Hamtramck's Piast Institute founder, historian Thaddeus Radzilowski dies at 80

Radzilowski contributed to US-Polish relations

Thaddeus C. Radzilowski (WDIV)
Thaddeus C. Radzilowski (WDIV)

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – The founder of the Piast Institute died Friday.

Dr. Thaddeus C. Radzilowski was a historian and academic who studied and wrote manuscripts about Poland and Central and Eastern Europe.

Radzilowski co-founded the Piast Institute in 2003, along with Virginia Skrzyniarz. The Hamtramck-based national research center is devoted to Polish and Polish-American affairs. It has produced position papers, school curricula, research reports, conducted surveys, and organized conferences and exhibits. Radzilowski also cultivated relationships with Polish universities and institutions.

He was a corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He also served as an advisor and consultant to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the U.S. Bureau of the Census, and he was a member of the Ford Foundation Commission on Ethnicity on American Life.

Radzilowski received many awards throughout his life, and in 1999, Poland's president presented him with the Cavaliers Cross of the Polish Order of Merit for distinguished contributions to the dissemination of Polish culture in the world. 

Radzilowski also served in the U.S. Armed Forces during Vietnam.

He taught at the University of Michigan, Madonna University, Heidelberg College, and Southwest Minnesota State University. He also served as the president of St. Mary College. 

He is survived by his wife, Kathleen, three sons, John, Paul, and Stefan, grandchildren Radek and Diana, sisters Fran and Cynthia, and brothers, Norbert and Fred.

According to the Piast Institute, Radzilowski will be remembered for "his charm, his sense of humor, his countless stories, his sharp mind, and his infectious cheerfulness."

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