In Memory

Barry Segal

Greg Friedman posted a message. 

Posted on: Dec 05, 2017 at 10:41 am

I regret to report that Barry Segal passed away this morning after a brave thirty year battle with Parkinson's Disease. It was sad to watch Barry's deterioration over the years as I always marveled at his athletic prowess -- he regularly creamed me at 1 on 1 hoops -- as well as his musical talents including an uncanny ability to improvise on the clarinet, sax and piano. He leaves his wonderful wife Elizabeth and Ross Dembling, his oldest friend since Kindergarten, who has spent the past two weeks by his bedside.

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12/09/17 01:43 PM #4    

Lisa Johnston (Howorth (Class President))

Oh--R.I.P. Barry, a smart and funny guy, as I recall. And a great hornplayer. I think, and hope I'm not mistaken, that I knew him as far back as Radnor Elementary, where he was an entertaining goofball and good dodgeball player. Lisa (johnston) Howorth

12/10/17 11:08 AM #5    

Rick Johnston Neumann (Chairman, Class Of 1970)

I remember Barry, Mark Rabin, and Kenny Grunley being hilarious at Lisa's 5th grade birthday party. (I wasnt invited, but hung around:-)

12/10/17 07:01 PM #6    

Judy Samuelson (Brandman)

Robbie Burk just reminded me of something regarding Barry. I think the camp that Robbie was referring to was my parents' camp, Ramblewood. At any rate, Barry did attend Ramblewood, but one of the things that really stands out about him is that even though he lived in Colorado at the time (a fair distance from Maryland) he still made a point of attending my mother's birthday party/camp reunion near Annapolis many years ago. That's the kind of guy he was....very caring and willing to go above and beyond to show others that they meant something to him. Rest in peace, Barry!  

12/14/17 05:56 PM #7    

Bill Rollins


Pyle Jr. High - Oh, those Halcyon Days - such as they were for two, 13-year-old boys...


In one respect, we WWHS ‘69ers are very fortunate to have known Barry at all. Geographically, he lived on the “BCC side” of Bradley Blvd., and but by the vagaries of school district boundaries, could have easily been a BCC Baron. I came to admire how Barry was so comfortable in his own skin. He was gracious enough to allow our friendship to remain somewhat secretive – as one mostly not shared with others, assuaging my social phobias.

Over our 7 years of friendship, our common interests would come to include woodwinds, fishing, baseball (as Senator Fans) and skiing. Those 4 interests were less about power and more about style & finesse – and Barry was all about that.

As a clarinetist, he was more Pete Fountain than Benny Goodman. As a fisherman, he was more Gadabout Gaddis than Ted Williams. As a baseball fan, he was more Ken Harrelson than Frank Howard. As a skier, well there was only one – Jean-Claude Killy.

At WWHS, Barry probably could have had any car he asked for. But he eschewed the typical 16-year-old’s choice of Mustang, Camaro, or GTO. Instead he chose a maverick of design for the time – a blue, AMC Javelin. He was particularly proud to point out that it was the only car having aerodynamic door handles, which were completely flush with the doors’ surfaces. Now that, was style!

At Pyle Jr. High, we met in 6th grade band class and he would invite me over to his house after school to work on some clarinet duets. But it was at his house where I realized what a clarinet talent he was. There, he gave me my first-ever, peer-generated “wow” moment when he performed “Bugle Call Rag” for me. Damn! The boy was a fearless, serious study and truly, really good!

Here's Benny Goodman's rendition...

Our Pyle-based friendship became that of adolescent, trash-talking, one-upmanship (but never mean-spirited) – typically, going something like this:

Upon meeting for lunch period, he’d finger the fabric of my shirtsleeve and ask, “Where’d you get these threads, Rollins? Did your mommy buy it for you at Sears?” To which, I’d snap his turtleneck’s collar and ask, “Is this another new dickey?” – being sure to place overemphasis on that first syllable.

My most memorable experience with Barry occurred when Barry, his uncle, my dad, and I went to Chesapeake Beach to hire a charter boat for an afternoon’s worth of trolling for Rockfish. It was a glorious, sunny day with just the four of us onboard fishing – a perfect setting for the making of memories.

How exciting it was to hook a Rock and have it take your line out. That excitement built as a slow crescendo over minutes of strenuous pulling & reeling, before the cymbal crash of finally seeing that fish burst into the air off of the stern.  What a thrill it was to see its tailfin launch a cloudburst of diamonds up into the sunlight, before all came raining back down onto the bay’s surface.

Come day’s end, all tired and sunburned, the boat headed back into the setting sun. This was now a time for about 20 minutes of introspection as the boat’s engines, now at cruising speed, precluded any conversation. Peering down into the boat’s ice chest at our day’s catch, even a 13-year-old boy could not help but to wonder how these game fish could fight so valiantly in life, and yet, reveal no agony in death. Ponderings in solitude, these – but a boy should not long dwell on such portentous thoughts.

My most visual experience with Barry occurred on the slopes of the Blue Knob Ski Resort on a trip there with WWHS’s Ski Club. I had heard that Barry was an excellent skier, but never really got to witness him as our talent levels were so disparate, and thus, the ski trails of choice. At one point in time our trails did cross and he sarcastically asked me if I was ready to graduate from “the Bunny Slope”. I complained how transitioning to the steeper, intermediate slopes was more difficult than I had anticipated – to which he scoffed, “C’mon, Rollins, skiing is so easy. Watch me...”

What transpired was a performance worthy of an ice dancer. Pointed down slope, he pushed off, gave two quick pumps, and then jumped into the air, executing a 180 degree turn. Now facing me back upslope & skiing very slowly (in reverse!) on a zigzag path, he beamed his patented, wise-ass grin and so nonchalantly said, “Just do this...”

Maintaining that grin & eye contact, he quickly executed two or three pumps, accelerating downhill (still in reverse), before one last 180 leap into the air – and he was gone. So quickly out of sight, he had left my mouth agape, denying me my deserved retort.

“Just do this...” Indeed!

Of all of the analogies as to what I had just witnessed, the one that continues to stick in my mind is that which was said about Ginger Rogers: “She danced every step Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels [ski boots]."

Well, Barry, they’re telling me now that you’re leaving us, and your crumpled body, behind. That you’re off to some high, alpine meadow where there will be an eternity of fresh powder to always greet your skis’ tips. But, before you go, come back with me, if only for a moment, to that Blue Knob slope of half-century past. In the spirit of our juvenile bantering from back then, I now, at last, give you my retort:

“I know that was a dickey under your down jacket – and you ski like a girl!”

There! I’ve finally had the last word – well, at least for now.

Rest in Peace, my friend.


12/15/17 11:32 AM #8    

Deborah Schifter (Schiffmann)

Bill, what a beautiful tribute to your dear friend. Thanks for sharing it with us.

12/16/17 04:00 PM #9    

Robin Allentuck (Feinberg)

Bill, that was a beautiful dedication to Barry.


12/17/17 11:11 AM #10    

Victoria Brown (Crawford)

Bill, I so agree. Thank you for sharing your experiences with Barry with us all. 

12/18/17 11:20 PM #11    

Leland Gamson

Barry and I were in Bannockburn Elementary School together, Thomas W Pyle and Boy Scout Troop 1330. Barry's social consciense was evident early in the scouts. I remember once at Camp Roosevelt going to the canteen with him. He told me he always bought Pepsi over Coke , "in order to give the smaller company business".  His policy was to help the underdog. Barry, I look forward to hearing the sound of your sax in the Olam Haba.

Leland Gamson

02/05/18 01:18 PM #12    

Gail Bronson

I know this post is  inordinately late, but I did want to say how much I enjoyed Barry being one of our class members and a very talented one at that! So sorry to learn he had to grapple with Parkinson's, a very cruel disease when it becomes full-blown. sad RIP, my friend.

07/04/18 12:06 PM #13    

Greg Friedman

In the words of Barry's brother Don:

"Barry spent most of his adult life in the Rockies, skiing wherever he couldn't fish and fishing wherever he couldn't ski."

Despite his long illness, life was good to Barry and I know he treasured every moment.

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