Ethel Lucille Bartholomew passed away on April 29, 2014 at the age off 99. Ethel was born on Sept. 30, 1914 in the town of Brutus, New York â the first child of HowÂŹard Zellar and Amelia (Dutton) Zellar.
Ethel grew up in Weedsport, New York, and was joined by a sister and five brothers, before her fatherâs sudden death from meningitis. The youngest, a baby boy, also died from the disÂŹease. As the oldest, Ethel left school and worked in a dress factory to help support the family. When her mother remarÂŹried, Ethel returned to school and graduated with the WeedÂŹsport class of 1933.
In 1934, Ethel married Carlos W. Bartholomew and the two were employed by a prominent Syracuse family â Ethel as a seamstress, and Carlos as a chauffeur. They soon began a family, then moved to the farm of Carlosâ aging parents, caring for them as their health declined. Wartime brought them back to Syracuse, where those not in military service were needed for other vital occupations. Hospitals, too, needed help, so Ethel volunteered at Crouse Irving Memorial (CIM) Hospital, just a few blocks from their home.
After the war, Carlos and Ethel purchased a âTourist Homeâ in Lake George, NY, located in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of northern New York. With over 20 guest beds, and serving two meals every day, they worked tirelessly May-September. During the off-season, CarÂŹlos helped build motel units â then a new concept--which were destined to squeeze out the popular tourist homes. After sellÂŹing the business, they returned to Syracuse where they purÂŹchased a candy store featuring hand-dipped chocolates. Their children enjoyed âhelping,â especially when it included working with their hands deep in melted chocolate!
When General Electric expanded in Syracuse, Carlos went to work for G.E.; and Ethel became employed by Pass & Seymour as secretary to the Personnel Director. They were both comÂŹmitted to making it possible for their two children to be able to afford a college education. Many sacrifices were made toward that end. Vacations meant trips to their cousinsâ farm, card games, backyard ball games, picnicsâteasing, lots of laughterâand sharing those good times with aunts, uncles, and dozens of cousins. Both children managed to go to Penn State and be together.
However, just weeks after his graduation, their son was killed in an unexplainable auto accident. Their daughter marÂŹried and moved to Washington State, and Ethel began to fill the void by taking night classes at Syracuse University. As her 50th birthday approached, she decided to become a full-time student to obtain her teaching certification. She graduÂŹated in 1964 and began teaching that Fall. In 1967, while emÂŹployed as a high-school teacher on English and Journalism, Ethel completed a Masterâs Degree in Student Personnel AdÂŹministraÂŹtion. She then accepted a position as an Assistant Dean of Students at SUNY, Geneseo, NY. While at Geneseo, she atÂŹtained a Masterâs Degree in English. In 1969, she was apÂŹpointed Dean of Students at Crouse Irving Memorial (CIM) Hospital School of Nursing, the same place she had volunÂŹteered years earlier!
She found great satisfaction in her work there, especially the recruitment of new nursing students and developing evening and week-end programs to accommodate working adults who were likely nursing candidatesâsuch as Firemen, LPNâs, and EMTâs. After 17 years, she retired at age 75, and soon began volunteering at Auburn Memorial Hospital in Auburn, NY.
Within a year of her retirement, she was seriously inÂŹjured when she was hit by a car. Her broken bones were reÂŹpaired, but the nerve damage caused her increasing pain in the years ahead. Nevertheless, true to her commitment to alÂŹways try to be useful, she determinedly made her way back to self-suffiÂŹciency. She once again became able to walk and then even dance â which she did for years into her future, including weekly dances with âDay Out for the Blindâ in Spokane.
When her macular degeneration worsened, she moved to Washington to be close to her daughter. Never letting go of her small-town roots, she chose to live in the family home in Colville. In Colville, she reconnected with friends sheâd met when visiting her daughter and family years before. She enÂŹjoyed having the Library, City Hall, Church, Post Office, Court House, and grocery stores â all within walking distance â and Ethel walked to them all!! She also walked to Mt. Carmel HosÂŹpital to volunteer â once again working in a hospital in an efÂŹfort to make herself useful.
Recent years have given her opportunities to continue to share her love of learning, as well as her wit and wisdom from her lifeâs experiences. She openly expressed gratitude for the persons and circumstances that had made her life accomÂŹplishments possible. She believed reading to be the gateway to knowledge and understanding, conveying that belief to her children, her students, and anyone who knew her. She never lost her interest and curiosity about news and events. She especially enjoyed conversations with other well-read, interesting and insightful people, who were not constrained by their preÂŹconceived prejudices. She never forgot the poverty and struggles of her family, and how much the non-judgmental assistance given by others had meant for their survival and opportunities. Compassion, empathy and fairness were her tradeÂŹmarks, always delivered with the admonition to âMake yourself useful, as well as ornamental!!â
Ethel gave of herself throughout her lif- time to the needs of her family, friends, and community. She believed in having dinner as a family, every night, around the dinner taÂŹble, and encouraged her children to work to achieve their dreams. Ethelâs no-nonsense attitude, and sharp intellect, still intact at 99, continued to be a positive inspiration to those who knew her.
Ethel was preceded in death by her son, Bruce, in 1958; Carlos, in 1988; and all of her eight siblings.
She is survived by her daughter, âHollyâ Ann OâConnell, at their Colville home; four grandchildren: Daniel, Timothy, and Brian OâConnell, and Theresa Short; as well as three great grandchildren.
A memorial service was held May 20 at the Colville Community Church. The graveside service will be held later at Oakwood/Morningside Cemetery in Syracuse, NY, under the direction of Bush Funeral Home, 15 N. Main St., Jordan, NY 13080.
Memorial contributions may be given to the Colville Public Library.
Please visit the on-line memorial and sign the guestbook at www.danekasfuneralchapel.com.
Danekas Funeral Chapel and Crematory is entrusted with the arrangements in Colville.