New Bedford lost a homegrown statesman too soon. Dr. Frederick M. Kalisz, Jr. was a Ward 2 city councilor, the mayor, and was currently the Bristol County Register of Deeds.

COVID-19 robbed the city of a leader, but it can't steal his legacy. The pandemic will prevent the kind of wake and funeral a man of his accomplishments would receive in normal times. However, the people of Greater New Bedford will make sure his name and memory are preserved for generations to come.

In addition to being an elected official, Fred Kalisz was a husband, father, brother, son, and friend. He earned a doctoral degree and taught at the University of Massachusetts and Bristol Community College. He worked to defend and expand the educational opportunities of Catholic school children in Massachusetts.

As mayor, he built three public schools for all of the kids in his city. He understood the importance of education and the ladder it offered for everyone who had access to it.

Naming a school after the late mayor seems the proper honor.

It is difficult to take a name off an existing school, but it is the right thing to do in this case.

Naming a school for the late Mayor Frederick Kalisz, Jr., Ph.D. isn't just an honor for him; it can serve as an inspiration for all of the city kids who walk the halls of that building.

I also think a statue would be appropriate to greet the kids as they start the day. Below the statue, a brief biography to tell his inspirational story long after all of us have gone, too.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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