Dr. Dénes Bajzák, a long-time resident of St. John’s, NL, passed peacefully away this past Sunday, April 18, 2021 at Pleasant View Towers at the age of 87 years. He was a freedom fighter, scholar, teacher, professional and sportsman (and he made a “perfect” Perfect Martini).
Dénes was born in the town of Cegléd, Hungary on Dec. 25, 1933. He embarked on an extraordinary journey which began as a forestry student at the University of Sopron (Hungary) at the time of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, then on to the University of British Columbia where he obtained his BSc and Master’s Degrees in Forestry. In 1960, he began his 40+ year career in Newfoundland and Labrador, first as a Research Officer and Scientist with the Canadian Forest Service where he initiated the first ecological land classification studies in Western Newfoundland and Labrador, to Head of the Forestry Program and Full Professor of Engineering & Applied Science at Memorial University, where he taught and guided hundreds of Forestry and Engineering students. During this time, he fell in love with the Province and a beautiful Newfoundland woman (like most come-from-aways do!) named Daphne whom he married. He then obtained his PhD at Syracuse University (New York), produced more than 75 publications, and was a great teacher and motivator who instilled many of his students with the principles of hard work and fair play in academics and the practice of Forestry.
Dénes was a member of the NL Opimian Society, Board member of the NL Multicultural Society, Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the NL Section of the Canadian Institute of Forestry, and visiting researcher at the Scott Polar Research Institute of the University of Cambridge (England). He was bestowed the national Tree of Life Award from the Canadian Institute of Forestry.
However, he will be most remembered as a loving family man. He is predeceased by his wife Daphne (née King), parents Béla Bajzák and Ilona (née Csendes) Bajzák of Cegléd, Hungary, brothers János and Tibor, father-in-law John King and mother-in-law Lily (née Eastman) King, sisters-in-law Pearl Piatt and Kathleen Clinkard, and brothers-in-law Jack King, Jack Clinkard and George Piatt. Mourning his loss are his loving brother Béla, son Dénes Jr., daughter-in-law Katrina (nee Stevenson) Bajzak, and daughter Krisztina, grandchildren Zsuzsanna, Adrian and Krisztian, and sisters-in-law Valéria (née Krasznai) Bajzák and Ágnes (née Hörömpö) Bajzák. He was fortunate to have such wonderful and caring cousins, nephews and nieces throughout Hungary, Canada and the United States. Special thanks to niece Mary Jeffery, nephew-in-law Robin Jeffery, niece Yvonne Piatt, and friend Bruce Roberts. As well, to the Hungarian family who, despite the distance, always opened their hearts and homes with love and belonging. Also to Kent Brown, and the Brown and Cochrane families, who always treated him as part of their family.
Because of the pandemic times we live in, there will be no wake. A memorial service starting at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, April 23, 2021 will be held in person for only Dénes’ children, grandchildren and pall bearers. This memorial service will be streamed online, with photo slides, at https://view.oneroomstreaming.com/authorise.php?k=1619035518111838. Immediately following the Memorial Service, the interment will take place at the Anglican Cemetery on Kenmount Road and be open to all who wish to attend (please respect social distancing). The interment will also be live-streamed at http://streamingservices.ca/ for those who wish to remotely attend, and for our friends and family living throughout the world.
In lieu of flowers, please plant a memorial tree in honour of Dr. Dénes Bajzák at https://www.alivingtribute.ca/.
Friends and family are invited to a virtual gathering with a photo slideshow in memory of Dénes Bajzak on April 23 at 6:30pm NL Time. The zoom event can be accessed by clicking the following link: