GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids man died from a heart attack while clearing snow on Tuesday.
Tom Uzarski was well-known in the Polish community, particularly for his music.
Around age 10 or 12, family members said, Uzarski followed in his father’s foot steps and started playing the saxophone. He wasn’t into blues or jazz: He played polka. He joined his first polka band at age 14.
Uzarski was the oldest of 10 siblings — five girls and five boys. They have a rich Polish heritage that Uzarski carried on.
“That was his love and passion,” his brother Mike Uzarski said.
He was involved in Pulaski Days and the Dozynski Polish Festival.
“He was always happy. Always had a smile happy to see you,” Mike Uzarski said. “He’ll be missed.”
Tom Uzarski was found laying face-down in a snowbank after he went out to clear the snow at the printing business property he owned in Grand Rapids on Tuesday afternoon.
“It was pretty obvious that it was sudden. He went down and that was it,” Uzarski said. “It was a real shock to everybody to hear Tom had passed.”
Doctors told the family he had a heart attack.
“I know that shoveling snow has got to be done. I guess just take it easy and be wise about it,” Uszarski said.
Dr. David Barber, MD, and emergency room physician at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital told 24 Hour News 8 the American Heart Association has some sound advice on how to avoid having a heart attack while shoveling
“They recommend using a smaller shovel or snow blower when shoveling snow. That helps decrease the load that you put on the heart,” said Dr. Barber.
They also recommend avoiding alcohol and heavy meals around the time you are shoveling.
24 Hour News 8’s Joe LaFurgey contributed to this report.