June 6, 1915 - June 5, 2004 John E. Babiarz, Sr., former Mayor of Wilmington, died on June 5, 2004, 1 day before his 89th birthday.
Mayor Babiarz was born June 6, 1915 in Wilmington, the oldest son of Stanley and Mary Babiarz. He was a lifelong member of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish. He was a graduate of Wilmington High School and the University of Delaware, class of 1937.
Following Army service in the Middle East during World War II, Mayor Babiarz returned to the family business, the Delaware Bedding Company, and became active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He helped found the White Eagle Post 7006 of the VFW and became its Commander. He was elected State Commander of the VFW in 1950.
Mayor Babiarz entered public service in 1948 when he was elected Register in Chancery. In 1954, he became Chief Clerk of the Delaware House of Representatives, and was elected President of the Wilmington City Council in 1956. In 1960, he was elected Mayor of Wilmington and served 2 terms.
His tenure as Mayor was marked by great achievement. Under his leadership, city government was modernized with the adoption of a home rule charter, giving Wilmington the form of government that exists today.
Thereafter, he became President of the Better Business Bureau and returned to public service in 1973 as secretary of the Department of Administrative Services. In 1977, he became Director of Commerce for the City of Wilmington, where he concentrated on development of the Port of Wilmington. In 1999, the Port of Wilmington Maritime Society created the John E. Babiarz Maritime Award to recognize outstanding contributions to port development.
Mayor Babiarz retired in 1980, concluding 32 years of public service, but remained active in community affairs until the ravages of Alzheimer's disease forced him from the vocation he loved.
Mayor Babiarz was a member of the Kiawanis Club, the Bishop Curtis Council of the Knights of Columbus, AMPOL, the Polish Library Association, the Polish National Alliance, the Polish Falcons, Nest 20, and was president of and member of the board of directors of the Kosciuszko Savings and Loan Association, which later became White Eagle Federal Savings Bank.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Adele, son Superior Court Judge John E. Babiarz, Jr. and his wife Linda and son Deputy Bank Commissioner Francis S. Babiarz and his wife Joyce. He leaves behind 3 granddaughters Lisa Babiarz, Julia Babiarz and Amanda Babiarz and 1 great-grandson Edison. He is also survived by 2 brothers Boleslaw and Stanley. He was predeceased by a sister Sophie Grodzicki and 2 brothers Edward and Joseph.
Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, 901 E. 7th Street, Wilmington, on Friday, June 11, 2004 at 10:30 a.m. Friends are invited to call at the church at 9:00 a.m. Burial will be at the Cathedral Cemetery.
Adele F Babiarz
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