Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lost in the Wilderness of Suburban Jersey

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lost in the Wilderness of Suburban Jersey

Article excerpt

IN NOVEMBER, Wayne residents and members of the Wayne Hills High School football team crowded a room in the Municipal Building to rally around nine football players who had been criminally charged for aggravated assault. The story made headlines. Wayne was in the news for weeks. A lot of people had an opinion. Not Donald Domsky. He was dead.

In fact, Domsky is believed to have died inside his Wayne home in December 2010. His body was found, according to police, collapsed in the doorway of a bedroom this January. His head was leaning into a hallway. The exact cause of death cannot be determined because too much time had passed since he died. He would have been 80 this August.

As The Record reported Friday, Domsky was somewhat of a recluse. His one tradition was walking to a local eatery, where he had become a fixture. Well, not enough of one, apparently.

When he stopped showing up, a customer stopped by Domsky's house, knocked on the door and got no reply. That person assumed Domsky had moved out to live with a relative. No one checked further. The mail piled up. No one checked. His lawn went un-mowed. The town mowed it after complaints, but didn't check inside the house. Domsky's water bill went unpaid and a lien was put on his house. The buyer of the lien paid back taxes and utility bills. Incredibly, at least to me, a second lien was purchased on Domsky's home. Still no one checked.

Maybe it should come as no surprise that people die without being noticed. People live without being noticed, so it follows that death changes nothing. Yet when you think of what we do notice, what we do get exercised over, the death of Donald Domsky cries out to the heavens.

Last year's Wayne Hills football scandal was legitimate news. But the reaction among Wayne team supporters was disproportionate to public concern over the alleged assault victims. Football matters. Go look at the arena of crying eyes over the death of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, all those eyes ignoring the possibility Paterno may have enabled a sexual predator. One thing is for sure: Paterno didn't die unnoticed. …

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