On Oct. 21 as I left Cantata in the late afternoon, something wasn’t right. My eyes were teary, the sun wasn’t quite so bright, the sky not so blue, the air was misty and heavy, the birds were quiet and there was an aura of tranquility. Tony Kwiatkowski was gone. He had moved on.

Tony was a man of many skills and experiences; his youthful time, his Navy years, his police reserve days. But mostly his people skills in all areas of life made him special. The lies and hypocrisy of politics and the church were squashed mentally as his wisdom always showed through in his writing and making others feel good.

People always came first. He could answer most questions, and his honesty and sense of humor made everyone feel special.

A week or so before Tony moved on, I chastised him to get well or I’d make him read more of my vehement letters sent to higher authorities not doing their jobs. He extended his hand to mine and held on tightly as I prepared to leave. I didn’t understand his message until later – it was time.

How do we all show honor, respect and love for a man of rare character and quality? We reflect on all the qualities and goodness he showed us in dealing with others as he did. There is not greater tribute than to emulate this man’s rare character and goodness.

Jim Zak
North Riverside