Former Luzerne County Judge Chester B. Muroski, of Bear Creek Village, died Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, at Paoli Hospital where he succumbed to COVID-19.
Born December 30, 1939, in Wilkes-Barre, he was the son of the late Chester and Helen Muroski. Chet attended Marymount Elementary and High School and King's College, graduating in 1961. He then matriculated to Temple University School of Law where during his senior year he was elected Chief Justice of the Moot Court. Thereafter, he passed the Pennsylvania bar exam and was admitted to practice before the Philadelphia County Courts in 1966.
Upon returning to Luzerne County in late 1966, he became a legal aid lawyer serving Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre, until 1968 when he became Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Sr.'s first law clerk. In late 1968, he was appointed an assistant district attorney by District Attorney Blythe Evans. He was retained by District Attorney Patrick J. Toole in 1972 and appointed first assistant district attorney in 1976.
While serving as a part time assistant district attorney, he was a solo practitioner and had several solicitor positions. These include solicitorships for Wilkes-Barre City, Wilkes-Barre Township, Wilkes-Barre City Model Cities, and was also general counsel of the Polish Union of the United States of North America. He also served on the adjunct faculty of King's College and Penn State Extension, and was an instructor at the Municipal Police Training Center.
Upon Judge Patrick J. Toole's elevation to the Bench in March of 1978, Chester was appointed district attorney by the unanimous vote of the Court en banc, and thereafter was elected to a full term as district attorney in November 1979. In less than four years as district attorney, he successfully tried five major murder cases in four different counties in Pennsylvania due to change of venue.
In 1981, he defeated an appointed judge for a seat on the Court of Common Pleas. Judge Muroski was retained as judge in 1991 and 2001.
In the wake of the "kids for cash" resignation of the then president judge, he was elected president judge by his remaining colleagues and served until his mandatory retirement at the age of 70. He continued on and served as senior judge until 2017.
In recognition of his extraordinary effort to restore confidence in the Judiciary, Judge Muroski was named Man of the Year in 2009 by the Times Leader newspaper.
Judge Muroski received the President's Award from the Luzerne County Bar Association and also awards from Municipal Police Training Officers, Children's Service Center of Wyoming Valley, Victim's Resource Center, Family Services Association of Wyoming Valley, Fraternal Order of Police, Crime Clinic of Wyoming Valley Inc., Elder Law Committee, and the Special Court Judges of Pennsylvania.
Judge Muroski also received the Governor's Highway Safety Award for a juvenile DUI program which required, as part of the juvenile's disposition, that he or she participate in a community service program with a cooperating hospital at or near the emergency room to see the tragic effects of an automobile accident.
Judge Muroski was a car fanatic and could often be found at classic car shows proudly showing his 1967 Corvette Stingray which he painstakenly restored, and was often rewarded with medals for his showmanship. He also enjoyed cooking, boating and political and local history.
Preceding him in death were his wife, Loretta Shutta Muroski; and his second wife, Cynthia Smith Muroski.
He is survived by his two daughters, Lisa (Lou) Ruzzi, West Chester; and Joy (Robert) Reap, Richmond, Vt.; and a grandson, Thatcher Reap.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, private funeral services will be held at the convenience of the family. There will be no calling hours.
A celebration of Chester's life will be held after the pandemic has been resolved. In lieu of calling hours, the family has created a memorial web site where friends can post their condolences. Visit chester-b-muroski.forevermissed.com.
Published by Citizens Voice from Dec. 24 to Dec. 26, 2020.