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:
Rest in peace dear friend .
Dear Krisztina and Dénes,
My deepest and sincerest condolences. Your dad was a kind, gentle man and an excellent professor. I have such fond memories of wonderful conversations with your dad, and caring for your beloved rabbit in St John’s when you went on your trips back to Hungary to visit family. I especially enjoyed taking your dad’s remote sensing course when I was completing my geophysics degree. He taught me so much.
He will be greatly missed and I am so sorry for your loss.
Denes and Tina.
We are saddened to read of Denes’ passing.
We were fortunate to be next door neighbours with your family, when we were young parents starting to raise our children. We have many fond memories of those early days.
Denes was always a pleasant quiet man, and a great neighbor.
Our thoughts are with you, sincere condolences
Elsie and Don Rideout.
Thinking of you Denes, Tina and your families so much over the past few days. Sad that Uncle Denes has died and yet he lived such a full and rich life. I remember returning with my family (minus my dad) to Newfoundland from Australia as a shy teenager and being welcomed into the family fold. Many lovely dinners at Uncle Denes and Aunt Daphne’s place over the years, Uncle Denes being the pentultimate host. I remember Aunt Daphne and Uncle Denes staying with me when I lived in Berwick. We went out to dinner and were walking with arms linked- me in the middle. I had Aunt Daphne talking to me non stop in my right ear and at the same time, Uncle Denes talking to me non stop in my left ear. It was such fun. I learned a good budget travel tip that night when they just ordered one Main Course and split it between them. Love and miss them both xo
Thank you everyone for your kind memories and stories! I enjoyed every one of them, especially from old students. I never knew how they took him with thick accent, especially for lectures!
(Denes Bajzak Jr.)
Cond olences to Denes , Tina & families,so sorry for your loss .We enjoyed our visits with your dad & definitely his wonderful martinis.He always had a smile ! RIP. Dave & Brenda .prayers during this difficult time.
Dénes and Krisztina and families,
My sincerest condolences for your loss. I have many fond memories of Uncle Dénes and I have one that I would like to share. I was profoundly struck by his stamina and determination. One winter weekend in the late 70s or early 80s he asked if I would accompany him to his cabin near Traytown and help with attaching pine log siding. Sure, I said. We arrived Saturday morning with a load of siding. It wasn’t the first time I had been there but it was the first time I was put to work there.
It was freezing, minus 10 or so, and we had to borrow a boat from a neighbor, load it with the materials and then pull it along the shoreline until we reached the cabin. We then carried the materials in to the cabin. The distance was only 800 feet altogether but it was the longest 800 feet I’ve ever walked before or since. We immediately started installing the siding and it wasn’t too long after that I began to wonder why I would do something like this. I was frozen. And I knew it wasn’t going to get any better – there was no heat or insulation, just a Coleman stove, six walls, a roof and a floor. We worked past sunset as far as we could with a lantern.
When we finished we ate and then, abruptly, Uncle Dénes said he was going to the neighbor’s house to watch hockey and that I could come if I wanted. I declined. I wasn’t a sports fan and I didn’t want to impose. After a few hours alone trying to keep warm by the lantern and stove, I decided to get into my sleeping bag. It must have been minus 15 or more and it took me quite a while to get warm enough to where I stopped shaking. Just before I nodded off, Uncle Dénes came clamoring into the cabin, undressed, jumped into his bag, said good night and went off to sleep.
The next morning he was up before me and made breakfast. As soon as we ate we started at the siding again, not stopping until it was time to leave for home. Thank God I said. I was so cold and tired at this point but Uncle Dénes didn’t seem phased at all and he was 18 years older than I. The one thing that I continue to ask myself is why anyone else would want to do this in mid-winter. I know why he did: he made this decision and it didn’t matter the weather; he was determined to do it and he certainly had the stamina. I will certainly miss him very much. Rest in peace Uncle Dénes.
What a great picture of Uncle Denis! I have fond memories of the stories of his adventures., his pickup basketball skills and his perspective on various teams in many sports and world affairs.
My dearest Krisztina and family,
I am so saddened to hear of your Dad’s passing. Both of your parents welcomed me into your home during medical school. I loved his “perfect” martinis!!
Sending you much love and you are in my thoughts, heart and prayers.
Kara and family xoxo
I am sorry for your loss. I have many fond memories of Dr. Bajzak when I was studying Forestry at Memorial in the mid 90’s. Dr. Bajzak always had a smile on his face and was quick with a joke. One of my Fondest Memories was when we were out in the field in the spring. My very unreliable motorbike needed a push start, Dr. Bajzak with a smile volunteered to push the bike. How many professors would do that for their students? I moved away from Newfoundland but eventually moved back. A few years after I moved back, I bumped into Dr. Bajzak, I was surprised that he still remembered me. While our last interaction was brief, we did share a few laughs and memories of our time at Memorial He was a great guy that truly loved life.
I am sorry to hear of Dene passing. Dr. B taught me in the mid 90’s at MUN at the very beginning of my forestry career. His passion for forestry and teaching, combined with the care he expressed for his students made him an exceptional professor and no doubt influenced several generations of foresters. I can still remember many of the sayings he used in the classroom and field, my all-time favorite was “keep the bush language in the bush”. I had the opportunity to run in to him in 2007 at the annual CIF conference in Toronto, he was so excited to connect with a former student and clearly proud to see his former students succeed in their careers. Forestry has lost a true professional, but am sure his legacy will carry on for many years through his former students.
Please accept my deepest condolence.
James Lane, RPF
My sincere condolences to you, your husband and family. Prayers are with you.
So sorry for your loss.I have very fond memories of uncle Denis from when I was young and I stayed at his home with my parents..
Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of your husband
I met Mr.Bajzak many years ago through my father. And Mr Bajzak was always so friendly and kind
My father Allan cook was a colleague for many years at the forestry department/engineering at MUN
Cathy (Cook) Turpin
So sorry to hear of your father’s passing. Our deepest condolences to you and your family.
Linda Roebothan and Malcolm John
To the family of Denes,
I am so sorry to hear of Denes’s passing. I have known Denes since the 60s, did projects with him over the years and participated in his air photo interpretation training many years ago. He was a very kind friend and extremely knowledgeable and helpful. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. God Bless.
Hi Denny, my buddy, I will miss your dad. Many fond memories spending time with him. We played golf together in Doha, shot some hoops at PWC and hung out singing Christmas carols on his birthday. He always welcomed me and was forever asking when am i getting married. Im sad for your loss but forever grateful to have met a wonderful man. Although im far away you and your family are close to me.
To KriIsztina, Denes, Katriina and family we send our deepest condolences to you all. We fondly remember your Dad’s lively conversations at the many gatherings at “Aunt Joan’s.” . There was always laughter , fun and great discussions of world events and variety of topics.. We are thankful to have gotten to spend time with your family over the years, and we will remeber fondly your parents, and extended family. May you find comfort in your memories and love bestowed upon you by your Mom and Dad.
So sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to your family. May he rest in peace.
A gentleman and scholar., I found him always charming and interesting. He will be sadly missed, may he rest in peace.
Sad to have him leave us. He was such a loving and cheerful family man of fine principles. He went out of his way to visit me in Nova Scotia and then in the US. My sons Thibaut and William have fond memories of him and playing golf and soccer at our place.
The sense of loss at present may be immense, but your memories will keep him with you always. My heartfelt condolences to you Kristina, and ZZ.
My most heartfelt sympathy to Denes and Krisztina at this very sad time. I will always remember your dad in his younger days, carrying such a spark for life and an unsinkable energy. He and your mom had a very special relationship and each gave you their own special gifts to get you through life. I am so very glad that he got to see his grandchildren and pass on even more memories to them and to you. Remember him well and often to those who will surely miss this great man.