Longtime Alaskan and Soldotna resident William “Rod” Bartlett II died Thursday, Nov. 10, 2005, at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage with his family by his side. He was 53..
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16 at Peninsula Memorial Chapel at 5839 Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai. Pastor Chuck Thornton will officiate. Military honors will be conducted by the VFW Post No. 10046 and American Legion Post No. 20.
Mr. Bartlett was born Oct. 16, 1952, in Chipee Falls, Mass. He came to Alaska when he was 10 and grew up enjoying the great outdoors by running fur traplines, having a dog team.
“He loved the speed and thrill of cross-country snowmachine racing and car racing. He was fortunate that during his lifetime he was able to pursue many ventures in different parts of the world. He skippered commercial fishing boats in the Prince William Sound and Kodiak and was able to expand and develop his ever-growing love of the ocean. He started gold mining at Hope, which ultimately resulted in his lifelong passion for gold mining,” his family said.
He spent two years in Saudi Arabia working as an instructor of heavy equipment operation. Upon his return to Alaska, he started his business as owner and operator in heavy freight hauling to Prudhoe Bay during the construction of the pipeline. He was a certified welder and spent a year working at the Star Wars Project on Wake Island.
After leaving Wake Island, he moved to Hawaii, purchased a boat, and started a charter business. He also built a welding fabrication shop and designed and built tuna towers for other charters.
He loved working with welding, metal and fabrication and took pride in all of his projects. He owned those businesses for seven years before returning to Alaska and worked on the Alpine Project in Nikiski as a welder and on projects at Prudhoe Bay and Valdez.
After suffering two work-related accidents, he retired from welding. He and his wife, Susan, purchased a 40-acre gold claim in Moose Pass. Within six months he expanded the claim to 160 acres, and they spent the next two years working the claim and living in the mountains.
“He was an expert marksman and loved living up there and enjoyed the subsistence lifestyle of hunting bear, moose, spruce hens and trout fishing, while pursuing his passion for gold mining. He often said those were the happiest years of his life. He loved the outdoors and one of his biggest pleasures, next to gold mining, was riding his Harley-Davidson Fatboy. He was a caring, compassionate and loving individual who will be missed very deeply by family and friends,” his family said.
Mr. Bartlett is survived by his wife, Susan; son, William R. Bartlett III of Boise, Idaho; stepdaughter, Sherry Biddle of Rohnert Park, Calif.; stepson, Johnny Biddle of Springfield, Mo.; brother, Dennis Bartlett of Anchorage; grandsons, Chevlin Bartlett, Derek Biddle and Justin Biddle; granddaughter, Zana Lawhorn; and nieces Kylee and Hayley Bartlett of Nikiski.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be sent to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Donor Services, P.O. Box 4072, Pittsfield, MA 01202.
Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.
Ronald David ‘Ron’ Lorenzo
Lifelong Kenai resident Ronald David “Ron” Lorenzo died Friday, Nov. 11, 2005, in Kenai. He was 52.
Arrangements are pending with Peninsula Memorial Chapel in Kenai.
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