Life is what Dr. Tadeusz Maciejczyk was all about.
The Polish-born physician, who moved to Milledgeville in 1965, helped preserve life at his small-town doctor’s practice. For more than 40 years, Dr. Maciejczyk (Ma-cheese-ik) treated the illnesses of local townsfolk.
Maciejczyk and his wife, Bernarda, gave life to four daughters and a son.
As an amateur artist, Maciejczyk recorded life’s moments using a paint brush and canvass.
As a gardener, Maciejczyk grew food to nourish life.
As a prolific letter writer, Maciejczyk recorded his views on all aspects of life and sent them far and wide.
And we do mean “prolific.” In 2004, the doctor published a 736-page book that contained nearly two decades’ worth of his letters. Within “The World Seen from the Distance of a Small Village,” a reader will find copies of letters that Maciejczyk wrote to presidents, world leaders, elected officials of all stripes, politicians, various groups and organizations, medical agencies, magazines and newspapers.
He offered advice, pointed out hypocrisy, leveled complaints, defended his rights, and generally served as a conscience (welcomed or not) for the recipients of his letters.
Born in 1923, Dr. Maciejczyk knew European totalitarianism firsthand. He seemed to revel in the freedoms he found in America, and his writings reflected that passion.
After a long and productive life, Dr. Maciejczyk, 89, died Monday at his home.
For quite awhile, the good doctor was a frequent letter writer to Sauk Valley Media. In a 2002 letter, he wrote: “Your Gazette gave me so many times a welcomed place for me to express my thoughts and my ideas, helping me in this way to understand myself and to grow. That help represented an enormous stimulus to me to continue writing and in this way to participate in the life of this our place and of the country. For all those helping, I am grateful.”
But those words did not prevent Maciejczyk from needling Sauk Valley Media in 2007 for failing to act on his suggestion that coverage of academics and poetry should receive as much attention as sports. “So many times I was looking in your paper for which school or person was rewarded by you as a champion in literature, in mathematics, in geography or history. I never found on your pages such information.”
His last letter appeared in January: “I thank from all my heart all who sent me so many birthday and then Christmas time wishes. I wish the same to them.”
Dr. Mac will be missed by his family, friends and former patients.
We will miss him, too.