Obituary of Joseph Bouzek (1932 – 2021) – Macon, GA

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Joseph Georges Bouzek
August 14, 1932 – October 11, 2021
Macon, Georgia – Joseph George Bouzek of Macon died after a short but valiant battle with an aggressive form of cancer on October 11, 2021. He was born in Chicago on August 14, 1932, the eldest son of George Bouzek and Loretta Marie Hojecki Bouzek. He had three sisters and two brothers; Marie, George, Dorothée, Fred and Delores. His formative years in a Polish community in Chicago were both interesting and stimulating. He worked as a usher at the RKO theater, trained as an apprentice in a flower shop for a year and, due to heart problems leading to a heart attack as a teenager, attended a high school for children with special needs. . He struggled in school as a child, but in high school he received more academic support and became more confident. During these years, he developed a lifelong loyalty to the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears. During these experiences, he also began to develop an appreciation for beauty, his own creativity, and a lifelong joy in classic movies and flowers.
After high school in Chicago, he enlisted in the US Air Force, eventually becoming an air traffic controller. Military service during the Korean War transplanted him from Chicago to Okinawa Island, Johnson Island, Gulfport, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama. He loved the South and became a proud and honorary Southerner. After his distinguished military service, he attended and received a sociology degree from Mississippi College. He started college thinking he would become a minister or maybe a lawyer, but after an internship in Savannah at a children’s home, he decided to pursue a career as a social worker, specifically to help at-risk children. So began his lifelong commitment to helping people become healthy and whole. He received his master’s degree in social work from Florida State University. He met and married Bobbye Warner Bouzek, and had two sons; Larry and Warner.
He has worked in children’s homes in various administrative leadership roles for much of his career, in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky and Tennessee. He was executive director of Appleton Children’s Home in Macon, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, and of Covington Protestant Children’s Home in Covington, Kentucky. At Appleton, he was an innovative leader in the development of group homes, where people at risk lived together in homes and out of an orphanage.
In Macon, he met the steadfast love of his life, Glenda Day Lewis. He knew early on that he was destined to marry his “Pretty Lady” and, surprisingly, was not discouraged by Glenda’s two young children; Lisa and Robert, who were initially somewhat resistant to their mother’s suitor. In 1979, he and Glenda married in Macon, then moved to Kentucky, where they worked side by side. Professionally, they have been pioneers in the development of innovative and effective therapeutic approaches, including using music, art, writing, gardening, woodworking, theater and sport as modalities of healing, as well as more traditional modalities such as individual and group therapy. They created and managed an on-site school to meet the unique and diverse needs of the children. Their leadership changed and saved lives, defied the odds, and brought joy, hope and meaning to others. For their extraordinary contributions, Joe and Glenda were honored as Kentucky Colonels by the Governor of Kentucky. Their greatest reward, however, has been seeing children’s lives transformed for the better.
Over time, he, Glenda, Lisa and Robert have become a blended family whose bonds of love, gratitude and understanding have only deepened. In 1986, the family returned to Macon. Professionally, he continued to help people become healthy, but his focus shifted from teenagers to adults and families. Joe began working as a psychiatric social worker at the Central Georgia Medical Center. For a long time, he also maintained a private practice of psychotherapy, one with a psychiatric practice and the other on his own account. He worked at the medical center until the age of 86, receiving several awards from the Macon hospital and community for his contribution to the mental health care of thousands of people in the Macon area. Joe didn’t usually tell his family about these rewards, but what he loved most was seeing his former patients live happier, healthier, and more productive lives. He has helped people find and realize their God-given potential, families become stronger and more functional, and hundreds of people who experience anxiety, depression, bereavement, drug addiction, abuse, trauma and other mental health issues. He has learned throughout his life and developed specializations throughout his career in the areas of adolescent psychology, addiction, grief counseling and transaction analysis. Her work with children has also extended to the whole community; for example, as a member of the First Presbyterian Church, he was a children’s church leader. He also worked in the church counseling center.
Joe’s personal interests were as broad and eclectic as he was. He built beautiful wood furniture, created breathtaking stained glass, produced stunning crochet images, created insightful and beautiful photographs, researched fossils in the West, enjoyed westerns and history shows in the West. television and read hundreds of fantastic novels (favorites included King Arthur’s Tales) and his daily Wall Street Journal. He loved classical music, art, theater, day trips to the mountains, and the mountain house at Big Canoe that he and Glenda built and enjoyed before returning to Macon full time.
As gruff as he could be, he was both strong and gentle, and looked both like a lion and a teddy bear. He loved real teddy bears and, for years, had added a teddy bear applique to the blue shirt in the same style he wore almost every day. He loved the holidays, especially Christmas when he and Glenda dressed up three different Christmas trees. A Christmas tree was adorned with hand-crocheted angel ornaments that he made, each in honor or in memory of Glenda’s mother and her five aunts, to whom he has always been devoted.
Joe is survived by thousands of people whose lives he touched. His eldest son, Larry, died before him. The family he leaves behind to remember him and honor his heritage are his wife, Glenda Bouzek de Macon; her daughter, Dr. Lisa M. Lewis of Baltimore; his sons; Warner Bouzek of Greenville, SC and Robert M. Lewis, Jr., (Wes Holt) of Atlanta; his grandchildren; Riley and Chandler Bouzek of Greenville, SC, and Justin and Ethan Warner of Celebration, Florida; and her stepdaughter, Claudia Beaux Warner, also of Celebration.
The family thanks all of the wonderful people who have been kind and kind to them and Joe over the past few months, especially the staff at Pine Pointe Hospice. For those who wish to honor Joe’s life and service, the family suggests donations to your place of worship or service or to one of the following charities Joe has supported throughout his life: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Macon, Appleton Ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, First Presbyterian Church of Macon, St. Francis Episcopal Church of Macon, Methodist Children’s Home in Macon, International Compassion or Vision Trust.
Anyone who wants to celebrate and honor Joe’s life is invited to funeral services on Saturday, October 16, 2021, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Macon, and starting at 1:00 p.m., followed by refreshments. Interment at Rose Hill Cemetery will be private. Pending the passage of COVID-19 restrictions, a celebration of Joe’s life is scheduled for next spring at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Macon, where food, music and stories will be shared .
Visit www.snowsmacon.com to express your condolences.
Snow’s Memorial Chapel, Cherry St. is making arrangements.

Posted by The Telegraph October 14-15, 2021.

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