From Laura Furtman
I have some sad news to report. Our good friend and fellow activist, John Styczinski, Jr., has "walked on." I am told he had a massive stroke last Tuesday and died the next morning (April 30, 2008). His funeral was held on Saturday in Ladysmith. I am sorry to not get this news to you earlier, but I was out of town last week and did not hear about it until yesterday when I returned home. Not only was John a central figure in fighting Kennecott in Wisconsin, but more recently he met with people from Minnesota and even traveled to Marquette, Michigan (2003) to share his words of wisdom with those facing the latest onslaught of ill-conceived mining proposals.
John was a central figure in the Rusk County Citizens Action Group (RCCAG) from the very beginning, when the group was founded in 1976 to fight Kennecott's proposal to build the Flambeau Mine. And he never stopped fighting. Last year he, as the head of RCCAG, filed a complaint against Kennecott's request to obtain a "Certificate of Completion" for its reclamation of the Flambeau Mine site and participated in the contested case hearing that ultimately denied the company a clean bill of health for the mine site (due to pollution problems that could not and to this day still cannot be denied). John was also a member of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council from its inception in 1982 and a faithful presence at the meetings of the Wolf Watershed Educational Project in the 1990s, where he worked with his friends from Crandon and around the state to push for and ultimately witness the enactment of Wisconsin's mining moratorium law. I might add that John was the Chairman of the Town of Marshall in Rusk County for many years, where he was the force that convinced the town's voters to pass a local mining moratorium resolution in 1982 that stands to this day. John was also a central figure in the Rusk County Democratic Party, where he served many terms as Chair (please see the chapter from The Buzzards Have Landed! to read about one of John's more interesting and colorful experiences in the Party).
Roscoe Churchill and John were close friends and allies before, during and after the controversial mining years in Wisconsin. Here is how Roscoe described him in 2006: "John continues to be my main support to this day. No matter how far we have to drive or what needs to be done, John and I stand shoulder-to-shoulder. I can always depend on him. He knows what is going on, is well-versed in everything and not afraid to speak up. We drive around the state together, going to meetings at Mole Lake, Shawano, Rhinelander, Madison or wherever mining issues are being discussed. Plus, John has been one of the main forces that has kept the Rusk County Citizens Action Group alive over the years, to say nothing of the Rusk County Democratic Party. I am so grateful to have such a friend."
I am grateful, too, as I know you are.
For anyone wishing to send condolences to John's wife, Irene, here is her address:
C-19 Birch St.
Conrath, WI 54731