Barry Hertz: Died May 7, 2022
It is with gratitude for a rich and adventurous life that we announce the peaceful passing of Barry Hertz on May 7, 2022, just shy of his 73rd birthday.
Barry touched the hearts and minds of so many people throughout the course of his life. His smile, his goofy sense of humour and his deep and abiding love of the natural world are just a few of the qualities for which he is remembered. He was a gentle and humble person, widely regarded as a gifted teacher and musician, with an inquisitive mind and a creative spirit.
Born in the small town of Menno, S.D., Barry was drawn to the wilderness and was fascinated by the North from a young age. In 1981, he emigrated from the United States to Canada in an old farm truck. His personal and professional life was colourful and included everything from attempting to hitchhike to Alaska, joining a hippie commune in Wisconsin, bartending in Chicago, to beekeeping in Northern Alberta. He obtained three university degrees: a bachelor of science, a master of science (specializing in the native plants of South Dakota), and a bachelor of education. He later drew upon those experiences as a biology teacher at Saint Mary’s High School in Calgary, regaling his students with his stories of broken bones and bees, his passion for plants, and his song writing. His dedication to his students would later earn him a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2001-2002.
As an ex-varsity basketball player, Barry was a natural athlete. Snow, rain, or shine, his determination in cycling to work was second only to his commitment to others. He loved spending time outside, whether birdwatching, cross-country skiing, cycling, fishing, or hiking. For many years, he volunteered at Calgary’s Climb for Wilderness event, bridging his love of music and nature to fundraise for the Alberta Wilderness Association. Undaunted by life’s many challenges, he was a lifelong learner, continually striving to improve himself through his daily journaling, reading, and guitar playing. In 2000 he released his first album, titled Sure Cure, followed by A Cowboy’s Prayer in 2006. His music reflects not only his gift as a writer, but also his fondness for the naturalist writings and poetry of authors such as Aldo Leopold, Charles Badger Clark, Edward Abbey, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and Rachel Carson.
Barry was predeceased by his father, Judge E. W. Hertz. He is missed and forever loved by his mother, Eleanor; his siblings: Barb, Mike and Mary (with their families); his wife, Susan; his four children: Alisa, Joe, Geoffrey and Sarah (with Greg); his six grandchildren: Ella, Sophie, Jack, William, Mariama and Awa; and a host of extended family members and friends beyond counting.
A funeral service was held on Thursday, June 2 at Eden Brook Funeral Home & Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Barry’s name to the Alberta Wilderness Association.
We would like to express our profound and enduring gratitude to everyone who cared for and supported Barry over the course of his illness. This includes Barry’s dementia care team, the Unit 47 staff at Rockyview General Hospital, the SL4D staff at Millrise Seniors Village, and the staff at Southwood Hospice.