Richard Edward Bartholomew was born on Oct. 2, 1933 in Melrose, Mass., to Agnes Elizabeth Markland and John Joseph Bartholomew. He passed away on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach due to complications from pneumonia and Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS).
In 1944, his mother drove their 1936 Buick across the country with his four siblings and the family dog. His father followed later, and they settled in Pasadena. While a student at Pasadena City College, Dick Bartholomew studied physical education and then continued on to the University of Santa Barbara where he studied history, and was an active member of Delta Tau Delta. He played baseball, but an injury derailed his chances of playing professionally. When the Korean War started, he enlisted in officer candidate school in Washington D.C., and became a communications officer in the Navy. He travelled to Japan, and witnessed atomic bomb testing in Enewetak atoll as one of thousands of servicemen who were part of atmospheric nuclear tests. (The MDS cancer was most likely caused by these tests).
After his discharge, he moved back to the West Coast, and taught at Foothill Junior High in Arcadia. He met and married another teacher, Judith Ann Sheehan, in 1964 and his first daughter Julia Beth was born in 1965.
The Bartholomews moved to Europe in 1969 and their second daughter, Gianna Teresa, was born in Vicenza, Italy, in 1971.
In 1974 they moved to Laguna Beach. While their marriage ended in divorce, Dick and Judith remained friends and dedicated parents. Dick got a job at Santa Ana College, where he worked until 2003 as a guidance counselor for international students, and taught cross cultural communications amongst other classes. In his later years, he would gladly give his academic advice pro bono. Dick was a go-getter in life and an overall adventurous man. He enjoyed the great outdoors and travel. His VW bus was always ready to take his daughters camping and they drove across the U.S. and to the Sequoia, Yosemite, and Glacier National Parks.
A longtime resident of Laguna Beach, Dick enjoyed his long beach walks, golf, movies, crosswords, and anything about history and the immigrant experience. He was a talented and avid photographer. Spending quality time with his daughters brought him joy; he attended local events with Gianna in Orange County and travelled to see Julia in Portland and most recently, New York City. Unparalleled in his love of sports–especially college basketball–he enjoyed long phone calls with friends near and far about his favorite teams and players. He was an incredible athlete, and had a competitive spirit.
Always up for a long drive, he loved exploring and finding interesting new places. Leave it to him to find the best Italian restaurant wherever he went! Dick would strike up conversations with everyone and was genuinely interested in people, remembering details about their lives and families. His ability to keep connected with longtime friends was admirable, and his lifelong friendships were many. Richard Bartholomew: father, uncle, friend, neighbor, and educator will be so very missed by his daughters and the many people whose lives he impacted. Dick enjoyed a long and healthy life until winter of 2016, when he was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a type of cancer that affects the bone marrow. At his request, he was cremated and family held a burial at sea.
He is survived by his two daughters Julia Bartholomew-King and Gianna Bartholomew; his son-in-law Michael King; ex-wife Judith Phaeryn Sheehan; his brother, Harold John Groody; his sister-in-law Elizabeth “Betty” Bartholomew; nephews, Jerry Miller, David Miller, Karl Zittel, John Joseph Bartholomew III, Steven Clover, Bill Clover, and James “Jim” Groody; and nieces Joanne Miller Dillahunty, Patricia Clover Sweatte, Mary Bartholomew, and Cathy Espinoza. Preceding him in death were his siblings Lillian Clover, Catherine Birdsall, Rosalie Zittel and John Joseph Bartholomew II, and many dear friends.
A Celebration of Life event for Richard E. Bartholomew will take place from 1-6 pm on Sunday, Feb. 18 , 2018, at the Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach, 286 St. Ann’s Dr.
In lieu of flowers, the family has created the Richard E. Bartholomew Scholarship Fund at Santa Ana College to gift deserving students with college tuition. Donations can be mailed to: Santa Ana College Foundation, 1530 W. 17th St., Santa Ana, Ca., 92706. Please write Richard E. Bartholomew in the memo line.