Bernard P. Dzielinski, Democratic leader

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Bernard P. Dzielinski of Ridgefield, a Democratic leader who chaired several agencies in town, died Monday, Feb. 6. He was 94 years old and the husband of Shirley Anderson Dzielinski.

A Connecticut native and UConn graduate, Dzielinski had been an IBM program and product administrator before his retirement in the late 1980s.

He and Shirley — a teacher at Veterans Park School for many years — came to Ridgefield in 1968 and almost immediately he became active in the Democratic Town Committee. In 1973, he was elected its chairman and that same year, the party won one of its most spectacular victories, putting Louis J. Fossi in the first selectman’s office and Lillian Moorhead on the Board of Selectmen — Democrats controlled the town administration, despite Ridgefield’s two-to-one Republican majority.

Dzielinski led the party for 10 years, retiring in 1983 so he could run for the Board of Selectmen, which was being expanded from three to five members.

“I’ve paid my dues,” he said then of his “backstage” role, “and now it’s time for Bernie to have some fun.”

He remained a selectman until 1988 when, an economist by training, he was appointed to a vacancy on the Board of Finance. In the 1989 election, his name was accidentally left off the ballot, creating one of Ridgefield’s more unusual election situations. No one else was running for his seat, so he filed papers as a write-in candidate who needed only one write-in vote to win. And he did win, with many more than one vote.

Soon after, he was elected chairman of the finance board, a position he held into the early 2000s

Dzielinski had earlier served 12 years on the town’s Pension Commission, eight of them as chairman.

He was president of the Babe Ruth Baseball League for two years and coached in the Ridgefield Townies Basketball League.

Dzielinski had grown up on a farm in upstate Connecticut and for a number of years in his retirement, he grew vegetables that he sold at area farmers markets. He was especially known for his potatoes, several varieties of which he grew using land he leased at the old Fairfield Hills mental hospital in Newtown.

Over the years, Dzielinski has always been known for his fairness. He once advised a successor to “try to keep a balance in your perspective on questions and issues being raised. It’s fine to look totally from a partisan point of view, but sometimes you must bite your tongue.”

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 1:00 PM at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church; 55 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield. Interment will follow in St. Mary Cemetery, Ridgefield.

Friends will be received on Friday, February 10, 2017 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at Kane Funeral Home; 25 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield.