through the ranks of the College's and Synod's administration. He became the Dean while he was our neighbor, and then he left and held some other positions in other places and returned to serve as the College's President from 1978 to 1984.

Even though my family was living in Oregon during the latter period, I was aware that he had risen to that position, and I was very impressed. I knew he was not a pushy, aggressive personality, and so I figured that he had risen to that top position because he was an extraordinarily effective manager and leader.

I have placed his obituary on this blog's page for the Stelmachowicz family.

I intend to write some more about the Stelmachowicz family in future articles in this blog.