Walter Barzenick, 98, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on Monday, October 4, 2021 in Hammond, LA. He was born November 28, 1922 in Maywood, IL to the late Akzerina “Katie” Barzenick (Bocharnikov) and Alexander Barzenick (Bocharnikov) of Russia.
In 1950, Walter moved to Hammond and began his 51 year teaching career at Southeastern Louisiana University. He had a full and beautiful life spanning almost 100 years. Walter was a humble man, deeply kind and generous, and he loved his family. Other than his black hat with the Third Armored Division patch, one may not have known of his brave service in WWII. In 1945, a mere 23 years old, he marched with his fellow infantrymen through the frozen fields of the Ardennes to fight in one of the most storied battles in military history, The Battle of the Bulge. Walter was wounded by a mortar strike and received the Purple Heart along with numerous medals and decorations. In 2015, he was bestowed with France’s highest decoration, the Legion of Honor, for his contribution to the liberation of France from Nazi Germany.
His music career is just as impressive as his military service. Walter received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL where he studied with Domenic de Caprio. He studied on Martha’s Vineyard with famed musician, Simeon Bellison, principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Walter’s lyric tone and sensitive musical ability was complimented in letters he received from his teachers. Walter was the principal clarinetist and appeared as a soloist with the Baton Rouge Symphony. He also appeared as a clinician, soloist, and adjudicator throughout the Southeast region. He authored a music booklet and was a beloved professor of many students who speak warmly of him to this very day.
In the early 1950’s, Walter, along with his friend and colleague, Tom Maddox, started and coached the Men’s tennis team at SLU. He played an integral role in building the first clay tennis court on campus. Like music, tennis was a big part of Walter’s life and in his last months at home, the television stayed tuned to the Tennis Channel.
Walter was resilient and strong. The son of Russian immigrants, he survived the Great Depression, WWII, cancer, Hurricane Ida, and even the Coronavirus. He died of natural causes, on his own terms, at home.
Walter is survived by his wife, Margaret Seifert Barzenick; daughter, Piper Barzenick (Rick Colucci); son, Jay Barzenick (Brenna); grandchildren, Jai-Li Colucci, Drew Barzenick, and Jay Barzenick, II; and niece, Lynn Carol Becker.
In addition to his parents, Walter was preceded in death by his older sisters, Elizabeth Breickman and Tina Krebs.
The family would like to thank Transitions Hospice, the VA, and his caregivers, Bernita, Angie, Cynthia, and numerous others. We are grateful.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend the visitation for Walter outside the Parish Hall at Grace Memorial Episcopal Church, 100 W Church Street, Hammond, Louisiana 70401, on Friday, October 15, 2021, from 9:00 AM until 9:55 AM. A memorial service for Walter will be held in the Parish Hall, immediately following the visitation, beginning at 10:00 AM.
Interment will follow at Grace Memorial Episcopal Church Cemetery, Hammond, Louisiana.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Walter’s honor to Grace Memorial Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 1086, Hammond, LA 70404.