BRISTOL – At the funeral Mass of Michael J. “Bogey” Boguslawski Monday morning, the Very Rev. Steven Boguslawski recalled his late cousin’s television career as a consumer advocate.
“The transmitting of the storyline was as exciting as the fact finding itself. Let’s just say that Mike brimmed with energy for both. When that large fist was thrust toward the cameraman, who wanted to leap backward, accompanied by his tagline ‘I’m Mike Boguslawski and I’m in your corner!’ both fist and phrase converged as the exclamation point of the storyline – as if to say to the viewers ‘OK, justice has been restored, and don’t you forget it!’ ”
Bristol native Mike Boguslawski, 78, died March 13. He was best known for his colorful consumer reports during the 1970s and 1980s on WTNH and WVIT, with his famous tagline.
He attended St. Anthony High School where he was a stand-out athlete, named as an All State Basketball player in 1959; then attended Stigmatine Fathers Seminary in Wellesley, Mass.; and worked a number of local jobs including as an auxiliary state trooper.
In the early 1970s, he was elected to two terms on the City Council, before making his name as a consumer advocate. His television career would also take him to Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Florida.
The funeral Mass was at St. Anthony Church. The pallbearers were former mayor Gerard Couture, Morris Laviero, John Fasolo, Bill Roccanello and Rit McCarthy, all high school friends and/or teammates of the deceased. The first and second readings were by Mike Stella and Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, the bread and wine were brought up to the altar by Lynn Kramer and Tina Stella.
Among those in attendance were Calvin Brown, representing the Bristol Democratic town committee; Police Chief Brian Gould, and Police Sgt. Patrick Krajewski; and Arunan Arulampalam, deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.
Rev. Boguslawski gave a reading from the Gospel of Luke, about Zacchaeus the tax collector, who was small of stature and climbed a sycamore tree to see over the crowd when Jesus entered Jericho. Jesus called out to him and visited his house, although others considered Zacchaeus a sinner because of his profession.
“I could not liken Mike at any stage of his life or demeanor as a man of small stature,” Rev. Boguslawski said. “He was a very large presence. He needn’t climb a sycamore, he was a sycamore, and it was only with the passage of time coupled with the onset of illness that the very large presence begins to give way a bit, and very reluctantly.”
He said his cousin, like Zacchaeus, always “had to see for himself” the facts when someone came to him with their story, and how as a consumer advocate he didn’t judge that person on their external appearance.
He recalled how “Mike” enjoyed sharing food with his colleagues and friends, whether it was “corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day, zeppole on St. Joseph’s day, kielbasa and stuffed cabbage throughout the year.”
“Whatever he shared he always said two things: ‘This is the da best you will ever have!’ And ‘Eat! Eat more! You’re not eating! He reveled in food and doubled his pleasure when it was shared with family and friends. I once teased him, ‘Mike confess it, you never really work. All you do is graze across the state of Connecticut,” Rev. Boguslawski said.
He also recalled that his cousin in his later years expressed sorrow and regret for some bad choices he had made.
God continues to seek out and save all who are seemingly lost,” he said, adding “I transmit this truth to you on behalf of Mike. After all I’m Father Boguslawski and I’m in your corner!”
Rev. Boguslawski also read a letter from his cousin’s son, Michael Jr., which said “My father loved helping people more than anything in his life, he worked so hard his entire life to help others.”
Michael Jr. also wrote that there are two things from his father he would pass on to his own daughter, “be nice to people and be fearless.”
Burial was in the Boguslawski family plot at St. Joseph Cemetery. Donations in his name can be made to the City of Bristol Department of Youth and Community Services Immediate Needs Fund to help families and youth in need, in care of the Mayor’s Office, 111 North Main St., Bristol, CT 06010.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.