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Joseph J. Swedock (Business & Commerce)

Joseph J. Swedock (Business & Commerce)

1906 – 1989

Joseph J. Swedock was born in 1906 to Polish immigrants and resided in Meriden until his death in 1989. In 1912, at the age of 6, he lost both of his legs when hit by a train while playing on the tracks. His father, a foundry worker, passed away only a few years later leaving young Joe as the eldest of six children. Joe started selling newspapers to support the family at the age of 12 and developed his business up to over 250 copies per day plus magazines at his newsstand at the Railroad Station. His Mother died when Joe was just a teenager and Joe kept the family, one brother and four sisters together despite his mother’s deathbed directions to place the two youngest children up for adoption. He supported the family through his newspaper stand and various entrepreneurial ventures such as selling food and newspapers on trains to New York for fight venues. Joe was also a fight promoter / manager who managed teams that included Kid Kaplan’s brother, Noah. Young Joe had peg-legs initially designed for him, but they left him shorter than what his normal height would have been, so he traveled to New York to have prosthetic legs professionally designed to his  specifications. A graduate of Meriden High School, class of 1925, he operated his newsstand full time until 1937 when he began working at the New Departure until 1947. Joe still managed to operate the newsstand part time until he began the Joseph J. Swedock Insurance and Real Estate Company, from 1947 through 1971. Joseph married Mary Slusarczyk and had four children and six grandchildren whom he enjoyed watching grow up. Joe never let his disability get in the way of having a positive attitude, was extremely proud of what he had accomplished and that he was able to see his children succeed. Joseph J. Swedock was well liked and was once quoted in a newspaper article as being the “most well known citizen of Meriden.”