Mark Wolosik, long-time Allegheny County elections chief, dies
Mark Wolosik, who served in the Allegheny Elections office for nearly 50 years and headed the department for 17, died unexpectedly Sunday, county officials said.
Wolosik, 65, of Shaler, was well known and respected in the region and the state for his temperament and knowledge of elections law.
He retired from the county Elections Division in September.
— Allegheny Co. Exec. (@ACE_Fitzgerald) September 7, 2018
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said Wolosik began working in the elections office while in high school and remained for more than 48 years. He worked on more than 100 elections during his tenure.
“Mark was a mentor to many, and even after he retired last September, he remained a source of knowledge and a giver of advice for anyone who sought it,” Fitzgerald said in a statement. “Mark was looking forward to playing his guitars and riding his bikes in his retirement, and we know that he was doing both and enjoying spending Election Day on his deck after, of course, casting his vote. He continued to remain in touch with many of our employees and staff and gave of his time to provide insight and knowledge to those who have been working on a variety of projects related to the office.”
News of his death shocked friends and colleagues across the state.
Beaver County Elections Director Dorene Mandity said she was devastated by the news.
“I called him, “The legend,’” Mandity said. “If I called and said, ‘Mark I need to know about this,’ he would just cite the section of the law. He knew it off the top of his head. He was so well known, so knowledgeable, that everybody went to him. He helped me more times than I can say.”
Joseph Sabino Mistick, a Duquesne University professor of election law, said anyone involved with elections in Allegheny County over the past 40 years knew and respected Wolosik. He said Wolosik would lecture in his class on occasion.
“We were lucky to have a public servant with his dedication and his compassion for the community and the cause,” Mistick said. “He spent his life just trying to serve the public without favor. He was just right up the middle.”
County Common Pleas Judge Tom Flaherty described Wolosik as “one of the most nonpartisan people I ever knew.”
Flaherty, who served as a legislator, Pittsburgh councilman and controller and head of the county Democratic Party, said he spent hours with Wolosik over the years discussing such things as elections, referendums and political disputes.
“He was perfect for the job, honest as the day is long, unflappable and just right by the book,” Flaherty said. “Thank God that Allegheny County had someone like that running the Department of Elections.”
Wolosik is survived by his wife, Cheryl, a stepson, Justin, and a step-grandson. A memorial service will be planned for a future date.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .