A SOLICITOR who created one of the city’s best known law firms has died at the age of 55.
Stephen Switalski of St John’s founded Switalski’s Solicitors, which has become a household name across West Yorkshire.
He grew up in Sandal and attended Queen Elizabeth Grammar School (QEGS) before reading law at Wolverhampton Polytechnic.
He started his own law firm in the 1980s and later became a barrister at No.6 Chambers in Leeds.
He died on Monday morning at St James’ Hospital in Leeds surrounded by his family.
His son Joe Switalski, 19, is following in his father’s footsteps by studying law at Durham University.
He said: “He would want to be remembered most fondly in the Yorkshire region as a man who put others before himself, fought hard for the vulnerable in his work as a childcare lawyer and touched the lives of all he met with a simple air of warmth and fun.”
Family friend Zarah Dickinson said: “Stephen was a wonderful, kind, good man and he was respected by so many people.
“His love and adoration for his family shone always. We will never see his likes again.”
Mr Switalski started his own business on Wood Street in 1987.
He later moved to Tammy Hall Street and then to Cheapside, where the business remains today.
The firm went from strength to strength and although he left it in 2006 to become a barrister, the company has kept his name.
Last month he was diagnosed with blood cancer lymphoma.
The grandfather leaves behind his mother Margaret Switalski, wife Anne and children Anya, Katya, Ruth and Joe.
His younger brother, Chris, tragically died at the age of 18, when Mr Switalski was at university, an experience which his family said made him live life to the full.
He had a passion for all things French and was an avid photographer and film enthusiast.
He played football regularly in Huddersfield and was a drummer in band 2XS, formerly called Rocky Defence and the Mitigations.
His funeral will be held at QEGS on Tuesday at 1.30pm.
Donations to Cancer Research.