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Robert Arthur Bartlett

Died: August 3, 2020

One of the most tantalizing aspects of Yale in the early 1960’s was, for me at least, the fact that I was distracted from appreciating the extraordinary worth of the classmates around me by the brilliance of the architecture, the faculty, and the history of the school. Bob Bartlett was a case in point. I first encountered Bob in the late summer of 1962, when we both tried out for the freshman football team. Bob was diminutive in height but was powerfully built and deceptively fast. In our final game against Harvard, we were trailing when Bob went in for an injured player and promptly ripped off a 50-yard run for an apparent touchdown. Unfortunately, it was called back for a penalty, but we got a glimpse of big talent in a small package. And baseball, not football, was his best sport. When Bob took the field in the spring of our freshman year, he was entirely surrounded by fellow scholarship students manning the first team, and they were good.

Bob was a first baseman and pitcher, a leftie, and he went on to captain the team in his senior year. Bob had a wicked pickoff move which he perfected after Yale while playing in a league for fifty-year-olds and up, pitching a no-hitter at age 73! Bob would on occasion intentionally walk a batter just so he could pick him off at first. It was through the intercession of Bob Bartlett and Bob Riordan that Delaney Kiphuth, Yale’s Athletic Director, deferred replacing Ethan Allen, their beloved baseball coach.

At the suggestion of his father, who had strongly urged Bob to go to Yale, Bob went to law school at George Washington, rather than playing professional baseball, which he had the opportunity to do. He followed law school with four years as a JAG officer, retiring after 30 years total duty at the rank of colonel. Bob’s autobiographical note in the 50th Reunion Class Book is both touching and telling and confirms for me that Bob is one of the classmates I wish I had known better. He took the lessons of his NYC policeman father to heart and passed them on to his children with the patience, love, and commitment all fathers aspire to but not all achieve.

Bob and his wife Kerry and their child moved to Atlanta in 1973, where Bob practiced law for 47 years and reunited with old classmates Bert Broadfoot, Bob Riordan as he passed through Atlanta on his way to Florida, and fellow Desmos and DKE member Bob Frame, for whom Barts had been a groomsman at Bob’s wedding. The group met for lunch several times a year, and occasionally dinner at the Blue Ridge Grill.

Bob’s sudden and unexpected passing from an apparent heart attack was a crushing blow to his wife Kerry and their three children; but they may be comforted by the fact that his was a life well-lived.

 
Lynn Harrison


Remembrances

To say our father, Robert Arthur Bartlett, was a great man would be putting it lightly. He was our family’s rock, guiding, supporting, and leading us by example with his endless love, wisdom, sense of humor, and strength. He passed away in his home of sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 75 on Monday, August 3rd. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a private service was held shortly after his passing, with a larger celebration of his life planned for summer 2021.

Robert (known as Bob, Bart, and Butch) was born on August 13th, 1944 in New York City to George and Theresa Bartlett. A chance encounter between his father, a policeman on New York City’s Upper West Side, and the headmaster of Manhattan’s Trinity School, gave our father the opportunity to attend that prestigious institution where he earned both academic and athletic honors. Bob was a standout baseball player; legend has it, upon graduation from Trinity he was pursued by several professional teams. He was also pursued by Yale University. At his father’s behest, he chose Yale, playing both baseball and football for the Bulldogs. Bob was a first baseman and captain of the Yale baseball team, a member of the DKE fraternity along with a secret society, and an excellent student.

After receiving his B. A. from Yale in 1966, Bob received a J. D. degree from George Washington University National Law Center in 1969. He was soon admitted to practice law in Virginia, and served four years on active duty in the Army JAG Corps. Bob loved his country, and was proud to serve another 26 years in the Army Reserves, earning the title of Colonel. Bob’s work as a JAG officer took him all over the world, serving in Kuwait in the first Gulf War, and to many other destinations.

In 1973, Bob was admitted to practice law in Georgia, and moved to Atlanta with his wife, Kerry. He practiced with Heyman & Sizemore for almost four years, and in 1977 was one of the six co-founders of the law firm Hicks, Maloof & Campbell. Over the next 20 years this firm grew to over 60 attorneys, and in 1988, merged with Long, Aldridge & Norman, with Bob a partner in the merged firm. In January of 2010, Bob retired from that firm (then McKenna, Long & Aldridge, now Dentons). Our father had an incredible work ethic and passion for the law, we knew he’d never really retire, and so upon his retirement in 2010 he joined the firm Ragsdale, Beals, Seigler, Patterson & Gray as a sole practitioner. Bob was a highly respected corporate attorney, working on numerous large bankruptcies, cases involving complex money laundering schemes, and was even retained by the US Government for consultation on cases involving corporate fraud. Bob continued to practice law until his passing.

Bob remained an avid baseball player as well. For 25 years he played in the men’s senior league, traveling all over the country, and attending their World Series events (often participating in multiple age groups) for many years. In his later years Bob transitioned from first baseman to pitcher and was known for his stealthy pick-off moves. He achieved many “no-hitters” throughout his career, the last of which was when he was 73 against a team in the men’s 50-and-over league. Bob was an excellent athlete and could often be found riding his bike around East Cobb on the weekends.

Bob adored his family and grandchildren. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Kerry, with whom he traveled the world and treasured deeply, his three children, Jamie Bartlett of Atlanta, Georgia, Toby Bartlett of Atlanta, Georgia and Courtney Posch of Munich, Germany, his sister Carole Peyton of Asheville, North Carolina, and brother George Bartlett of New York, New York, and his five grandchildren: Emma & Avery Bartlett (Jamie), Sebastian & Gavin Bartlett (Toby), and Lilly Posch (Courtney).

In lieu of flowers we kindly ask for contributions to be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation or the Cure JM Foundation.