February 19, 2005

            The family and friends of former Senator Joseph Suliga wish to express their profound gratitude to the countless people who have reached out to share their condolences upon learning of the tragic loss of our dear friend.

            On Friday evening, Senator Suliga was killed in a car in which he was a passenger in his beloved hometown of Linden . Joe’s wife, Annmarie Pakulski, is very grateful to all who have offered to keep the Suliga family in their prayers.

            Senator Suliga was only 47 at the time of his death. Alas, running ahead of his contemporaries was nothing new to him; he started his career in elected office at the ripe age of 19 as the youngest person ever elected to the Linden Board of Education. A graduate of Kean University , he subsequently served as a Councilman in Linden , as a Union County Freeholder, an Assemblyman, and, until 2003, as a State Senator representing the 22nd District. He also held two Master’s degrees from Kean and Rutgers .

            More importantly, Senator Suliga served as a leader, friend, and mentor to innumerable people in Linden , Union County , and throughout the state whose lives he touched so deeply. A thoughtful and well respected voice in the legislature, Joe Suliga sponsored legislation compelling insurance coverage for mammograms to women over 35. He co-chaired the Senate Environmental Committee and served as the second ranking Democrat on the prestigious Appropriations Committee. The New Jersey Reporter’s Political Almanac described Senator Suliga as “the most impressive watchdog of the state’s budget policies.”

            For the last few weeks, Joe and Annmarie were busy planning a charitable event to be held at the Monsignor Komar Hall at 2806 Parkway Avenue in Linden at 7:PM on Friday, March 4th. Several of their favorite charitable organizations were to be the beneficiaries of this occasion, including the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, Children’s Specialized Hospital , Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. Donations are encouraged in lieu of flowers.

            Senator Suliga will be sorely missed as a man of faith, family, and friendship. Visiting hours are from 2:PM to 5:PM and 7:PM to 9:PM, Monday and Tuesday, at the Suliga residence. The funeral service will be held on Wednesday at 10:AM at Saint Elizabeth Church in Linden .

February 20, 2005