HOUSE NEWS: Remembering our friend and supporter Herb Bazur
We learned last week that a good friend and long-time supporter of the Gainesvills Catholic Worker, Herb Bazur, had passed away. Herb died on August 20; he was 88 years old.
I have known Herb and his wife Betty for almost 20 years, first meeting them through my work at Pax Christi USA when I was organizing retreats and gatherings for college students in the 90’s. I first met their granddaughter at one of the PCUSA Young Adult Forum retreats, and soon after met Herb and Betty when this gregarious, mustachioed gentleman wrapped his arms around me at a PCUSA National Conference and thanked me for organizing the retreat his granddaughter had attended. That was my introduction to Herb, and I have enjoyed hundreds of hugs and kisses on my cheek from him ever since.
I think everyone who knows Herb would echo this sentiment: He was full of life. Life was just overflowing in him, spilling over the brim and invigorating anyone who was around him. He was kind and funny, generous and caring, affectionate and totally present to you whenever you were with him. He was a successful man who was grateful for all that life had given him and wanting to share whatever he had with whomever needed it. He and Betty have been peace activists and supporters of organizations dedicated to helping people who are impoverished or otherwise marginalized because of injustice.
Herb and Betty have been among that small group of GCW supporters who send a check every month to help us do our work. But more important than that monthly check was the note that always accompanied it. Oftentimes it was Herb’s scrawl, usually on the outside of the envelope: “Johnny Z! We love you and miss you!” And inside would be a longer note, from him or from Betty, sharing with us how they were doing, what was happening in their lives, and telling us how much they appreciated us and the work we were doing. Such notes mean so much.
If you have a moment today, I encourage you to read Herb’s obituary, written by his family. In it they write, “We will work to keep alive the memory of our charismatic and colorful Herb in many ways. He would encourage us to stop and smell the flowers, love our neighbors, walk with the marginalized, vote with poor people in mind, and spread joy.” Such is his legacy and such was his life. The GCW has benefitted greatly from Herb’s support and kindness. Personally, I know that I am the better for having known him. Our friendship was a great joy. I give thanks for Herb’s life, for Betty and for their family. We love you all.