There are flowers that bloom inside the rectory at St. Rosalie’s Roman Catholic Church in Hampton Bays, and vegetables that grow in the garden outside of the church. Up until Saturday, they were tended to and cared for by Zbigniew Lutrzykowski, who worked a second job cleaning at the parish for the last five years.
Tending to those flowers and vegetables was not part of his duties — but it was something the father of three did anyway. It’s an example of what those who knew him say was his consistent desire to always go above and beyond what was expected of him.
That aspect of his personality is what many people say they will remember about Lutrzykowski, who died unexpectedly in his sleep on Saturday at the age of 48.
Lutrzykowski lived in Hampton Bays with his wife, Edyta, and his three sons — Maciej, 13, Jakub, 11, and Lukasz, 7 — but he was a beloved member of the Bridgehampton community as well, having worked as a custodian in the Bridgehampton School for the last nine years. He was a diligent and hard worker, “someone you always knew you could depend on,” according to Bridgehampton School Principal Mike Miller.
Lutrzykowski, who was known by the nickname “Ziggy,” was “a household name” in the Bridgehampton School community, Miller added. He worked the 2 to 10 p.m. custodial shift at the school during the school year, and worked the day shift in the summer. Miller said that Lutrzykowski was “irreplaceable.”
“He worked hard, and really took pride in his work,” Miller said. “He was instrumental in fixing things, and took care of the fish tank in the school. He was an all-around great person, and someone that made our district better.”
Miller said that Lutrzykowski was particularly helpful at nighttime events at the school, and was a steady and consistent presence. Not every faculty member had a chance to get to know Lutrzykowski, but Miller said he had several interactions with him that left a strong impression. He said he was particularly struck by how deeply he cared for his family, and in particular for his youngest son, who has special needs and disabilities and uses a wheelchair.
“He always wanted to help, and never had a bad attitude,” he said. “His dream was to find a cure for his son.”
Miller recalled having a conversation with Lutrzykowski when his own daughter was born.
“The first thing he wanted to talk about was, is she healthy?” Miller said. “From there, he talked about how lucky I was to have a healthy baby. It puts into perspective the things he goes through when he’s not here.”
Father S.A. Maddaloni at St. Rosalie’s had praise for Lutrzykowski as well, echoing Miller’s sentiments.
“He was very proud of getting the flowers to bloom in the rectory, and would bring in potted vegetable plants for the garden outside,” he said. “He really went the extra mile to take care of things around here, and he really cared about his family.”
Lutrzykowski originally hailed from Poland, and met his wife, Edyta, who also comes from Poland, in the States. She said through tears on Tuesday that her husband was “irreplaceable.”
“He was the greatest father to my boys,” she said, adding that he loved to take them fishing and to soccer games and practices. “He was always there for them, and whatever he could do for them, he would do.”
She spoke of his dedication to supporting his family “in every way he could,” and said he was equally committed and steadfast in his work life.
“He knew everything about every job he was doing, and he was good at it,” she said. “He just wanted everyone to be happy and to make everyone happy. He always put others before himself.
“He was just a wonderful husband and a great, great father. My kids miss him terribly.”
There is a GoFundMe account set up to help support the Lutrzykowski family at gofund.me/fa45fb21.