Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sculptor Mieczyslaw Partyka Karol, Prominent in Polish American Community, Found Dead

NY Daily News on Polish-born sculptor acclaimed for his statue of Pope John Paul II outside a Greenpoint church was found dead on Monday, his body washed up on a city beach, police said.

Mieczyslaw Partyka Karol, whose bronze works are on display in galleries in Poland and New York, was found near the shore of Gateway National Recreation Area in Brooklyn.

An avid fisherman, the 51-year-old Karol kept a boat at the nearby Gateway Marina. His wife said she last heard from him as he was repairing his vessel during Sunday night's thunderstorm.

"He called me and we got disconnected," said Izabella Grajner-Partyka. "I went to the marina, and I couldn't find him."

Investigators suspect the sculptor - who had a heart condition - either went into cardiac arrest during the storm or fell off his boat and drowned, police said.

An autopsy is scheduled for today, police said.

His most famous creation, a likeness of Pope John Paul II outside St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church in Greenpoint, became a meeting point for the city's Polish community after the pontiff's 2005 death, his grieving wife remembered.

"I followed him to America," said Grajner-Partyka, who moved with her husband to New York more than 20 years ago.

"I told him when I first met him I'd follow him wherever he'd go," said a tearful Grajner-Partyka. "I didn't know it would end this way."

As news of Karol's death spread, his Richmond Hill, Queens, apartment, which is lined with his sculptures, drew mourners stunned by the jovial artist's sudden death.

"He was very religious, [and] in that Polish world he was a celebrity," said Grajner-Partyka, who said her husband's work was on display in several museums in Eastern Europe. "His whole life, he sculpted."

His final projects were busts of the couple's two teenage daughters, 18-year-old Julia and 13-year-old Taria, but Karol never finished the sculpture of the younger girl.

"Taria isn't finished," sobbed Grajner-Partyka. "He will never finish it."With Barry Paddock
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/07/28/2009-07-28_artists_body_in_bay_polish_sculptor_was_working_on_boat_in_storm_washes_up_on_bk.html#ixzz0MeNZ1KQi

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/07/28/2009-07-28_artists_body_in_bay_polish_sculptor_was_working_on_boat_in_storm_washes_up_on_bk.html

Assemblyman Joseph R.Lentol commented on news of the untimely death of sculptor Mieczyslaw Partyka Karol:

"It is with great sadness that I have learned of the untimely death of Mieczyslaw Partyka Karol. Karol was an integral member of the Polish community in Greenpoint and he will be sorely missed. His beloved statue of Pope John Paul II will now not only commemorate the Pope’s visit, but also Karol’s positive impact on all of us.”

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