Michael M. Poplawsky, of Bridgewater, NJ, passed away on January 16th, 2024, at the age of 70 after a brief illness. Mike was born in Newark, NJ on December 14th, 1953. In 1956 his family moved to Maplewood, NJ where Mike spent his youth.
He attended Columbia High School where he excelled on the varsity basketball team and went on to play for the University of Maine. There, he studied both business and history and graduated with a Bachelor of the Arts in 1976. Upon his graduation, he was offered a contract with the Continental Basketball Association.
He continued to play basketball locally for many years and participated in charity games, including one in which he was matched up with Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants. Mike was proud that he limited LT’s effectiveness on the boards.
During his summers, he worked with his father to support the family business, Maplewood Tire Co, which was founded by his grandfather in 1954. After college, he moved back to Maplewood, and was appointed Vice President of the company. He succeeded his father as President upon his retirement. He worked hard to upgrade the technology of the business and to adopt evolving business practices.
Mike was an avid sports fan and was most excited about the New York Rangers and New York Knicks. He attended countless regular season and playoff games at Madison Square Garden throughout his life, including as a teen with his sister and later with his children. Attending the clinching Game 7s when the Knicks won the NBA Championship in 1970 and when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994 were among his fondest memories.
While sports were Mike’s passion, his biggest joy in life was his two children, Nicole and John, whom he raised with his wife, Jill Salisbury, in New Providence, NJ. Though Mike and Jill later divorced, they both were a constant presence in their children’s lives and continued to celebrate many happy occasions as a family. Of those special memories, Nicole’s wedding to Ken and John’s wedding to Kerri, rank high on that list. His joy was contagious as all could see how proud he was.
Mike loved cooking. Whether it was shucking clams and oysters or grilling a steak in the summer, he loved coming up with new recipes to make alongside his kids.
Mike is remembered as gentle and kind, reflective and insightful, and remarkably honest and considerate. He is survived by his daughter, Nicole (Poplawsky) Shook and her husband Ken Shook, his son, John Poplawsky and his wife Kerri (King) Poplawsky, his mother, Rose Poplawsky, and his sister and brother-in-law, Christine and Bruce Kowalski, as well as several nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews. He was predeceased by his father, Nicolas Poplawsky.
Family and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Life at The Jacob A. Holle Funeral Home, 2122 Millburn Avenue, in Maplewood, NJ on Saturday January 20th from 2 to 5 PM.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Michael Poplawsky Memorial Fund, c/o Shook, 326 Grand Street Unit 401, Hoboken, NJ 07030