Obituary of Earl James Bartel
Earl James Bartel was born in Lehigh, Kansas in 1922 and passed away peacefully at home at age 90, of complications from Alzheimer‘s Disease. As a child in the tiny Mennonite farming community of Lehigh, Earl played with his two younger brothers, Allen and Robert, and wrote later of his memories of the annual cattle drive through the center of town. A basketball player in high school, he earned a basketball scholarship to Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas, where he also played football and was a pole-vaulter on the track team. His parents allowed him to enlist in the war effort after his 21st birthday, and in 1943 he left Bethel for the Army Air Corps, with the hope of becoming a pilot. During World War II, Earl served as a pilot instructor, first in Nebraska and later at Kahuku and Bellows Field in Hawaii.
After the war ended, Earl returned to Kansas, married Viola Kliewer and completed college at Kansas State University, earning a degree in architecture. His son Ty James was born in 1948 and daughter Jonni Sue in 1952. After running a cabinet and millwork company in Kansas, he moved to Salem, Oregon and Kingsburg, California, where he designed homes, churches and commercial buildings, and worked for government and private construction firms. In 1970 he married Grace Mininger Weaver, and she and her two children joined him in the home he had designed and built in Kingsburg. During those years Earl and Grace’s home became a center of hospitality for many family members, and Earl and Grace blessed many people with love and support. In 1979 they also built a home he designed in Yosemite West, a private development just inside the National Park boundaries, where they welcomed gatherings of family and friends for many years.
After all their children had grown and moved out on their own, Earl and Grace moved to San Francisco, where he supervised building projects for a major commercial builder. He also renovated apartments and condominiums and supported Grace as she sold real estate and sang with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. In their spare time, they enjoyed fishing off the California coast and in rivers throughout California and Oregon, as well as visiting their children all over the United States. In 2000 they left San Francisco and began dividing their time between their home in Yosemite and family in Reno, Nevada. In 2006 they moved to Beaverton, Oregon, where they have lived since.
Among the many things his family and friends remember about Earl is his ready wit. His humor is legend among those who loved him, and survived even through his struggles with Alzheimer‘s Disease. As he loved to remind his family, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”
Earl is survived by his wife, Grace; son Ty Bartel of New Orleans, Louisiana; daughter Flora Love (Jonni Sue) of Mt. Shasta, California: son Brent Weaver of Newberg, Oregon; and daughter Becki Davis of Reno, Nevada; nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Memorial plans are pending.