NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — Frederick Kalisz Jr., the former mayor of New Bedford, has died, current Mayor Jon Mitchell announced Wednesday. He was 63 years old.
Kalisz served as a city councilor before being elected mayor in 1997. He was New Bedford’s third longest-serving mayor, remaining in office until 2006.
“I was saddened to learn this morning of the sudden passing of former Mayor Frederick M. Kalisz, Jr., a dedicated public servant and a steadfast friend,” Mitchell wrote in a statement. “Mayor Kalisz poured his heart into the job, and New Bedford is the better for it.”
New Bedford-based WBSM-AM reported Kalisz died due to complications from COVID-19.
During his time as mayor, Kalisz established the New Bedford Economic Development Council, oversaw the construction of three middle schools, created a permanent home for SeaLab, renovated the Buttonwood Park Zoo and led the resumption of ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard, according to Mitchell.
After leaving office, he earned a doctorate, led the Parents Alliance for Catholic Education, and since 2017 served as Register of Deeds for Bristol County’s southern district, the mayor added.
“I will miss Fred’s encouragement and support over the years, and I will miss our friendship,” Mitchell said. “Ann and I offer our heartfelt condolences to his wife Pat, his son Ricky, and his many friends and family.”
The city will fly all flags at city buildings at half-staff Wednesday in observance of Kalisz’s passing.