Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 37
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
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Christopher Budzinski, Borough Engineer, Dies of Heart Attack

Dilshanie Perera

Borough Engineer Christopher M. Budzinski died suddenly last Thursday. He was 50 years old.

Administrator Bob Bruschi said that Mr. Budzinski left work a bit early that day to go play golf with his wife, which was a pastime of his.

“I received a phone call later that evening from his brother, saying that Chris had passed away from what seemed to be a major heart attack on the course,” Mr. Bruschi explained.

A resident of Lawrenceville, Mr. Budzinski had been the municipal engineer for the Township of Lawrence from 1990 to 2007, when he began his tenure in Princeton Borough.

“Chris did a great job of setting up that office,” Mr. Bruschi said of the Engineering Department. “It is amazing … Chris is one of those people where it’s hard to believe he’s only coming up on his third anniversary at the Borough. It’s remarkable how fast a study he was on a very complex community.”

Coming from “a much more suburban community” to Princeton Borough, which has a set of more urban problems and challenges, Mr. Budzinski “picked right up on it and never looked back,” according to Mr. Bruschi.

“I feel as if I’ve known him for significantly longer. He was easy to have a collegial relationship with, and was an easy guy to talk about anything with. He was never short of an opinion on any topic. We had a very good working relationship, as he did with every employee in the building,” Mr. Bruschi said.

For now, the Borough is diverting all engineering questions to Bob Hough, the director of the sewer operating committee. Policy issues will be handled by Mr. Bruschi.

“Chris put a lot of his personality into the way the engineering office is run … and we’re going to make all the decisions the same way we’d make them if he were coming back,” Mr. Bruschi said of the next few weeks of Borough operations.

Strategic members of the staff met on Thursday night, and a general meeting of all administrative staff followed the next morning in which employees were apprised of the news. “This has been hard on the staff,” Mr. Bruschi acknowledged, “to see the reaction on the employees’ faces was difficult at best. And that speaks volumes for the person who passed away.”

“They were clearly upset at losing a colleague and a friend,” he added.

Mr. Budzinski is survived by his wife Cheryl Smith Budzinski and his two sons, Andrew and Jeffery. For a full obituary, see the Obituaries section.

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