MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee Alderman Joe Dudzik died from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident on the city’s southwest side late Thursday, May 21st. Officials say the accident happened around 11:25 p.m. on W. Morgan Ave. just east of S. 76th St. Police say Dudzik, 56, was riding his motorcycle when he struck barricades warning of a construction site. He was taken to a hospital where he died from his injuries.
The following are video and text statements issued by fellow council members and other officials in southeast Wisconsin:
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
“Alderman Joe Dudzik’s passing marks a very sad day in Milwaukee.
“Through his work as a City employee and, ultimately, as an alderman, Joe dedicated his professional life to the people of this City.
“He held strong opinions that matched his constituents' concerns. And, he was never shy about sharing those opinions with me or his colleagues.
“Joe was passionate about the services Milwaukee provides its residents. He was an advocate for City employees. And, no alderman surpassed his day-to-day commitment to making his district a better place."
“I offer my condolences to Joe's family and friends.”
Common Council President Michael Murphy
"It is with a heavy heart that I learned of the passing of my friend and colleague Alderman Joe Dudzik last night. He will be deeply missed by his colleagues, his constituents, his family and his many, many friends.
"Joe made a career as a dedicated public servant, serving with great distinction for more than 20 years in the Department of Public Works before he was elected Alderman in 2002. As an elected official, he very ably represented the South Side district where he lived most of his life. He was a passionate advocate for the South Side, and took great delight in repeatedly telling those of us on the council that his was, in fact, the best district in the city."
"Joe’s zeal for public service was outshined only by his love for his wife Lynn and his sons, Jeffrey and Jake. While he achieved many things, his family was by far his proudest accomplishment. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers."
Milwaukee Alderman James Bohl
"If Alderman Joe Dudzik was still with us today, he would have a good laugh at my expense. He would point out that this is the first time in a long time that I have been at a loss for words. His laughter and his stories would be a great comfort on a day when we sorely need it.
"I was incredibly saddened to learn of Joe’s passing, and I offer my deepest condolences to his wife, Lynn, and their sons. I hope the community will rally around his family in the days and weeks ahead and show them the love, the dedication and the support that they will be lacking in Joe’s absence. Joe’s proudest achievement was his family, and he loved them very much.
"Since he joined the Common Council in 2002, Joe has represented his South Side district with great strength of convictions, always doing what he believed was best for his district and Milwaukee. The son of a Milwaukee Police officer, Joe was a longtime Department of Public Works employee before joining the Common Council. For him, public service wasn’t just a career—it was a way of life. He was a great neighbor who would lend you the shirt off his back, or as was the case with his constituents, might drive up with his pickup truck to assist with a front yard clean-up.
"Joe was a quintessential son of Milwaukee, and he made his district proud. He approached his job with a blue-collar sensibility, humility, a great sense of humor and an unrivaled work ethic. He always did his homework, threw himself into his job and never sought recognition for his good deeds.
"It’s not often that you see a politician eschew the spotlight, but for Joe, doing right was more important than getting the credit. He didn’t believe in speaking on issues when it wasn’t necessary and didn’t lightly offer an opinion; but when he did speak, it was always from the position of a well-thought-out conviction. He was never shy about sharing those convictions, but he was always respectful and didn’t take disagreements personally. He and I found time to chat every day at work, and I’m glad for it.
"Joe believed that what’s best for the city was more important than his image. And now, that image is what we have to remember him by—a down-to-earth, hard-working son of Milwaukee who lived life to its fullest and strived to do what was best for his family and his hometown. He will be sorely missed as a valued colleague. More importantly, he will be missed as a good friend."
Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan
"This morning, I’m deeply saddened to join my Common Council colleagues in mourning the tragic loss of Alderman Joe Dudzik. Joe and I have been friends for many years, and his dedication and commitment to his community and his constituents was unmatched."
"Seeing the life of such an upstanding man cut short like this makes one pause and take stock of the things that are truly important—life itself, family, good health and God. At the end of the day, it sure as hell isn’t politics."
"My thoughts and prayers are with Joe, his wife and his boys, his mother and everyone who knew and cared for this proud South Side Milwaukeean."
Milwaukee Alderman José G. Pérez
"As a colleague, as a friend and as a fellow south-sider, I offer my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Alderman Joe Dudzik, who passed away last night."
"Joe was a vocal advocate for the South Side, and it was my pleasure to serve with him. In person or in committee meetings, his personality, his zest for life and his sense of humor stand out as some of his defining features. He will be deeply missed here at City Hall."
"Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers."
County Executive Chris Abele
"I am deeply saddened by the news of Joe Dudzik’s passing. I’d like to extend my heartfelt condolences to him, his wife, and his two sons. He was a tireless advocate for his constituents and cared deeply about our community. His family is in my thoughts."
Milwaukee County Supervisor Mark Borkowski
“Joe and I had many mutual constituents. We were always in some neighborhood together and we got each other’s calls. We had fun, with him saying ‘call your county supervisor’ and me saying, ‘call Ald. Dudzik, he’d be happy to help.’
“Joe Dudzik was a good, honorable and decent man who dedicated his life to his family and to his community. He was an outstanding alderman, but more important he was a tremendous father and husband. He was a dear friend, and his untimely death has left his family and friends devastated. I offer my prayers and condolences to everyone who knew him. He will be dearly missed.”
Department of Public Works Commissioner Ghassan Korban
"The Department of Public Works is deeply saddened at the passing of our friend and colleague Ald. Joe Dudzik."
"Ald. Dudzik served the City of Milwaukee first as a dedicated DPW staff member for 20 years. He held positions in our Street Maintenance division and was promoted several times during his tenure."
"After his election to Alderman of the 11th District, DPW staff worked closely with him on many projects and service requests. We appreciated his leadership on the Common Council and his commitment to serving his constituents in his district as well as all City residents."
"Joe Dudzik will be missed, and we offer our deepest sympathies to his wife Lynn, his sons Jake and Jeffrey, his extended family and to his many friends."
Alderman Joe Davis, Sr.
"Yesterday, my wife and I celebrated the gift of life my parents gave me. So as you can imagine, when I woke up this morning and heard the sad news of my colleague Alderman Joe Dudzik's passing, it was a shock."
"He fondly referred to me as his twin, and I would always shoot back that you could tell us apart by the fact that he had been blessed with hair."
"Life's journey can hit you when you least expect it. So now, as I continue to celebrate my gift of life, I will always cherish Joe’s memory."
"Be blessed, brother. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has seen your work, and he is well pleased. Much love to Lynn and the family."
Alderman Russell Stamper
"Learning of the tragic death of my colleague, Alderman Joe Dudzik, has left me with a heavy heart. Joe was a devoted and passionate public servant. I served with Joe on the Licenses Committee, and although we may have disagreed on many issues, the Common Council and staff are a family, and we’ve lost a member of that family. It was clear that Joe’s focus on city matters was to always do what he believed was best for the city and its residents.
"My thoughts and prayers go to Lynn, their sons, and all of Alderman Dudzik’s friends and family at this very difficult time."
Alderman Robert W. Puente
"It is with a heavy heart that I offer my deepest condolences to the friends and family of Alderman Joe Dudzik, a dedicated friend and colleague whom I will miss greatly."
"I had the pleasure of serving with Joe on the Public Works Committee, the Public Safety Committee and the Licenses Committee. His insight and expertise, particularly pertaining to public works matters, were invaluable and unmatched, and the city will be worse for his absence. I will truly miss working with him."
"My thoughts and prayers are with Joe’s family during this difficult time."
State Sen. Lena Taylor
"Alderman Dudzik was a committed public servant to Milwaukee and his constituents. My prayers and condolences go out to his wife, sons, family and friends. May God bless you during these difficult times."
Director Clare Zautke
"I'm saddened by the death of Alderman Joe Dudzik. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time."
"Joe's work touched the lives of thousands of individuals; he was dedicated to his community and to making a better life for the people of Milwaukee."
"I knew Joe both as a neighbor and as a colleague. He was committed to building a better world, one block at a time, and he was able to disagree without being disagreeable. Joe always believed in the promise of the City of Milwaukee."
"Rest in peace, Joe."
Alderman Ashanti Hamilton
"I join my colleagues and the entire City Hall family in mourning the loss of Alderman Joe Dudzik. Although we may not have always agreed on issues, we were always able to put our differences aside and support each other professionally."
"Representing large numbers of people is not an easy task, but Joe made it look easy because he was so dedicated to his district and his constituents. He truly loved being the 11th District alderman, and no one can deny that he represented his constituents’ interests with intensity, loyalty and personal devotion."
" He will be missed, and I offer my sincerest condolences to his wife, his sons, and to his entire family."