Herb Bazur, 88

John Herbert “Herb” Bazur, 88, of Fort Wayne, Ind., died peacefully at home on Aug. 20, 2012.

Herb was born April 15, 1924, in Cleveland, Ohio, to John and Loretta (Grady) Bazur. At 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy followed by the Merchant Marines and served in the North Atlantic during World War II.

At Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, Herb met the love of his life, Betty Jane (Wackerman). They married in 1947.

Herb was so smitten with Betty that he decided to forgo their class elections and instead take her on their first date. When they returned to campus that evening, he found out he had been voted class president as a write-in.

In 1955, Herb graduated from Akron University College of Law with four children in tow. They would add three more for a total of seven children. In 1960, Herb joined O’Rourke, Andrews and Maroney in Fort Wayne, where he spent his career. Herb eased into retirement, spending time traveling with Betty, volunteering, and entertaining their many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren at their lake home in southern Michigan. (“Ice cream store! Ice cream store!”) Although he enjoyed his easy chair, during the last 25 years of his life he increasingly worked on behalf of those who did not have it so easy.

Herb was many things: devoted husband, loving father, “Papa Herb” to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, attorney, prison minister, peace activist, amateur radio operator, conservationist, and golfer (he shot his age at 84.) Herb lived large and loved large. The ripples of his goodness will touch many for a long time to come.

On July 30, 2012, Herb and Betty celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. For most of those years, they wrote daily letters to each other sharing their reflections, faith, dreams, struggles and love for one another.

Herb is survived by his wife Betty; his sister Rhea; daughter Michelle Jones; son Jack (Barb); son Kevin (Jane); daughter Lori Bazur-Persing (Tim); daughter Betsy Bazur-Leidy (Peter); daughter Angie Luck (John); and daughter-in-law Karen Bazur; along with 17 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and numerous other devoted relatives.

He was preceded in death by a son, Brian Bazur; and two great-grandchildren, Noah and Stella Bazur.

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.

Special thanks to the staff at Townhouse Retirement Community who welcomed Herb and Betty the moment they first stepped through their doors and who supported the entire family in these past few weeks.

A Mass will be held Oct. 6, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Clare’s Catholic Church, 229 North Dean Street, Centreville, MI, 49032 celebrated by Monsignor Michael Hazard. There will also be a “Herb Bazur Memorial 4-Person Scramble Golf Outing” on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, at St. Joe Valley Golf Course in Centreville, MI, with proceeds going to the St. Clare Building Fund in his memory. All are invited. Please Contact St. Joe Valley Golf Course (269-467-6267) or Jerry Pinney (269-467-7502) for more information and/or to participate.

In lieu of flowers, Herb requested that contributions be made to St. Clare’s Catholic Church for their Building Fund Project (Centreville, MI), or to the Gainesville Catholic Worker House in Gainesville, Fla., which is dedicated to social and economic justice, or to a cause of your choice. The words whispered in his ear as he took his last breath were:

We will carry you with us

We will carry you in our hearts

We will carry you always

Elzey-Patterson-Rodak Home for Funerals, Fort Wayne have handled all arrangements. Friends and family are invited to visit www.elzey-patterson-rodakfuneralhome.com to leave condolences and to view a slide show of Herb’s life.

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