Recently, while reading the local newspaper’s obituaries I came across an entry for a certain W. Barry Bizot, M.D. I didn’t know Mr. Bizot, but his obit touched my soul with who he was, and what he represented. His life resonated with me.
Mr. Bizot was a modern day Renaissance Man. His obit writer even noted him as such. I only wish I could have known this individual; to have befriended him and been inspired by his interests and life. People like him are a rarity in today’s mundane world. They should be celebrated, recognized and singled out at as true heroes. They are the needles in humanity’s haystack.
I’m copying his entire obit here, in case it ever disappears from the ever-so-ephemeral internet:
(emphasis is mine)
W. Barry Bizot, M.D.
Louisville – William Barry Bizot, M.D. aged 70, died July 20, 2018 after a long struggle with cancer. Born in Louisville, KY in 1947, he lived much of his early adult life in New England.
In 1992 he returned to Louisville, where he became Chief of Internal Medicine for the region’s largest HMO. His principal area of focus was hospital medicine. He was one of the early organizers of what would later evolve into hospitalist internal medicine groups. He took semi-retirement 3 years ago and continued to work several months per year in under-served rural hospitals.
Barry had a varied academic background. His original college major was History/Archaeology. In 1967 he spent a year abroad working on an excavation in Palestine. The Six-Day Arab-Israeli War cut short his archeological work and forced him to pass several weeks as a refugee. Living in the immediacy of a war situation was a formative experience. It brought him to understand that learning in the service of practical human problems was closer to his nature than pure scholarship. This eventually led him to choose a career in medicine.
The change to medicine necessitated a change of major and a second round of college. He paid for this by working days as a commercial artist and studying math and biology at night. He did his medical training at the University of Louisville, Yale University, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Liverpool.
He felt that medicine taught him more about life than any other experience. The sight of everyday people in times of pain and loss, coping with courage and dignity inspired him and structured his concept of what human worth truly is. He was calm and focused; the kind a person you would want around in a crisis.
An added benefit of his career choice was meeting his future wife, Mary Lewis Bizot. She was two years ahead of him in Medical school. They shared numerous interests both inside and outside of medicine. Above all, both loved the sea and everything nautical. Both were passionate about travel. They soon joined in a lifelong quest for all that was unique, authentic and genuinely uplifting.
Barry was a modern day renaissance man, endlessly curious wanting to know, to see, to learn. He was fun to be around: interesting and engaging. He was often teased about his overly intellectual ways. He laughed as hard as anyone else about it. He paired a hungry mind with an egalitarian spirit. He felt that there was something to be learned from most situations and all people. Whatever topic captured his curiosity became the object of intense and long-lasting focus.
In their fifties, Mary and he embarked on learning a second language, French. This lead to finding his second family in Bretagne and many explorations of the French culture, gastronomy, wine and countryside; each door opening another.
An avid non-fiction reader, he amassed a lifetime’s store of knowledge which he could summon on the spot when needed. History, politics, art, jazz, investing were just a few of his favorite topics. One seldom had to rent a guide tape when going to a gallery or a museum with him. Just be prepared for an earful when asking questions. There was often a large gap between his exuberance for the subject and the average listener’s desire for detail.
A gifted artist, he expressed his talent through the physicality of craft. He loved the entire process of taking a project from concept, to design, to completion: projects that involved engineering, math, combined with beauty. Of these endeavors woodworking was his main love, though he ventured into stained glass, sculpture, and other media.
Barry’s creativity shone through in everything he did. He was full of ideas for projects and dreams of travel, all following the path less traveled. He was a perfectionist always in the pursuit of beauty and a unique adventure of his own invention.
His quiet exterior tended to mask the sociable personality underneath. He valued his friendships more than anything else he had.
He believed in the power of the written word and chose this somewhat old fashioned means for staying connected with far flung friends and family. He saw little need for social media.
Foremost, Barry had a dry and quiet mirth. Like his father and grandfather before him, he regarded folly, vanity and absurdity as the angels’ gift to the comically inclined. He used humor for navigating life right until the end.
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Mary Lewis Bizot, his sister Beth Bizot of Louisville, and his sister Suzanne Bizot of Windham, NH.
Service will be held 10 AM Friday, July 27, 2018 at Highland Presbyterian Church, 1011 Cherokee Rd. Visitation will be held 5-7 PM Thursday, July 26, 2018 at Pearson’s, 149 Breckenridge Ln. His ashes will be spread at sea near Martha’s Vineyard. Latitude: 41.29.83 North, Longitude: 70.31.04 West, Water Depth 75′.
In lieu of flowers, friends and family are asked to make contributions Living Water for the World c/o Highland Presbyterian Church 1011 Cherokee Rd. Louisville, KY 40204 Donations can also be made to Kentucky Refugee Ministries at https://kyrm.org/give/donate-funds/ or via mail at 969B Cherokee Road, Louisville, KY 40204. Please put “In honor of Barry Bizot, M.D.” in the memo line.”
Published in The Courier-Journal on July 22, 2018
Life-long learner. Eternal curiosity. Accomplished craftsman. Beauty lover. Artist. Creator. Traveler. Knowledge Adventurer. Project-oriented. Independent. Self-starter. Self-sufficient. Socially capable. Genuine sense of humor. Renaissance Man. A shining star amidst the world’s baseness and senseless inanity.
A consummate human being, one who will be sorely missed on this planetary orb, even if I never knew him. Rest in peace my unknown friend.
- Obituary: W. Barry Bizot M.D., Legacy.com