BRISTOL - Mike â€śBogeyâ€ť Boguslawski, the Bristol-born consumer reporter known for his catchphrase â€śIâ€™m in your corner,â€ť died Wednesday night.
Boguslawski, 78, also was a former city councilor who served two terms in the 1970s. He attended St. Anthonyâ€™s High School and was an All-State basketball player in 1959. He later studied to become a Catholic brother at Stigmatine Fathers Seminary in Wellesley, Mass.
Boguslawski worked for Wallace Barnesâ€™ spring and steel division for 10 years.
He worked for WTNH, Channel 8, in New Haven, and WVIT, Channel 30, in West Hartford as a consumer reporter and later took consumer protection jobs in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. It was during his television run that he coined his famous catchphrase.
Boguslawski had served as union steward for AFL-CIO Local 712, where he advocated for worker safety and compensation issues. He was also, at one time, the president of Young Democrats of Connecticut.
Boguslawski said he had a total of 25 years of public service under his belt when interviewed in March 2017. At that time, he had announced that he would be joining the Democratic ticket that included Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, running for treasurer and promising to give back any money he earned for the position out of â€śa love for the people.â€ť
â€śI love people, I care about people. People are my life,â€ť he said at the time. â€śWhether you are rich or poor or black or white, I care about you. The reason Iâ€™m taking no pay is because there are people in Bristol who are suffering or on Social Security. That money can go back into the coffers. Anything to help out. Maybe I can get other elected officials to do the same.â€ť
Ultimately, Boguslawski didnâ€™t get the position, winning 5,403 votes to Thomas Barnesâ€™ 6,857 votes.
Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu was writing Boguslawskiâ€™s obituary Thursday.
â€śHe was just loved in Bristol,â€ť she said. â€śWhen he was growing up, he spent a lot of his time at the Boys & Girls Club, Rockwell Park and Muzzy Field.â€ť
Boguslawski had spent the last few years of his life at The Pines, a health and rehabilitation center. He said in 2017 that he went there to recover from serious injuries, including a broken femur, suffered in 2016.
â€śI had problems walking, raising my hand and talking,â€ť said Boguslawski. â€śThere is no place in the country like The Pines. The exercise room is the best in the business and the people here really care about patient needs.â€ť
Zoppo-Sassu said that, after Boguslawski came back to Bristol to recover from the car accident that broke his leg, he continued to try to advocate for people in town.
â€śHe considered the people at The Pines to be like his extended family,â€ť she said. â€śI saw him Monday when he was at Bristol Hospital and Iâ€™d heard that heâ€™d helped someone to resolve a car issue. Up until the end, he was in the peopleâ€™s corner.â€ť
Before going to The Pines, he had hoped to run for governor.
â€śI wanted to make a difference in Connecticut.â€ť he said. â€śBut I decided I wanted to focus on Bristol and its money.â€ť
Boguslawski would also organize Friday luncheons at The Pines, which started in 2017. He would order meals from P.F. Changâ€™s, Costco, Olive Garden and other businesses.
â€śItâ€™s because I love people,â€ť Boguslawski told columnist Bob Montgomery for his column. â€śI care about them, and you know what? It makes me happy to see people eat. The greatest thing to make a person happy is through their stomach.â€ť
Zoppo-Sassu said Boguslawski used his contacts to convince people to donate to the luncheons. He would then invite his friends and other members of the community to join him.
Jazmine Johnson, a certified nursing assistant at The Pines, was quoted in Montgomeryâ€™s column as calling Boguslawskiâ€™s luncheons a blessing.
â€śIt gives us some hope and itâ€™s encouraging to see someone like him want to continually do this for the staff and community,â€ť she said. â€śIt truly makes a difference in the community. It brings us together. We all come from different job titles.â€ť
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.