Donald Barwick R.I.P.

Written by  //  January 18, 2009  //  Absent Friends, News about Wednesday Nighters  //  No comments

January 18, 2009
Bon vivant was a magnetic charmer and great cook

‘He would talk up anybody, and if you happened to be an elegant woman, so much the better’
By ALAN HUSTAK, The Gazette
Donald Barwick was a bon vivant who ate lunch at the Ritz-Carlton hotel so often that his initials were embroidered in gold on his blue velvet wing chair in the Café de la Paix.
“He had lunch at the Ritz almost every day for 35 years,” his daughter Melanie said. “His presence there bordered on the legendary, but he wasn’t extravagant.
“He’d have toast, a glass of milk and a bowl of soup. He really went to the Ritz to be an observer of life. He loved people. He was a raconteur, a social connector. He would talk up anybody and, if you happened to be an elegant woman, so much the better.
“He knew everyone and he connected people.” Barwick, who inherited his father’s lucrative printing business, was also an amateur marine biologist who loved the ocean and spent so much time in Bermuda cultivating Chelonia mydas – green sea turtles – his family dubbed him the “father of a thousand turtles.” A former president of the tony Mont-real Racket Club, Barwick was 84 when he died at the St. Anne’s Veterans Hospital on Jan. 5.
Donald Cameron Barwick led a charmed life from the day he was born in Montreal on Nov. 9, 1924, and won the Montreal Star’s Most Beautiful Baby of the Year contest.
“He was a magnetic charmer from the start,” said Joan Lawler, his sister. “He always had a glint in his eye. He was never shy. It seemed he could always do whatever he wanted.” Raised in Outrement, he attended Strathcona School.
During the Second World War he trained at the Armoured School at Camp Borden, Ont., and claimed to be the only Armoured Corps officer to be both a parachutist and motorcycle instructor.
The war ended before he could be shipped overseas, but because his father had been second in command of the Canadian Grenadier Guards, Barwick joined the Guards when the 22nd Canadian Armoured Regiment returned from Europe in 1946. He transferred to the Supplementary Reserve in 1951.
“Don came from an earlier time, where the qualities were those of his upbringing, and others he learned over the years serving with soldiers, and as a soldier – qualities of duty, responsibility, loyalty to family and to the church, support to others and voluntary service,” retired Maj.-Gen. Frank Norman, an honorary colonel of the Guards, told mourners at last week’s military funeral at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul.
“Style and substance were co- mingled in him; both were important to the discharge of duty. He was simply obedient to duty, but he was, however, as modern as today.” Donald Barwick was instrumental in raising funds for the Alcan Aquarium and dolphin pool at Expo 67, which closed in 1991.
He often vacationed in Bermuda, where he befriended Clay Frick, the grandson of the U.S. steel magnate, who stimulated his interest in marine biology. Together, they would collect fish for aquariums in New York, plant turtle eggs on Bermuda beaches, then tag sea turtles.
In 1973, at the request of friend Paul Montreuil, curator of the Montreal Aquarium, Barwick delivered two harbour seals to the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo.
Barwick was also a gourmet cook who tackled everything from plum pudding to Mongolian fire pot, a communal fondue made in a hot copper pot, which once burned a hole through his dining room table.
“In between marriages he’d throw wonderful Christmas dinners for his friends,” Diana Nicholson said. “He was a great cook, and he’d give the most marvellous dinner parties with exquisite attention to detail.” Donald Barwick was married four times, first to Barbara Aird, with whom he had two sons, Blair and Aird, then to Louise Valiquette, with whom he had two daughters, Melanie and Suzanne. After the death of his second wife, he married Katherine Kemble, but that marriage ended in divorce. He then married Gertrud Antoine, who had three children of her own, Michael, John and Amely Jurgenliek.

Donald Cameron Barwick

  November 9, 1924 – January 5, 2009

In peace and with love, we say good-bye to an extraordinary man. Beloved husband of Gertrud Antoine Jurgenliemk, and loving father of Melanie, Suzanne, Aird and Blair Barwick. Fondly remembered father-in-law of Glenn Goucher (Suzanne), Peter Bishop (Melanie), and Heather Barwick (Blair); happy Papa to Alexa Barwick, Elise and Chloe Bishop, Cameron and Emma Goucher; much loved stepfather to Amely, Michael, and John Jurgenliemk. Grandpa donald to Daniel, Christian, Alexander, Jessica, and Clara Rose Jurgenliemk. Brother of Joan Lawler of Toronto, and son/brother-in-law to the Valiquette family. Donald was a lifetime member of the Canadian Grenadier Guards and The Atwater Club, and Past President and honorary member of The Montreal Racket Club. He was very involved with the Montreal Aquarium in its day, and was a significant contributor to the Bermuda Turtle Project since its inception in the 1960s. Working with the late Dr. Archie Carr, his dear friend the late Dr. Clay Frick II, and researchers at the Bermuda Biological Society, Donald worked to repopulate Green Sea Turtles in the Bermudas. He had a love of the sea, photography, and cuisine. He had a long career in financial printing, working into his 80s.
Funeral Service will take place at 1 p.m. on Friday, January 9, 2009 at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, 3415 Redpath Street (corner Sherbrooke St. West), Montreal. Visitation with the family will be held one hour before the service at the church. There will be a reception for friends and family to follow the burial, Montreal Racket Club, 396 Concord Street, Montreal. The Family would like to express their most sincere gratitude to the staff of St. Anne’s Veterans Hospital for their loving care and devotion.

~ May he swim with his turtles to the open sea ~

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