- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 12, 2005

John Bartee, 62, Times bus driver

John Bartee, an employee of The Washington Times for more than 19 years, died May 9 of heart failure at his home in Clinton. He was 62.

Mr. Bartee, who drove the company’s shuttle bus since 2000, was described by co-workers as a fun-loving man who had three true loves: his family, gospel music and golf.

Mr. Bartee’s supervisor, Nathan Lane, said Mr. Bartee was scheduled to play a golf tournament the day he died and had asked for the day off.

?He loved Tiger Woods,? said Mr. Lane, who had known Mr. Bartee for 15 years.

Mr. Bartee also was a big fan of gospel music. He was known to bring a new gospel compact disc almost every day to work and make his colleagues listen to it.

?John made his presence known in the driver’s seat, not just by his friendly manner and care at the wheel, but by the gospel music cassettes that he played along the way,? said Ken McIntyre, an assistant managing editor at The Times and a regular on the 6:15 p.m. shuttle to Union Station. ?We were always rocking to gospel singing, and it wasn’t soft. If anyone objected, I never heard them speak up to John.?

Robert Freeman, a longtime friend and a co-worker, said he will remember Mr. Bartee’s kindness and generosity.

?If there was anything he could do for you, John would do it. On Christmas and holidays, he remembered everyone and would always hand out small gifts,? Mr. Freeman said.

Mr. Bartee showed characteristic concern for the safety of his passengers just a few weeks ago, Mr. McIntyre said, when a police foot chase of several suspects intersected his shuttle’s path at the corner of New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road NE.

?John chided three other riders and myself for gawking instead of ducking when one of these fleeing young men, with two officers trying to catch him, ran alongside and then in front of the shuttle,? Mr. McIntyre said. ?John let us know in no uncertain terms that we were being foolish not to assume that the guy might fire a gun. He ended up giving up and being cuffed just a few feet away, but that didn’t stop John from scolding us. He didn’t want us getting hurt.?

Metropolitan reporter Robert Redding Jr. was a frequent passenger on Mr. Bartee’s shuttle bus. Mr. Redding said Mr. Bartee lifted his spirits on many a day.

?He was one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. Mr. Bartee was extremely insightful and he uplifted me on some of my worst days,? Mr. Redding said.

Charles Hall, an employee of The Times, said Mr. Bartee enjoyed political banter.

?He loved to talk about politics and he had passionate opinions about politics and current events,? Mr. Hall said. ?He will be missed by everyone.?

Mr. Bartee was born Oct. 5, 1942, in New Rochelle, N.Y. Since childhood, Mr. Bartee was involved in church. When his family moved to the Washington area, Mr. Bartee joined the Southern Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, where he became involved in several ministries.

He served as a trustee, president of the Male Chorus and a member of the Public Affairs Committee.

Before joining The Times, Mr. Bartee worked at the U.S. Government Printing Office for more than 18 years.

Survivors include his wife of 40 years, Sharon; and a daughter, Tatia.

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