Remembering “Sid”

LACKAWANNA COUNTY -- A well-known state representative is being remembered for his contributions in and out of the political realm.

Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich passed away Tuesday morning after complications from heart surgery.

Rep. Kavulich's regional office was open out of respect for the state representative who died early in the morning at a hospital in Philadelphia.

It was a tough day inside this office as his staff reflected on all the ways he impacted his community.

Sid Michaels Kavulich wore many hats over his lifetime and had just as many different names.

"You could mention him anywhere, whether it was Sid Michaels, Sid Michaels Kavulich, Mike Kavulich, we had so many people call him by different names," said chief of staff Steve Armillay.

But just ask his friends, he was unmistakable.

"We lost a good man, a high character guy, a guy of integrity and moral values, the kind of which I've never really seen," said Armillay.

The state representative passed away following complications after heart surgery. He was a few weeks away from an unopposed election for his fifth term.

Black fabric covered his desk at the state capitol and flags are at half-staff in Harrisburg.

His office in Taylor stayed open. His desk was prepared for his expected return from the hospital. Instead, old friends stopped by to pay their respects.

"Just to be a friend of his was, it was a very great experience," said his friend Joe Bomred.

His staff says he wasn't a natural politician because he hated when people were mad at him but with 50,000 constituents in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties, that was bound to happen.

"One guy mad at him would supersede 20 people who liked him," Armillay said. "He just didn't want anyone mad at him, that bothered him more than anything."

Before politics, he had the on-air name of Sid Michaels covering sports for WYOU-TV and WBRE-TV for 25 years.

"I know Sid for about 35 years," said Joe Fox. "We met when we worked at WBRE, I worked in the production and of course he was on air as a newscaster, sportscaster, I should say.'

Fox says politics seemed like a natural transition for Kavulich since he was already comfortable in front of a camera but that's where the comparisons ended.

"He wasn't your typical politician," Fox said. "He would return a call if you called him. He had his heart in the right spot, that's for sure, there's no question about that."

"In the eight years he was here, he never missed one vote in Harrisburg. He prided himself in being there all the time, being very active in the process," said Armillay.

He was dedicated to his job in Harrisburg but was not your typical state rep.

He took breaks for work to perform. He participated in the Ballet Theatre of Scranton's production of The Nutcracker every Christmas.

He had many cameos with the popular local band "The Wannabees."

"We found out he could sing, so we asked him, 'Why don't you come up and sing a couple songs with the band?' He was thrilled. I can almost name the songs. He would sing 'Down on the Corner,' Credence," recalled Wannabees band member Ron Pascoe.

Kavulich later worked with the band to help restore funding for music education in public schools.

Kavulich wore many hats and his oldest friends say he always wore them well.

"He treated everybody the same, no matter he did in life, he treated everybody the same. That humility is something we all should aspire to," said former WBRE employee Mark Davis.

"You can be anything you want, and you can accomplish anything you want, and his legacy will be that; the key to it was his faith. His faith gave him the confidence to do anything, accomplish anything, be anything," said former state representative Frank Andrews Shimkus.

Rep. Kavulich's name will still be on the ballot for election day, November 6, and his office will continue to operate like it always had until the State House calls for a special election to pick a new representative for the 114th District.

4 comments

  • jsrant

    Really, you guys are going to nitpick about reporting at a time like this? How about some support for the family of another local tv,news icon? He was a good man, let’s leave it at that. Condolences to the family.

  • Tom Zilla

    Your news reporters should figure out what town there in before getting it wrong. Kavulich’s office is in TAYLOR. Not Old Forge!

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