Roy Alvin Bartlett passed away 13 July 2020 from congestive heart failure at the age of 100 years, 20 weeks and 5 days. He was born on 19 February 1920 to Ferd Sidney Bartlett and Nina Mae (Pearl) Reeves in Latah, Spokane County, Washington, the fifth of seven children. Roy spent his growing up years on the family farm about 4 miles NE of Latah near the Whitman County line.
He attended Bell country school near his home starting the day he turned 6 because his mother told him he should go to school. He continued first grade the following year at Bell School, riding to school with his three older siblings in a one horse buggy. When Bell school closed in 1927, he went to school in Latah. In the wintertime they rode to school in a horse drawn sleigh with other kids on the route.
Roy had an excellent memory and could remember things back to age 2. Over the years he shared many stories of growing up on a farm during the depression. He loved family and area history and was always willing and happy to share stories and have conversations with anyone who was interested. He kept his good memory all of his life.
He loved music–a love inherited from the Reeves family. His mother and sisters played the piano by ear and his brothers, uncles and grandfather made and played instruments. In high school Roy played alto saxophone in band and in a saxophone trio. His father traded a half load of hay for the saxophone for Roy. He was elected captain of the Latah Bobcats basketball team as a junior. After practice and games he often walked 4 miles home in the darkness of winter. It took about an hour but if the coyotes were howling and it was cold, he made it in less time.
Roy was often called “Deacon” by his friends because he dressed in nice clothes, reminding them of a pastor. He often wore a white shirt and tie to school and continued to dress in a pressed shirt and slacks and polished shoes until his death.
To help support his family, Roy went to work at 11 years old driving dump rake, and at age 12 progressed to driving tractor at night. He was paid 25 cents an hour for his 6 PM-6 AM shift. The tractor had one light powered by an old 6 Volt car battery. At age 13 he bought an old Model T car for $5. The back part of the car had been removed and there were no seats, so he sat on a 5 gallon metal bucket to drive it. He continued to work for farmers throughout high school.
He graduated from Latah High School in 1938 and continued to live and work in the Latah area for 18 months. He began working on Earl Corum’s farm in Lovell Valley, Benewah County, Idaho in June 1939, becoming better acquainted with Earl’s daughter, Fern, that summer. When Fern returned to school in Spokane, Roy followed by moving to Spokane in June 1940 where he was an orderly at Deaconess Hospital. Later he moved back to Latah to work, but continued to see Fern. In January 1941 he gave his 1933 Chevrolet to his parents, caught the stage in Latah and moved to Spokane. The stage, operated by the Union Pacific Railroad, was a motorized vehicle that held about 15 people and cost 90 cents to ride.
Roy lived at the Pacific Hotel, cleaning rooms to pay for his room. He worked at a café where he got his noon meal in exchange for waiting tables and running the cash register and at another café where he washed dishes at night for his evening meal. He later got a job at Newberry’s stocking shelves.
He worked parties at the Davenport Hotel in the evening, often in the Marie Antoinette room. When he finished at 3 AM, he went to the basement where a big sealed drum was used to clean silver. Roy and another man put the forks in the drum, then the knives, the spoons, the nice vases, and lastly the silver money. The Davenport was known for polishing money. In April 1941 he went to work at Marshall Wells as an order clerk, a job he loved. Roy and Fern were married at St. John’s Cathedral in Spokane on 3 October 1941. They often took the week-end train to Tekoa to help Fern’s parents on the farm, and in the summer of 1942 they moved to the farm.
In 1943 Roy joined the Elks Club in St. Maries, Idaho and the Tekoa Grange, retaining lifetime memberships. He was a charter member of the Tekoa Jaycee Club in 1944. He and Fern were active in the Tekoa First Christian Church and he helped excavate the basement in 1946. In 1953 the family moved to their home on Crosby Street in Tekoa and Roy and Fern were very active in many local activities, including Slippery Gulch. They were big boosters of Tekoa sports and avid hockey fans, supporting the Spokane team for years. Roy served two terms on the Tekoa School Board in the 1960's when the new high school was built. In 1976 he became an EMT, serving for many years. He was elected President of the Tekoa Ambulance Association and was instrumental in acquiring a new ambulance for Tekoa.
Roy was a very creative and artistic person, using his talent to construct Christmas decorations for their yard and porch winning many awards. He remodeled all of the rooms in their home. He could fix anything or make parts to repair things because he never threw away anything. He was a “jack of all trades”.
He began driving semi-trucks in 1960 for his brothers and eventually purchased his own Kenworth trucks, hauling grain to Portland, Oregon, to Montana and places in between. He retired from farming in 1985, but continued to work for area farmers into his 80's. Fern and Roy loved taking cruises, totaling 16 in all.
In 2006, they sold their Tekoa home and moved to Harbor Crest Senior Living in Spokane. In February 2009 they moved to Bishop Place Senior Living in Pullman to be near their daughter and son-in-law. Fern passed away 20 July 2011. Roy continued to live at Bishop Place in the independent living wing making many new friends. He was known for his friendliness, his generosity, his gentlemanly ways, his classy dressing style, his love of conversation with anyone (he never knew a stranger), his curiosity which helped keep him abreast of the times, and his continued love of music.
The family extends their thanks and much appreciation to Lorna Shompole, her family and caregivers (Nai, Nancy, Justus, Jackie, Jennifer and Priscilla) for the tender loving care they gave to Roy.
He is survived by his daughter, Monica Peters, and her husband, Don, who he considered a son, Pullman, WA; his son, Tim, Marysville, WA; his son, Lynn (Stephanie Kyes) Bremerton, WA; his grandchildren: Brent Peters, Palouse; Wendy Cawley (Rich), Portland, OR; Shannon Kizer (Ben), Portland, OR; Emily Jones (Kelly), Santa Barbara, CA; Rachel Bartlett (Ron Icayan), Richland, WA; Delaney Bartlett and Ben Bartlett, Bremerton, WA; his great-grandchildren: Jesse Cawley, Las Vegas, NV; Paige Cawley, Portland, OR; and Led, Kate and Samuel Jones, Santa Barbara, CA. He is also survived by his sisters, Alice Pottratz, Latah, WA and Delores Clausen, Spokane, WA, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Tom (1972) and Charles (Bud) (1963), his sister, Georgia (1938), and an infant sister, Thelma (1914).
Due to the Covid-19 virus, a private graveside service for the immediate family will be held at the Goldenrod Cemetery in Tekoa. Visitation/viewing is available by contacting Kramer Funeral Home at 509-284-5501. You can visit their website at https://tekoa.kramercares.com/
Memorials may be given to Shriners Hospital for Children, 911 W. 5th Avenue, Spokane, WA 99204 or Tekoa Community Church, Box 845, Tekoa, WA 99033. Please include a note: In memory of Roy Bartlett.
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Shriners Hospital for Children
911 W. 5th Avenue, Spokane WA 99204