By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – Former mayor and city councilmember Leonard Sabuda, 86, died Nov. 28, leaving behind a legacy of public service.
Sabuda also served as interim city clerk and as a municipal service commissioner. He was the founder of the beautification commission, and he started the city’s annual tree lighting tradition.
Mayor Robert DeSana said Sabuda had “his heart and soul in Wyandotte.”
Councilmember Chris Calvin said he learned a lot from Sabuda over the years.
“He was wonderful to the community of Wyandotte and he will be missed,” he said.
Councilmember Robert Alderman said he sat next to Sabuda during his first term.
“I got educated whether I wanted it or not,” he said. “He told me how to dress every meeting; please forgive me for not having a tie on. He said a suit and tie – he was a stickler for that.”
Alderman said Sabuda was outspoken, and people let him vent, as he was “probably correct 80 percent of the time.”
“It told him one time, ‘I hope I can learn half of what you’ve forgot,’” he said. “He was just a great guy and I learned from him as a councilman, and I will carry that through.”
City Clerk Larry Stec said at one point, he, Jim DeSana and Leonard Sabuda, all former mayors, were serving on the city council, along with sitting mayor Joseph Peterson.
Larry Stec said Sabuda was strong with his opinions, but one always knew where one stood with him.
“There was no beating around the bush with Len,” he said. “He punched you in the stomach; he never stabbed you in the back. I loved the guy, and I will miss him a lot.”
City Attorney William Look said Sabuda was a big part of Wyandotte, who never took a ruling the city attorney made personally.
“He respected other people’s views, but he made sure you understood what his view was,” he said.
Councilmember Kelly Stec said she did not get a chance to serve with Sabuda, but his imprint on the city was remarkable.
“We all see it every day, especially this season, looking out at the tree,” she said.
The youngest of eight children, Sabuda was born in Detroit. He married Caroline Pawlowski on Oct. 17, 1959, and in January 1960, the couple moved to Wyandotte, where they raised two sons, David (Karen Zalewski) Sabuda and Gary (Linda Lewandowski) Sabuda. They have two grandchildren, Mary Sabuda, (Sean Hughes) and Steven Sabuda (Lillian Hill).
Sabuda graduated from the Detroit Institute of Technology and attended the University of Detroit. He also served eight years in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
A businessman, he owned and operated several 7-Eleven stores in Wyandotte.
He was a member of the Polish Army Veterans Association Placowka Post 95, the Knights of Columbus Council 1802 of Wyandotte, the Democratic Club of Wyandotte and St. Joseph Catholic Church of Wyandotte.