Chi Psi Remembers Henry E. Bartels, Rho ’45, Psi ’48
Friday, January 23, 2015
Posted by: Teri Sloan
On January 16, 2015, Chi Psi lost a true friend and Brother in Hank Bartels. He was 92. He is survived by his wife Nancy, their two sons, Philip and Ken, and his grandchildren.
Hank passed peacefully in his sleep at his New Haven, CT home, and we are told Chi Psi played a significant part in his final evening. That night, while having dinner with son Ken and grandson Todd, Nancy presented Hank’s Chi Psi Badge and Nancy’s sweetheart pin to Todd.
“Hank was the living embodiment of what we strive to achieve through Chi Psi.,” says #23 Sam Bessey. He adds that, “He was humble but always the biggest soul in the room.”
It is difficult to calculate the number of people who have benefited from Hank and Nancy’s generosity as evidenced by the many words of love and affection expressed following his death.
“Hank was a larger than life Brother of our grand Fraternity. His support of our Educational Trust and scholarship programs is luminary. But more, his presence at any gathering of Brothers elevated the meaning and value of Fraternity” remarked former #7 Dan Ahlberg.
Long-time Alpha Psi volunteer and close friend David R. Dunlop recalls “When I think of who was there for Alpha Psi at its time of greatest need, Hank Bartels and Sam and Fisk Johnson come immediately to mind. Hank was always first in line to help. He was as good as it gets.”
“He will always be remembered as a true Gentleman and Brother of Chi Psi by all of Alpha Rho.” said Rho Brother Vincent Le Blon.
Hank attended Rutgers before World War II and Cornell upon his return. After graduating with a bachelor’s in administrative engineering, Hank began a successful 37- year career in metalwork manufacturing.
Br. Bessey described Hank as “the most generous person I’ve ever know.” Both schools he attended and the Alphas they host were very special to Hank, and all are better for his steadfast support, which went far beyond financial contributions. Hank took the time to ensure that the organizations and lives in which he invested were on a successful path.
“Brother Bartels will be especially missed by the Brothers of Alpha Rho,” says Br. Le Blon. He tells us of Hank and Nancy’s generosity during the Alpha’s renovations several years ago. “[Hank] remembered taking his turn washing dishes in the kitchen as part of [the tradition of formal meals at Rho].” He and Nancy knew this was a tradition that needed to be preserved for generations of Chi Psis to come and supported the Alpha’s renovations to see that through.
Hank and Nancy have also been generous to The Chi Psi Educational Trust. In 2000, they created The Henry E. and Nancy Horton Bartels Fund for Education, which initially provided scholarships in the name of Harold G. "Bones" Lundberg. Later, the fund was expanded through Hank and Nancy’s generosity to include the Bartels Fellowship and annual scholarships in the name of Brother Dunlop. Over 150 Brothers have benefited from the Bartels Fund since its inception, and Hank’s vision has proved to be transformative for Chi Psi’s scholarship program.
At the 167th Convention in 2008 at Cornell University, the 133rd Distinguished Service Award of Chi Psi Fraternity was conferred upon Hank, who was honored along with Dave Dunlop (DSA #134).
Beyond Chi Psi, Hank’s philanthropy reflected his and Nancy’s desire to strengthen communities and improve people’s lives. Their gifts supported their alma mater, Cornell, along with several other colleges and universities and many organizations across New England.
The world has lost a great man. Chi Psis have lost a true friend and Brother. More than just a little bit, those who knew him are stronger, happier, and more sensitive to the finer things in life because they knew Hank Bartels.
There are no immediate arrangements planned, but a memorial service will likely take place in late February in New Haven, CT.
Click here to read Br. Bartels obituary from the New York Times.