Words of Remembrance for Brother Edward Barry Bartkowiak, FSC
I first met Edward Barry Bartkowiak in high school when I was 16. “Edward is my father’s name,” he said, “My name is Barry.” Later, in his whimsical mathematics-teacher mode, he would take the initials from Brother Barry Bartkowiak to adopt the pseudonym “B-Cubed.” Hence, his email address.
Barry loved Calvert Hall, all things Baltimore, the Johnny Unitas Colts, the Ray Lewis Ravens, any-era Orioles, all things Mickey Mouse (especially collectibles), firetrucks and firefighting equipment models, the summer sun, his Polish heritage, vacation cruises, wearing shorts year-round, crazy socks, lima beans, potato chips, and caffeine free Diet Pepsi.
Barry loved his three families. He loved the family God blessed him with: his father Ed, his mother Dorothy, and his sister Mary Frances. He loved the ministry family he joined for 52 years, the Brothers of the Christian Schools, and the lives he touched in Towson, Cumberland, Washington, Philadelphia, and Beltsville. Lieutenant Barry also loved the community service family he joined for over forty years, the Providence Volunteer Fire Department, and managed to keep connected to those brave firefighters and first responders throughout his ministry tour of duty.
As a youth Barry was an enthusiastic and pretty decent athlete. He had a wicked bottom-brick sidearm handball shot, a credible step-back jumper in basketball, and was a dangerous “dead-pull” power hitting third baseman in baseball. In 1970 we played hooky from college to attend games three and four of the World Series in Memorial Stadium, crashing at his parents’ home.
Brother Barry was a much-loved mathematics teacher, always professional, well-prepared, consistent and reasonable, and a good listener. He was excellent as a tutor because he was so patient and concentrated on understanding learning blocks. As an administrator Barry paid great attention to order, detail, and doing things right the first time.
Barry’s favorite season was certainly summer. He spent endless hours sitting in his beach chair exactly where the water met the sand turning a deep bronze each summer, especially during his long tenure as the principal of our Ocean City, NJ, summer school. My favorite memories of Barry are all at the shore. He taught me to body surf. We spent several summers spending our entire stipends in a marathon tour of South Jersey miniature golf courses, only to end in an exhaustive draw.
But Barry was also intensely private and reserved, leaving him a mystery to almost all he knew, even those who otherwise would gladly count him as a friend. Many may have experienced Barry as withdrawn or even unfriendly, but that is not the Barry I knew and loved. I had the privilege of serving on a House Council with Barry and was constantly amazed at how perceptive he was of the struggles which those around him were experiencing, his genuine concern for their well-being (which he never expressed outside the Council meetings), and with his solid practical advice – which I always attributed to his experience with the Providence Fire Company.
I pray the Lord swiftly takes Barry to his eternal reward, where there are endless bags of chips and fountains of diet Pepsi and where the bases are all FOB, which any Oriole fan can tell you means “full of Birds.”
Gerry Frendreis, FSC
After a while you learn, the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul. Learning doesn’t stop with one’s death, rather it’s carried forward for all us to pass on to the next generation!
But before we can learn there must be a spark that lights the flame. Teachers educate, guide, mentor us, but great teachers inspire hope, ignite our imaginations, and instill a lifetime love of learning!
Brother Barry Bartwoiack is such a teacher.
Those of us whom were fortunate enough to be one of Brother’s students knew this the very first day we started high school. Walking down the main corridor, as 14-year-old young men, there stood a man wearing a black rob with his arms crossed displaying a gold Mickey Mouse watch! One of our classmates who hadn’t seen a Christian Brother in habit whispered under his breath— what’s with Black Rob thing…. don’t these guys own pants!
We would come to come find out later that his watch was only gold-plated! Unlike his timepiece, Br. was not fake, but authentic! He was colorful & whimsical, encouraging as well as dependable! A person of high ideals and integrity. A Brother’s brother! Whether you had Brother at Calvert Hall, Bishop Walsh, St. Johns or LaSalle know that each of you here today are a product and a sign representing all those students he taught which gave him a deep satisfaction and hope that his life as a Christian Brother was worth it! He did more than teach us….he showed us through his sacrifice and example what it truly means to become “An Ambassador of Christ!
This past week while visiting Brother a St. John’s schoolmate told me a story where Brother would send him down the corridor to deliver a note to our Beloved Spanish teacher…Sr. Catherine. Thoughts were the note contained secret faculty codes that only a SJC decoder ring could diciphor. The truth of the matter its contents contained a more heartfelt & serious message…..it read….27 more days till Christmas Break!
This was Brother to a tee….counting down the days not to rid us students from him, but looking ahead to enjoy a sunnier and warmer climate! One where he could break out his American Flag patterned cargo shorts and a pair of fashionable socks from his extensive chic collection! Anyone who knew Brother would understand that the note, although whimsical had a very serious message. I hate the cold weather!!! Brother loved warm sunshine and enjoyed it that much more when sharing it with others…. perhaps a Caribbean Cruise with (his sister) Mary Francis, possibly another trip to the Magic Kingdom, or just sitting out on the front porch of Ocean Rest with fellow Brothers watching the waves break into the shoreline!
There was another passion and calling in Barry’s life that also brought him much joy, satisfaction and sense of service. His beloved Providence Volunteer Fire Department. The story goes that in 1973, while teaching at Calvert Hall, Brother would see the fire trucks whiz by his classroom. A student who was a junior member dared Brother to come by the firehouse and join….and the rest they say is history!
This calling may seem strange to the average layperson…a religious Brother running fire calls! I can still hear that same classmate asking Brother one day in class …. how do you wear that Black Robe under all that Turnout gear….isn’t that hot! Real hot he replied, but not as hot as that damn fire! Laughing at himself and diffusing others comic mishaps was a quiet specialty of his. Sitting around the stations lounge, catching a few ZZZ’s in the bunkroom and riding fire trucks on the weekends was a passion of Barry’s. It allowed him to escape into a world where every day personal comfort is tested and character is strengthened. As a fellow firefighter we would often trade stories of the big one we caught that weekend or the pranks he pulled on his longtime friend and fellow brother Gary. Gary wasn’t a Christian Brother he was Barry’s fraternal brother in the fire service as demonstrated beautifully today by members of PVFD. In fact, all fire departments share that common bond of brotherhood where service to others is paramount. This was a wonderful vocation from his vocation. He truly served with honor and pride, even up to 2 days before he would be rushed to the hospital…Barry was riding his fire truck on a working fire doing his duty and serving his community.
He would say: X does equal Y…2 wrongs don’t make a right, but three rights make a left. Not an algebraic equation rather a Barryism….
Even his last assignment Brother cared for his fellow Christian Brothers at Ammendale! A bit ironic some might say, but not really if you think about it. God chose him to serve others and that’s what he did. Sitting outside one late summer evening after attending our 25th High School Reunion we sat down together and enjoyed a fine quality cigar…. Arturo Fuente Hemingway Signatures.…Brother loved his cigars!
I would like to share with you what I consider Brother’s greatest lesson. He spoke that night of being greeted by many of our classmates and how that made him feel a certain sense of worth and pride that he made a difference in a young person’s life. Because, he was thinking about all those Brothers, religious, teachers, fireman and policeman who never get a visit, a phone call, or even an email over the years from somebody letting them know how they made a difference in their life. He went on to say if those people only knew the joy there is when a former student or colleague contact you its like the glow of sunshine at the Jersey Shore in July!
So, the lesson learned that evening and the one we should take with us going forward is to pick up the phone, send an email, or even better visit a person in your past that sacrificed so much for you.
Hold their hand…. literally and figuratively!
If we do this, we learn to build all our roads on today, because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans, and futures have a way falling down in midflight!
And we learn, and we learn, with every goodbye, We Learn…..
St. John Baptist DeLaSalle…..pray for us!
Live Jesus in our hearts…..forever!
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Brother Edward Barry Bartkowiak, FSC
Born Edward Barry Bartkowiak in Baltimore, MD on 24 June 1948
Entered the Ammendale, MD Juniorate on 10 September 1964
Entered the Ammendale, MD Novitiate on 15 June 1966
Received the Religious Habit on 29 August 1966
Pronounced Perpetual Vows at Calvert Hall College HS on 8 September 1974
Died at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore MD on 11 December 2018
Saturday, 15 December 2018
Viewing – 9.30 am to 11.30 am
Mass of Christian Burial – 11.30 am
Saint Joseph Catholic Church
11007 Montgomery Avenue
Beltsville MD 20705
La Salle Hall
6001 Ammendale Road
Beltsville MD 20705
Brother Barry died after complications due to an aortic dissection. He had spent several weeks in the cardiac intensive care unit at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The District of Eastern North America remembers Brother Barry with memorial liturgies according to the tradition of the Institute. Through their prayers, communities, and individuals entrust Brother Barry to God’s loving care. May he rest in peace.
Elkins Park, PA: Scholasticate
Calvert Hall College High School
Bishop Walsh High School
Saint John’s College High School
La Salle College High School
La Salle Hall: retired