By Jamie Bowlin
I recently had the privilege of sitting down for an interview with Dudley resident Zenon “Doc” Szlyk, MD. I knew it would be an interesting interview, but had no idea how fascinating it would be to hear and write about someone whose life of dedication to his family, his profession, and his community are worthy of note.
Zenon Szlyk was born on New Year’s Day in 1927 in Worcester to Polish immigrants John and Antoinette (Nosel) Szlyk. Doc served in the Army during WWII, and was training with an Amphibious Tank Battalion for the invasion of Japan when the surrender of the Japanese ended the war. He went on to get his BA at Harvard University in 1949, and his medical degree at Georgetown Medical School in 1953. He did his professional training at Worcester City Hospital from 1953-1958, and received professional certifications from the American Board of Surgery in 1959 and the Fellowship of American College of Surgeons in 1966. He has also been a member of the Worcester District Medical Society and the Massachusetts Medical Association over the past 50 years.
Doc Szlyk married Florence P. Kingston in 1953, and moved to Dudley in 1958. He started work as a staff surgeon at the Webster District Hospital, later named Hubbard Regional Hospital. Doc became Chief of Surgery and worked at Hubbard Regional Hospital until his semi-retirement in September 1989. Later that year, and into 1997, he was a physician with Fallon Clinic. He also served as Corporator for the Hubbard Regional Hospital. Doc and Florence raised five children: Virginia, Steven, Joan, Janet, and Laura, who along with their spouses and grand children recently celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary.
During his tenure at Hubbard Regional Hospital, Doc served on the Dudley School Committee from 1962-1971, and as Chairman from 1963-1965. He served on the school committee during the time of planning and building of the Mason Road School. Doc also participated in the events leading to the construction of Shepherd Hill Regional High School. During these same years Doc served a term on the Parish Council of St. Andrew Bobola Church.
He is a Trustee and one of the original founders of the Quo Vadis Club and Trust, founded in 1960. Quo Vadis continues its mission today of supporting excellence in education, through student scholarships and teacher appreciation awards, in the Webster and Dudley-Charlton school districts. In addition to honoring students and teachers, the club also contributes to the annual First Honors Dinner at Shepherd Hill and the Super Team Recognition Dinner at Bartlett High School. Doc and his family proudly supported and contributed to the new Town of Dudley Library. He has been an active member of the Webster First Federal Credit Union since 1968, and currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Doc was associated for several years with the Pope John Paul II Foundation of New England and served for a time as its president. In that capacity he and his wife had the distinguished honor to meet with Pope John Paul II and were contributors to the Pope John Paul II cultural center in Washington, DC.
I asked Doc to share in his own words his thoughts and guiding principles, and he responded with this:
As a child of the real Great Depression, as a Harvard graduate, I take humble pride for my life accomplishments and family, and as a World War II Army Veteran, in being part of that Greatest Generation. My principle guidelines, instilled in me by my parents, are: dedication to the work ethic, respect for and support of education as the primary means for children to advance economically and socially, and promoting a strong family bond handed down to the next generation. My mother and father both lived into their 90’s and were married almost 75 years, and I have been blessed for 59 years to still have the love of my life, Florence “Pat” Szlyk. My life philosophy, interestingly, comes from the word inscribed on my class ring from Harvard, the word Veritas, meaning Truth, from which I have subscribed to a great abiding respect for the sacred devotion of our Founding Fathers, and to carry on their ideals as a unified, freedom-loving people.
In my retirement I have indulged in reading extensively of our country’s founding fathers; biographies of Washington, Adams, Lincoln, and at the age of 85 maintain an active interest in local, state, and national politics.
Doctor Szlyk, the Town of Dudley and all of its residents, as well as our nation owes you a debt of gratitude for your tireless dedication in furthering the health, education, and ideals of our community. Thank you.
- Wednesday, 15 August 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News