Joseph George Bouzek
August 14, 1932 – October 11, 2021
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 first-born son of George Bouzek and Loretta Marie Hojecki Bouzek. He had three sisters and two brothers: Marie, George, Dorothy, Fred, and Delores. His formative years in a Polish community in Chicago were both interesting and challenging. He worked as an usher at RKO Theater, trained as an apprentice at a floral shop for a year, and due to heart issues resulting in a heart attack as a teenager, attended high school for children with special needs. He struggled in school as a child, but during high school, he received greater academic support and became more confident. In those years, he developed a lifelong loyalty to the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bears. In those experiences, he also began to develop an appreciation for beauty, his own creativity, and a lifelong joy for classic movies and flowers.
After high school in Chicago, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, ultimately 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, honorary Southerner. After his distinguished military service, he attended and graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in sociology. He began college thinking he would become a minister or perhaps a lawyer, but after a fieldwork placement in Savannah at a children’s home, decided to pursue a career as a social worker, specifically so that he could help at-risk children. His lifelong commitment to helping people become healthy and whole thus began. He received his Master of Social Work from Florida State University. He met and married Bobbye Warner Bouzek, and had two sons, Larry and Warner.
He worked in children’s homes in different administrative leadership roles during much of his career, in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He was the executive director of the Appleton Children’s Home in Macon, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, and the Covington Protestant Children’s Home in Covington, Kentucky. At Appleton, he was an innovative leader in the development of group homes, where at-risk lived together in homes and out of an orphanage facility. In Macon, he met the enduring love of his life, Glenda Day Lewis. He knew early on that he was destined to marry his “Pretty Lady” and amazingly, was not deterred 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, and then moved to Kentucky, where they worked alongside each other. Professionally, they were pioneers in developing innovative and effective therapeutic approaches, including using music, art, writing, gardening, woodworking, drama, and sports as healing modalities along with more traditional ones like individual and group therapy. They created and managed an on-site school to meet the children’s unique and diverse needs. Their leadership changed and saved lives, defied the odds, and brought joy, hope, and meaning to others. For their extraordinary contributions, both Joe and Glenda were honored as Kentucky Colonels by the Governor of Kentucky. Their greatest reward, however, was seeing children’s lives positively transformed.
In time, he, Glenda, Lisa, and Robert became a blended family whose bonds of love, gratitude and understanding have only deepened. In 1986, the family moved back to Macon. Professionally, he continued to help people become healthy, but his focus shifted from adolescents to adults and families. Joe began serving as a psychiatric social worker at the Medical Center of Central Georgia. For a long period of time, he also maintained a private psychotherapy practice, one with a psychiatric practice and the other one on his own. He worked at the Medical Center until he was 86, receiving multiple awards from the hospital and Macon community for his contributions to the mental health care of thousands in the Macon area. Joe usually did not tell his family about these awards, but what he enjoyed most was seeing his former patients build happier, healthier and more productive lives. He helped individuals find and fulfill their God-given potential, families to become stronger and more functional, and hundreds of people who were confronting anxiety, depression, grief, addiction, abuse, trauma, and other mental health issues. He was a lifelong learner, developing specializations throughout his career in adolescent psychology, addiction, grief counseling, and transaction analysis. His work with children extended in the broader community as well; for example, as a member of First Presbyterian Church, he was a children’s church leader. He also worked in the church’s Counseling Center.
Joe’s personal interests were as expansive and eclectic as he was. He built beautiful pieces of wood furniture, created breathtaking pieces of stained glass, produced stunning crocheted images, created insightful and beautiful photographs, hunted for fossils out West, enjoyed Westerns and history shows on television, and read hundreds of fantasy novels (favorites included King Arthur tales), and his daily Wall Street Journal. He loved classical music, art, the theater, day trips to the mountains, and the mountain home in 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 soft, and was both like a lion and a teddy bear. He liked actual teddy bears, and for years, had a teddy bear applique added to the same style blue shirt he wore almost every day. He loved the holidays, particularly Christmas when he and Glenda would dress three different Christmas trees. One Christmas tree was outfitted with hand-crocheted angel ornaments he crafted, each one in honor or memory of Glenda’s mother and five aunts, to whom he was always devoted.
Joe is survived by thousands of people whose lives he touched. His oldest son, Larry, predeceased him. The family he leaves behind to remember him and honor his legacy are his wife, Glenda Bouzek of Macon; his daughter, Dr. Lisa M. Lewis of Baltimore; his sons, Warner Bouzek of Greenville, S.C. and Robert M. Lewis, Jr. (Wes Holt) of Atlanta; his grandchildren, Riley and Chandler Bouzek of Greenville, S.C., and Justin and Ethan Warner of Celebration, Florida; and his daughter-in-law, Claudia Beaux Warner, also of Celebration. The family thanks all of the wonderful people who have been gracious and kind to them and Joe during the past several months, especially the staff of 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 that Joe supported through 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.
All who want to celebrate and honor Joe’s life are invited to funeral services on Saturday, October 16, 2021, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Macon, and beginning at 1:00 p.m., followed by refreshments. Burial at Rose Hill Cemetery will be private. In hopeful anticipation of the passing of COVID-19 restrictions, a celebration of Joe’s life is being planned for next spring, at St. Francis Episcopal Church of Macon, where food, music, and stories will be shared.
Visit www.snowsmacon.com to express condolences. Snow's Memorial Chapel, Cherry St. has charge of the arrangements.
- The family he leaves behind to remember him and honor his legacy are his wife, Glenda Bouzek of Macon; his daughter, Dr. Lisa M. Lewis of Baltimore; his sons, Warner Bouzek of Greenville, S.C. and Robert M. Lewis, Jr. (Wes Holt) of Atlanta; his grandchildren, Riley and Chandler Bouzek of Greenville, S.C., and Justin and Ethan Warner of Celebration, Florida; and his daughter-in-law, Claudia Beaux Warner, also of Celebration.
- 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
- Vision Trust
Saturday, October 16, 2021
Visitation with Refreshments Following
Saturday, October 16, 2021
Burial - Private
Joseph George Bouzek
October 14, 2021
I am still grateful for this kind soul who supported us when we did not have the wisdom to leave school at a decent hour. There was never an impatient moment, never a cross word, not even a non-approving glare from Mr. B. I so admired the way you two "stewarded" and demonstrated your love...conduits through which all(of us) who crossed your paths, experienced The Father's Love. Thank you for sharing.
October 13, 2021
On behalf of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, the Order offers its deepest condolences and is proud of a life well lived by Colonel Bouzek.
Sherry Crose, Executive Director
Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels
October 13, 2021
Mr. Bouzek was the devoted and attentive husband of my beloved principal, Glenda Bouzek. I loved the tender loving affection he showed her every single time I was in their presence. He was so kind. His outreach for people in need was exemplary! What a blessing he was to so many people! Rest in Heaven, Mr. Bouzek!
Gail & Dan Johnston
October 13, 2021
Joe and Dan worked together at the Medical Center, T-6 unit. Joe will be remembered as being a "gruff" person, but Joe was a caring Counselor. He would confront clients and work to get them to take responsibility for their life. Joe was a friend. Before the pandemic. we would see him at Jeanene's Restaurant. He would sit with us and we would catch up on all the news. Joe was direct which I appreciated a lot. Then Joe would get his take out and go home to his wife. Joe always pushed people to be better. We all need people like Joe to push us to be our better selves.