Barry Bortnick


Barry Bortnick, of Silver Spring, died on May 25. He was 80.

Barry was born in Boston on May 20, 1939, as the younger son of Rose and Philip Bortnick. He attended Boston Latin School and moved to Cambridge in the 1960s to attend Harvard College, earning bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, all the while playing French horn in the Harvard Band.

Barry’s dissertation in social psychology explored human creativity and the development of an individual’s interest in the arts. Barry also studied in London and was a
Fulbright Scholar in Denmark. After graduating, Barry served as director of psychological research for the Kodaly Music Center in Boston.

As program director for humanities at UCLA Extension for more than two decades, Barry brought many of the pioneers of our time, including Chuck Yeager, Viktor Frankl, Whoopie Goldberg and the Dalai Lama, to share their insights with tens of thousands in the Los Angeles area. He was also the founding director of UCLA’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

When not at work, Barry loved to write music. His first musical, “Tivoli” was inspired by the amusement park of the same name he used to stroll through in Copenhagen. Later in life, Barry traveled back to the East Coast and taught classes on the American musical at local universities, including American, George Mason and Johns Hopkins.

Barry died after a decade-long fight with multiple myeloma, just days after celebrating his 80th birthday with family and friends. He is survived by his son, David; daughter-in-law, Susan; and three granddaughters, Naomi, Eliya and Mikala of Cabin John; and by his partner, Sharon Newman, of Silver Spring.

Contributions may be made to an environmental charity of choice.

Services entrusted to Sagel Bloomfield Danzansky Goldberg Funeral Care.

Never miss a story.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Email Address


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here