Torrington: As I went about gathering stories for this tribute to Mary Jane Gryniuk, I kept noticing a common theme.
Her passion for family, this city and baseball.
Did she ever make a glorious impact on all of those while we had her here.
I remember in my early days of doing some freelance work for the Reister Citizen, running into Mary Jane in the parking lot of her beloved Fuessenich Park.
I’ll never forget her positive reinforcement of my work towards celebrating what was good in the city and at the grand old ballpark.
Whenever I would see her out in a store, long after she was no longer our mayor, I recall how she lit up when she talked to you which, of course, made you light up as well.
She had that effect on people that she met and I, like so many, were better having known her.
Since her passing, I have gotten to know some of her family and to a person, you can tell how her influence made them who they are today.
Thank you to all who participated in the creation of this tribute.
And thank you Mary Jane Gryniuk.
You were loved by many.
Chris Cook-Former President of the Torrington Twisters
Michelle Cook: State Representative 65 District
When I think about former Mayor Mary Jane Grynuik, I am reminded of a person who truly cared about her community; a mentor who epitomized the meaning of bipartisanship; a strategic thinker who always took the long view when making decisions; a neighbor who genuinely cared for the people closest to her; and a great sportsman who loved competition and watching young people enjoy games. Mary Jane was a true friend and someone that my wife, Representative Michelle Cook, and I miss every day.
Mary Jane deeply cared about the people of Torrington. She wanted to preserve our rich history while, at the same time, empowering us to be competitive in a global community. As mayor, she prioritized the young people of our town and accomplished her goal of renovating Fuessenich Park! Through her tireless leadership, our town hosted the Torrington Twisters, Torrington Titans, Team USA, Team China, and Team Dominican. She was committed to providing the citizens of Torrington opportunities for multi-generational family fun! My family and I still talk about our memories hosting Twisters and Titans in our home, and we have Mary Jane Grynuik to thank!
Mary Jane was a dedicated, committed, and tireless civic leader. As a staunch democrat, she encouraged countless others to share in her enthusiasm and zeal for our party. She encouraged me to seek election to the Board of Public Safety in 1998 and was a strong mentor to me as we served together for so many years. Additionally, she was extremely supportive of my wife, Michelle, when she decided to seek the office of State Representative for the 65th District. Mary Jane’s advice, counsel, and wisdom were invaluable to both of us and to so many more!
Mary Jane believed in fairness, open communication, compromise, and respect. Despite being a leader in the democratic party, she always worked and collaborated with republicans. She did not believe that anyone should be labeled, and she always encouraged everyone to speak their mind, even if they disagreed with her. In her administration, everyone had a right to be heard and everyone was heard during her tenure as Torrington’s mayor. Mary Jane looked passed rhetoric and truly got to know the individual. Mary Jane’s senses of humor, kindness, and empathy were recognized by everyone who were fortunate to know her.
In closing, I wish to thank Mary Jane Grynuik for being an excellent mayor, dedicated public servant, committed leader, tireless advocate, and a friend to so many. She is truly missed.