I am writing with heartbreaking news. Associate Professor of German & Russian Languages and Literatures John Bartle, a member of the faculty since 1989, died suddenly on Friday.
As one colleague observed, John was a dedicated and inspiring teacher who devoted an extraordinary amount of time to establishing relationships with students that often resulted in lifelong friendships. Said a former department chair several years ago, “John is the ideal Hamilton College instructor: competent in different academic areas, diverse in his academic interests, and eager to expand his intellectual horizon.” He was equally complimentary of his colleagues, often acknowledging their support for his work at Hamilton.
John’s courses were popular with students, especially his 19th century Russian literature class, and his meticulous attention to students’ writing was evident in the progress they made developing and expressing their ideas, said a colleague and friend. “He brings an energy to this course that is truly amazing,” said one student in an evaluation. “Every day was filled with as many laughs as deep intellectual stimulation …. [H]e was filled with a passion you just can’t fake.”
John also served his profession as a scholar and, for 18 years, as associate editor for book reviews for the Slavic and East European Journal, during which time he solicited, edited, and published more than 2,000 book reviews. The journal editor called his service “a vital aspect of our evolving professional conversation about what we do and why.”
More recently, John pursued an interest in telling the stories of the area’s refugees, because they were his neighbors in Utica and he wanted to show how they contributed to a city with a shrinking population. He served as co-director of The Refugee Project, a collaborative effort of Hamilton faculty members and students to document the lives of refugee communities in Central New York. His work included the beginnings of a database containing basic information about each refugee’s arrival to Utica since 1979, which was to be part of a book-length project he was working on at the time of his death.
For more information please see the Eannace Funeral Home website where comments can be added to a Tribute Wall. A Memorial Service will be held at a later time. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Midtown Utica Community Center, The Center (formerly Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees), the Utica Public Library, the American Heart Association, and/or the PAN Foundation.
On behalf of our community, I express Hamilton’s sympathy to his family and our gratitude for his contributions to the College.