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Life Story / Obituary
Charlie Bartholomew was a wonderful husband, a loving father, and a compassionate grandfather. To know him was to know a man of true integrity who kept his word and never held a grudge. His warm personality and wonderful sense of humor will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by all who knew and loved him.
The 1940s were characterized by WWII. Some of the most significant inventions that would impact lives for many years to come were created during this time. including the mobile phone, Tupperware, and credit cards. Henry and Mary (Hacker) Bartholomew were delighted when their son Charles arrived on January 4, 1946, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His birth brought them great joy and happiness.
Charlie grew up in the area of Kalamazoo College known as ¨The Court.¨ He made many special memories running through that part of the neighborhood as if he and his friends owned it. At times, they also hung out on the fire escape and listened in on lectures on campus, sometimes darting through the classroom to getaway! One of the special perks of living there was trick or treating because the fraternities would stop at nothing to create a sensational Halloween.
Later, the family relocated to Otsego and Charlie joined the baseball team at Otsego High School. Graduating at the top of his class, Charlie earned a full scholarship to attend Michigan State University. He joined the honors fraternity, Tau Beta Pi. During his junior year, he married his high school sweetheart, Judy, on June 24, 1967. They remained in married housing while he completed his bachelor’s in engineering.
He took his first job at the labs for IBM in Rochester, Minnesota. Soon after, he was drafted into the United States Army. Stationed in New Jersey at Picatinny Arsenal, Charlie became friends with several couples there who had also been working at IBM before being drafted. During this time, he assisted with developing and engineering weapons and anti-personnel devices. He and Judy also welcomed home their newborn son, Charles Jr., during their time in New Jersey.
After being discharged from the Army, he and his young family moved back to Rochester, where his job with IBM was waiting for him. Longing to be back in Michigan to be closer to family, they relocated to Kalamazoo and Charlie went to work as a systems engineer. His natural charm and sense of humor led him to be very successful among many clients as well as co-workers over the years. He and Judy also welcomed home two more children; Julie and David. Once a year, he and Judy took the kids on vacation. They cherished trips to Mackinac Island, Cedar Point, as well as one memorable trip to Florida in the minivan. A huge fan of rollercoasters, he was excited when all the kids had grown tall enough to take on the big rides in the park! Active in his children’s lives, Charlie was a scout leader with the Boy Scouts. Although he wasn’t fond of camping, they would camp together at least once a year. There simply wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for the family he loved.
Frugal throughout this life, his wife Judy was known to call him to ask if she could make certain purchases. Of course he agreed, but once in a while that meant the family may be doing a bit of manual labor around the house, like stripping wallpaper, to save a few dollars! He taught his kids to be independent problem solvers and to always be compassionate with others. He believed in letting them find their own answers and solutions to the challenges in life. A man of simple pleasures, Charlie loved reading, particularly about history or important figures, and took exceptional pride in keeping up his yard making sure the lines were always going in the right direction.
As much as he relished his years as a father, Charlie felt truly blessed when he became a grandfather and creating special memories with each of his grandkids. He and his grandson, Colin, enjoyed countless fishing trips. Charlie was also known for his secret stash of candy bars and always kept a special treat for his granddaughter, Madeline, during their trips to Western twice a week. Charlie also loved attending Kyle’s basketball games, Courtney’s swim meets, and Emily’s dance recitals as well as watching Colin and Madeline’s soccer games, always cheering them on from the sidelines. A strong provider for the family he loved, Charlie lived his life fully by sharing many small acts of love and sacrifice. May his loved ones never doubt his unending love for each and every one of them and may his many special memories be eternal.
Charles “Charlie” Bartholomew, age 74, of Vicksburg, Michigan, died on June 26, 2020. Charlie was preceded in death by his parents. Surviving are his wonderful wife of 53 years, Judy; 3 children: Charles (Susan) Bartholomew Jr., Julie (Matthew) McKee, and David Bartholomew; 5 grandchildren: Courtney, Kyle, Emily, Madeline, and Colin; 1 brother: Henry Bartholomew III; and 2 nephews: Henry (Tracy) Bartholomew IV and Phillip Bartholomew. Cremation has taken place. A private Life Story service will be held with interment at Fort Custer National Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Visit Charlie’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900.