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 ‚Äď the first child of How¬¨ard Zellar and Amelia (Dutton) Zellar.
Ethel grew up in Weedsport, New York, and was joined by a sister and five brothers, before her father‚Äôs sudden death from meningitis. The youngest, a baby boy, also died from the dis¬¨ease. As the oldest, Ethel left school and worked in a dress factory to help support the family. When her mother remar¬¨ried, Ethel returned to school and graduated with the Weed¬¨sport class of 1933.
In 1934, Ethel married Carlos W. Bartholomew and the two were employed by a prominent Syracuse family ‚Äď Ethel as a seamstress, and Carlos as a chauffeur. They soon began a family, then moved to the farm of Carlos‚Äô 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 ‚ÄúTourist Home‚ÄĚ 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, Car¬¨los helped build motel units ‚Äď then a new concept--which were destined to squeeze out the popular tourist homes. After sell¬¨ing the business, they returned to Syracuse where they pur¬¨chased a candy store featuring hand-dipped chocolates. Their children enjoyed ‚Äúhelping,‚ÄĚ 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 com¬¨mitted 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 cousins‚Äô farm, card games, backyard ball games, picnics‚Äďteasing, lots of laughter‚Äďand 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 mar¬¨ried 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 gradu¬¨ated in 1964 and began teaching that Fall. In 1967, while em¬¨ployed as a high-school teacher on English and Journalism, Ethel completed a Master‚Äôs Degree in Student Personnel Ad¬¨ministra¬¨tion. She then accepted a position as an Assistant Dean of Students at SUNY, Geneseo, NY. While at Geneseo, she at¬¨tained a Master‚Äôs Degree in English. In 1969, she was ap¬¨pointed Dean of Students at Crouse Irving Memorial (CIM) Hospital School of Nursing, the same place she had volun¬¨teered 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 candidates‚Äďsuch as Firemen, LPN‚Äôs, and EMT‚Äôs. 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 in¬¨jured when she was hit by a car. Her broken bones were re¬¨paired, but the nerve damage caused her increasing pain in the years ahead. Nevertheless, true to her commitment to al¬¨ways try to be useful, she determinedly made her way back to self-suffi¬¨ciency. She once again became able to walk and then even dance ‚Äď which she did for years into her future, including weekly dances with ‚ÄúDay Out for the Blind‚ÄĚ 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 she‚Äôd met when visiting her daughter and family years before. She en¬¨joyed having the Library, City Hall, Church, Post Office, Court House, and grocery stores ‚Äď all within walking distance ‚Äď and Ethel walked to them all!! She also walked to Mt. Carmel Hos¬¨pital to volunteer ‚Äď once again working in a hospital in an ef¬¨fort 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 life‚Äôs experiences. She openly expressed gratitude for the persons and circumstances that had made her life accom¬¨plishments 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 pre¬¨conceived 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 trade¬¨marks, always delivered with the admonition to ‚ÄúMake yourself useful, as well as ornamental!!‚ÄĚ
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 ta¬¨ble, and encouraged her children to work to achieve their dreams. Ethel‚Äôs 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, ‚ÄúHolly‚ÄĚ Ann O‚ÄôConnell, at their Colville home; four grandchildren: Daniel, Timothy, and Brian O‚ÄôConnell, 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.