Former North Battleford mayor Julian Sadlowski – educator, artist, historian and public servant – has passed away.
Sadlowski, mayor of North Battleford from 2003 to 2009, passed away Friday night after a long battle with cancer. He was 76.
Funeral services are scheduled for Friday, May 4 at 2 p.m. at Notre Dame de Lourdes Roman Catholic Church. A vigil of prayer for Sadlowski will be held Thursday at the same location at 7:30 p.m.
At North Battleford City Hall, flags were lowered to fly at half-staff in memory of Sadlowski.
In speaking to the News-Optimist Monday, Mayor Ian Hamilton remembered Sadlowski as a “great man” who made a tremendous impact on the North Battleford community.
“I certainly am grieved that Julian has passed away,” said Hamilton.
He described Sadlowski as “a great contributor to the city of North Battleford in many different ways.”
He noted Sadlowski’s 15 years in municipal government serving either as councillor or as mayor. Hamilton also noted Sadlowski’s commitment to education, describing him as “very committed to the youth of North Battleford and area.”
Hamilton also remembered Sadlowski for his work and dedication in preserving the history of the Battlefords.
“He was a big package,” said Hamilton. “He contributed a lot.”
Sadlowski was born in Krydor in 1935. He was trained as a teacher through Saskatoon Teacher’s College and later earned an education degree from the University of Saskatchewan.
He taught in rural Saskatchewan and later North Battleford, and was principal of St. Mary Elementary School until his retirement in 1992.
As his education career wound down, Sadlowski’s career in politics was just ramping up as he served several years as a city councillor after his election in 1991.
A previous bout with cancer forced Sadlowski to leave city council in 2000. But his treatment was successful and in 2003, upon the urging of supporters, Sadlowski ran and was elected mayor of North Battleford, a job he would hold for the next six years.
During his time in public life Sadlowski was a staunch supporter of a number of initiatives. He was a longtime member and supporter of the Trans-Canada Yellowhead Highway Association and supported efforts to twin the Yellowhead Highway due to the safety concerns associated with the single-lane road that existed previously.
Sadlowski also steered the city through challenges in the aftermath of the cryptosporidium outbreak that hit North Battleford’s water supply in 2001.
In its wake came considerable, and expensive, upgrades to the city’s public works. Those efforts took place throughout Sadlowski’s time in the mayor’s chair and continued long after he left office.
Perhaps his greatest legacy, according to Mayor Hamilton, was Sadlowski’s guidance and leadership in efforts to build a multipurpose recreation complex in North Battleford.
Sadlowski could claim credit for seeing the project through to the detailed design phase when he left office in 2009. He took part in the sod-turning ceremonies at the site that year.
One hallmark of his tenure as mayor was his accessibility. As mayor, Sadlowski established his workplace at City Hall at a desk right on the ground floor alongside city employees, instead of in the mayor’s office on the second floor. That way he could be more visible and better able to serve the public, he said.
Another major part of Sadlowski’s life was his interest in art and painting. According to his listing at Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting (NAC) Artists, Sadlowski was a renowned artist whose work incorporated “oil and acrylic paints and pen and ink illustrations into his practice. His work includes logo designs, illustrations of animals, landscape pieces and images of historical buildings.”
Sadlowski’s work was exhibited throughout Canada, and in 1991 it was included in a group exhibition through Culture Canada that toured Canada, the United States and Russia. His art is included in collections of the Government of Alberta, the Canadian Museum of Civilization (Hull, Que.), Ukrainian Museum of Canada (Saskatoon), the Vatican (Rome, Italy) and several others.
His passion for art was something Sadlowski combined with his public duties as mayor on a few occasions, when he would present a piece of artwork that he personally created to recipients at public events.
Last but not least was Sadlowski’s passion for and knowledge of the history of the community. He was also interested in and proud of his Ukrainian heritage.
After his departure from civic politics in 2009, Sadlowski went right to work on what would be his final major project: writing and illustrating a photo book about the history of North Battleford to coincide with the city’s centennial in 2013.
It was a project that Hamilton says Sadlowski was “driven to get done.”
“The last time I saw him, he didn’t know when it was going to end,” noted Hamilton, because Sadlowski would always be coming across some new story to include in the book.
The completed history book is due out next year and serve as one last legacy of both the North Battleford community and Sadlowski’s own personal dedication to it over the past several decades.
Sadlowski leaves behind his wife, his children and grandchildren.
Donations in memory of Sadlowski can be made to the Saskatoon Cancer Centre, 20 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Sask., S7N 4H4 or the Palliative Care Unit through the BUH Foundation, Box 1358, North Battleford, Sk., S9A 3L8. Email condolences can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.