September 26, 1942 ~ June 18, 2022

Born in: Fort Wayne , IN
Resided in: Owensboro, KY

David Bartholomy, 79, of Owensboro, died June 18, 2022, at Wellington Parc under the care of Hospice of Western Kentucky. He was born Sept. 26, 1942, in Fort Wayne, Ind., to Wayne and Patricia Bartholomy.
David graduated from Central Catholic High School in Fort Wayne, earned his bachelor’s degree in English at St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., and received his master’s degree in English from the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne.

After graduating from St. Joseph’s, he went to work for WKJG-TV and Radio as its continuity director. Upon receiving his master’s in 1968, he applied to Brescia College for the position of English instructor.
David always felt fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to teach at Brescia. He had no teaching experience, but Sister Mary Ruth Gehres was desperate for an English teacher and he was eager to be hired.
Several years later he was promoted to associate professor. David was often asked why he didn’t pursue a Ph.D. His pat answer was always that his goal was to teach and he did not think another degree was going to make him a better teacher.

It didn’t take long for David to earn the reputation as a firebrand. His students began calling him Bart. He was the first faculty member to break the dress code by wearing Levi’s and T-shirts to class. In his early years of teaching, he moonlighted as a bartender at the B&B Tavern and as a playground supervisor at Kendall- Perkins Park, where he developed many lifelong friendships. In a 1988 “Brescia Now” story celebrating his 20th anniversary, he said he was “motivated by a belief that (he) could invent a new and better way to teach writing.” In 1983, Prentice Hall agreed with him and published “Sometimes You Just Have to Stand Naked, A Guide to Interesting Writing.” He used “Naked” until he retired in 2016. A smattering of colleges have used his textbook. At his retirement, the administration building at Brescia was named for him and his friend and colleague Sister Mary Diane Taylor, who retired the same year.

During the early 1970s, he encouraged his students to adopt a political-social consciousness. He asked them to have open minds regarding ecology, women’s rights and civil rights. In the mid-1990s, David started the Third Tuesday Coffee House where writers from the Louisville, Evansville and Owensboro areas shared their work. One of his favorite projects was “Open 24 Hours,” a literary magazine he founded and produced for 32 years. In 2015, Brescia dedicated “24 Hours” to Bart. His sole mission was to teach his students to write well for themselves and others.

David was a Renaissance Man. Aside from being a talented writer, a stained glass artist and a potter, he was an organic gardener and carpenter who built a cabin in the woods on his farm in the mid-1990s. He and his grandson Ryan spent several summers there working on the cabin, fishing, swimming and learning outdoor cooking. And though he would say “only a blind person could mistake me for a golfer,” he was an award winning

coach who developed a successful golf program at Brescia which he ran from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s. David was easygoing verbally. He respected people’s verbiage and refrained from correcting people’s speech, except for any improper use of the word “literally.” Suzi was continually amazed at her husband’s productivity. One of her favorite stories to tell was how David literally built his cabin in Hancock County with lumber planed from trees cut on the farm, a bucket of nails, a hammer and hand saw, which was true, so he let “literally” ride. David leaves a void in many lives. Many of his former students give him credit for helping them achieve goals they had not thought possible. He was also a dedicated and enthusiastic grandfather who swam, rode bikes, shared music, wrote stories and played with his grandchildren Ryan, Lily, Bon and Jaxon.

In addition to his parents, David was preceded in death by his brother Patrick Wayne Bartholomy.

Survivors include Suzi, his wife of 56 years; daughter Brigitte and her husband, Jerry, of Nashville; sons Matthew and Jude, and Matthew’s girlfriend Molly Gibson, all of Owensboro; grandsons Ryan Hamilton Bartholomy, Jaxon Howard and his mother, Stephanie Howard, all of Owensboro; granddaughters Lily Jane Bartholomy of Nashville and Redway, Calif., and Bon Bartholomy of Owensboro; daughter-in-law, Rebecca Weafer of Owensboro; two brothers, Mark and wife, Rebecca, and Thomas and wife, Durenda; and three sisters, Ann Gillig and husband Steve, Jane and Paula Bartholomy.

The memorial service is at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 9, 2022, led by Father Larry Hostetter at the Brescia University Chapel. A reception will follow in the BU cafeteria. The service will be live streamed for those who are unable to attend. A link will be announced on social media and through Brescia’s alumni association. The family asks that expressions of sympathy take the form of donations to the David and Suzi Bartholomy Endowment Scholarship. Envelopes will be available at the service or donations can be mailed to Office of Advancement, Brescia University, 717 Frederica Street, Owensboro, KY 42303.

Haley McGinnis Funeral Home & Crematory is both honored and privileged to be entrusted with the care of Mr. Bartholomy. Leave your messages of condolence for the family of David Bartholomy and sign his virtual guestbook at www.haleymcginnis.com.

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  1. In my very first class at Brescia College, a gentleman who looked like a throwback from the ’60s, dressed in jeans and sandals, entered the room and took a seat at the tables with all the students. As a non-traditional student myself, I could appreciate having an equal in a class with youngsters who looked like they should still be in high school. Just before graduation day three years later, this gentleman, Bart, encouraged me to “just keep on writing.” And so I did. I am ever so grateful that he and Sister Ruth Gehres mentored me in my early years. I have been so very blessed by my Ursuline education and by the high standards of writing Bart set for me. He will be missed.

  2. Condolences to the Bartholomy family. I had a great experience as one of his first Creative Writing course students when David Bartholomy came to Brescia College in 1968.

  3. Our condolences to the family. Bart will remain a pillar of Brescia U. and of Owensboro, Ky. His memory will be a strength to many of his students.
    Nancy and George Skiadas

  4. Wonderful memories of Bart. Barry considered him his best friend at the college and enjoyed his humor to no end.
    Barry and Shirley McArdle

  5. Dick Florea, Fort Wayne, Indiana. We worked together at WKJG-TV and it has been fascinating to read this obituary and learn of his many accomplishments.

  6. Suzi and Family,
    So sorry to see Bart’s passing in the paper. He was a great asset to Brescia College. So sorry not to be able to attend his celebration of life but birthday parties for our two granddaughters were today as well. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Mary and Ed Riney

  7. Bart was my teacher. My mentor. My hero. My role model. And my friend.

    He was good to me. And he was kind to my mother. And i appreciate him everyday for it.

    I will go to the woods
    And yell
    Your name
    And i will



    And nor shall the interconnected trees of the earth.

  8. To Suzi and the family.
    Lawrence and I are so sorry to hear of the passing of David. Although this is a sad time, there are so many wonderful memories of David that will give you comfort and strength during this time. Our love and continued prayers are with you.♥️🙏🏾🙏🏾

  9. Thank you Bart for all you did for me. May your soul rest in peace. Having you teach me and work with me in writing was nothing short of a privilege. I will think of you often as I write.

  10. Bart was one of my first professors at Brescia. When I saw the name of the textbook for the class, I wasn’t sure what to expect. First day this gentle giant of a man walked in the room and quietly started teaching a room full of scared freshman. By the end of the semester I realized I had learned so much more from him than just about writing. Thank you, Bart.

  11. I love Bart with everything in me. He was a best friend to me for many years. He was my safe place. And a father figure but mostly that non-judgemental trusted friend. Bart helped me get clean and was always there for me when the entire world wasn’t. He sparked a lot of creatively in me and taught me how to truly relish life. I’m not sure I would even be alive today without him. Much less living richly. I wouldn’t be who I am without him either. He lives on for sure. Suzi and family, thank you for always having the open door. And sharing such a wonderful man and his gifts with the world. RIP Bart. You have left an incredible impact. I cannot wait to hang out in heaven.

  12. Bart was a true renaissance man. I always enjoyed talking to him on campus, at graduations, and at Brescia College golf scrambles.

  13. “Well organized, interesting, coherent. Too bad about the mistakes in punctuation. It will cost you one letter grade”. Those were the comments on my final draft English 102 research paper in 1974. Those damn commas! I enjoyed the class and my occasional encounters with Bart throughout his life. I will continue to remember him fondly every time I use a comma, as I have since 1974!

  14. Bart was the best reacher I ever had and the reason writing was such an important part of my career. Rest In Peace.

  15. One of the kindest, warmest and genuinely caring people from my years at Brescia. His absence is from the planet is sorely felt.

  16. Suzy, Matt, Brigitte, and Jude (and all the family): I will never forget Bart. He helped me grow as a writer when I was his student, and he continued to offer help after I started teaching. I am so sorry for your loss.

  17. Going to Brescia, you couldn’t be on campus five minutes and not hear about Bart. How he was a great professor and a wonderful writer. I was never fortunate enough to get into Bart’s classes, something I’m still sad about to this day. The impact he had on the Bearcat community is still felt and will continue to be felt for years to come. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
    Once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat.
    Chrissy Axley, class of 2002, 2009

  18. I was two days into my first class with Bart in the second semester as a freshman at Brescia that I realized I was in the wrong major. I had selected accounting as my major. Not because I wanted to do it but because it just seemed like a good paying job. It never felt right. And I was planning to switch schools.

    Something about Bart and the way that he talked about writing clicked with me, deeply. And then I started to get to know him. His humor. His advice. His gentle but frank honesty. And his willingness to listen to whatever was going on.

    I decided to stay at Brescia. I took every class with him that I could after that. I spent every available opportunity in his office. For no reason other than to just see him. And hang out. He was always welcoming. Never complained. Now as a father and grown man myself I realize how much of his time I wasted. And I appreciate his patience even more now.

    Because of his class I stayed at Brescia. Because of him, really. If it wasn’t for Bart I have no idea where I would have wound up. I wouldn’t have met my wife at Brescia. And I would not have stayed in Owensboro. I am extremely grateful for him and his classes. Not to mention The Broadcast and Open 24 Hours.

    I am amazed now seeing all the stories come out from other students. And seeing how many people he impacted in the same way as myself. And how that’s just who he was.

    He is a part of me a my wife. He will not be forgotten. Him. His beard. His green pen. His love for his family. That black corduroy jacket-like shirt. His music. His big grin and that laugh. Definitely going to miss him.

  19. Like many others, I credit Bart for many of my successes. I can’t imagine my life had I continued majoring in biology, and found a job in the medical field. Bart awakened a passion inside me. I had no idea what it meant to be a writer, but Bart made sure I knew that I had talent. I spent my college days writing poetry, short stories, and occasionally writing research papers, most of which landed on his desk for critiquing. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I’d return to school several years later to major in teaching. I just started my first independent teaching job in January. I have enjoyed every single day of it so far. I love knowing that I am channeling Bart in my lessons, when I’m building strong relationships with my students, encouraging them to conference with me 1:1 before submitting assignments, and teaching them the nuances of writing. The celebration of life for Bart was beautiful. I listened to story after story about this man. Every single one included the same line “I’d never met a man like Bart.” I’m inclined to believe he was one of a kind. I’m not sure how we all got so lucky to meet the same man, mostly in the same place, at a tiny Catholic college in Owensboro, KY. I count myself so lucky to have known him as a professor, mentor, and friend. Truly, I love you, Bart. I will forever be self conscious about using exclamation points in writing, using the term “awesome,” and “literally,” and saying something is ungrammatical. I wish I had written it all down. Every class. Every conference. Every moment.

  20. I lost my dad when I was sixteen. At seventeen, when I entered Brescia as a freshman, obviously I was in search of a male figure who would pay attention to me. Not only did Bart pay attention, he nurtured my writing and humor in such a way that it is now clear to me I never would have become a novelist or English teacher if not for his guidance. Outside of my own family, no one has influenced me more. He was so good to me and believed in me even when I did not myself. I just don’t know what I would’ve become if not for my dear friend Bart.

  21. Suzi – My sweet friend – my heart goes out to you and your family over the loss of your beloved David. May you find comfort and peace in your memories. Much love to you all.

    “Do not stand at my grave and weep;

    I am not there., I do not sleep.

    I am a thousand winds that blow.

    I am the diamond glints on snow.

    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

    I am the gentle autumn’s rain.

    When you awaken in the morning’s hush,

    I am the swift uplifting rush

    of quiet birds in circled flight.

    I am the soft stars that shine at night.

    Do not stand at my grave and cry;

    I am not there, I did not die.”

  22. I wasn’t able to attend the memorial service because we were on vacation. I spent the day on Current River among the Ozark Mountains, treasuring my family and enjoying nature. I think Bart would have liked that.

    Watching the livestream tonight was humbling. Although he could certainly make me feel like the only person in the room, I know I am one of hundreds Bart influenced through the years.

    People keep referring to Bart as a beatnick or a hippie. He may have dressed the part, but the man I remember was a work-a-holic. The light in his office was almost always on. Like many others, in the past couple of weeks, I have spent some time “in my folder” of writing and examining comments from Bart. The feedback he provided on my writing alone must have taken hours.

    I’ve never had much confidence in fiction, and I’m sure Bart knew that. For Creative Writing, I managed to turn in all narrative / poetry entries, but Bart insisted I write ONE fiction piece. On that piece, in the margins, Bart wrote “good” 27 times in his signature green ink. The story was only 13 pages long (double spaced). He knew exactly what I needed and when.

    After twenty years of my own teaching experience, I think about all we know about behavior management and the research regarding the ratio of positive to constructive feedback. Bart’s obituary confirmed what I already suspected. He had never taken an education class, but there he was, modeling that teaching strategy. He worked from pure instinct–finding ways to build students’ confidence one page at a time.

    Suzi, I am fairly certain we met only once or twice. However, I feel like I know you through your columns and mostly through the sparkle in Bart’s eyes when he spoke of you, a sparkle not just of love, but of respect as well. Please never underestimate the impression that made on the young people in his classes. It certainly made one on me. Thank you for sharing Bart with all of us.

  23. Bart was the most unusual professor Ive ever had, ive never liked literature or any type of class in that category. I liked to read but was never a fast reader so It always frustrated me and kept me from enjoying a good book. I took a fiction class with Bart and it was one of the best academic decisions I made. He changed the way I looked at books. During and after that semester and class I took with him, I often met up in his office to chat. We talked about my art pieces I was working on and he would give me book suggestions to try reading. Not only was he a great professor, he was a great person, friend, and mentor. I cherish the memories I have with him and Im forever grateful for the impact he made on me.

  24. Such a treasure. We will miss you even as you helped us blaze our endless highways, you Gonzo English teacher you. May we all write half as interestingly as you lived, since you towered and glowered over us all. Cheers Bart.

  25. Rest in peace, Bart. I would not be where I am without your guidance and mentorship.

    – Matt Lasley, Brescia Alumni 2012

  26. I did not have Bart as a teacher, but I enjoyed working with him as a patient and his role as golf coach at Brescia. Sam

  27. I took Bart’s Writing I class in my first semester at Brescia in fall 2001 and never even considered another instructor for Writing II. Despite my fear of his green pen, his was the first class I took that really seemed to matter. Even now, I’m struck by how much he cared about his students. He knew we weren’t all destined to become prolific writers, but he absolutely wanted us to learn to communicate effectively in whatever path we chose.

    Bart pushed me more than any teacher or instructor I’ve ever had. Why did I choose that word or phrase? What did I really believe to be true about that topic? Where did that opinion come from? This was transformative for me, not just in completing assignments but in forming my identity as a young adult. He never told us what to think but definitely showed us how to think, and I’ll always be grateful for that influence.

    Even when my coursework led me away from his classes, I could drop in on Bart at any moment. He never seemed the least bit surprised or bothered to see me plop into a chair in his office, and he was never too busy to chat about life or books (though, looking back, I suspect he often was). He was one of the first people to treat me like a “real grown-up” and I think a part of me will always strive to become half the person he thought I could be.

    The world feels a little less fun without Bart in it. I will never forget the impact he had on my life, and I’m so grateful to have known him, even for a little while.

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