Thomas Edison Bartlett


Thomas Edison Bartlett died June 8, 2007. He left a life of service to his country and to society.

He was born April 6, 1917 in Modesto, Calif. At the age of 6, his family moved to St. Petersburg, Fla. to start a new business venture with the original J.C. Penney.

Mr. Bartlett completed surveying school and moved west to Arizona, where he surveyed roads and rights-of-way for Gila County. His recollection of the Rim Country in the 30s was: "Lots of pine trees, dirt roads and horses. A few ranches. Not so many people." He recalled living in tents and getting weekly supplies in the tiny town of Payson, where the industrial base was logging, mining and milling.

He loved flying. In 1939, he flew his first solo flight from a dirt airstrip at the far western edge of Phoenix on 6th Avenue, near what is now the Central Arizona Canal. After the war, he purchased a war-surplus Vultee BT13 Vibrator, which he owned for many years.

The beginning of World War II found Mr. Bartlett working in the Bahamas. He surveyed new airfields for the Royal Air Force and U.S. Army. During this time, he met the Duke of Windsor and his wife, Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom the former King of England renounced the throne.

Due to his critical job, he was not released for military service until 1943. At that time he enlisted in the Navy. He served aboard the USS Gulfstream, Tualatin and Indiana.

After the war, Mr. Bartlett continued his service to society by entering law enforcement. He was a deputy sheriff in Florida and in Maricopa County until retirement in 1974, when he was cited for "duties so long performed with integrity and dedication."

He is survived by his wife, Geraldine; and daughters, Terry Martinez and Patty Sauceda.

His family and friends will remember him as a loving husband and father, and as a strong and modest man who always did his best to help others.

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