Gayton James (Jim) Bartholomew, age 85, of 701 Pennsylvania Avenue West, Warren, PA, passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 4, 2013 at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA, where he was treated for injuries suffered in a tragic fall at the home of his son. Jim was born on January 22, 1928 in Youngstown, OH, the eldest of the late Nestore and Frances Beatty Bartholomew’s three sons.

Jim was visiting Seattle following his granddaughter Hannah’s September 21 wedding in Big Sur, CA. Jim’s family is deeply saddened by his passing but they also are grateful that in his last days he was surrounded by the love of his family and friends; all of his children and grandchildren attended the wedding. For many, their lasting memory of Jim will be of him smiling outside the Big Sur Bakery in glorious California morning sun.

Jim graduated from high school in 1946, where he was a halfback on the Dragons football team. He also played pitcher and first base on a semipro baseball team for a time, but freely admitted, “I just couldn’t hit a curve ball.”

In November 1950, Jim suffered a gunshot wound to his head in a tragic hunting accident near the former town of Kinzua. Long before freeways and turnpikes, he was rushed to Buffalo General Hospital, where emergency surgery saved his life. With determination and persistence, Jim relearned to walk, write, and speak; he went on to lead a rich and productive life. He worked at Sylvania for 35 years, retiring in 1996.

Jim married the former Lois Sigworth of Starbrick, PA on July 30, 1951.

He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Warren for nearly all of his life. He was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award to honor his 50 years as a member of its sanctuary choir. For many years, he was a tenor soloist, which his children recall with great pride.

Jim’s father emigrated from Italy shortly following World War I and Jim was very proud of his Italian heritage. A dedicated gardener, he tended as many as 75 tomato plants in his backyard garden. His children fondly remember steamy tomato smells in September as Jim canned dozens of jars of his famous sauce.

Jim loved hiking and family camping on the Great Lakes when his children were young. Later in life, he loved to visit his brothers in Arizona and traveled to many corners of the world, including Europe and the UK, China, Africa, and Alaska. He loved to goodnaturedly taunt his fellow Pennsylvanians with his love for the New York Yankees, Cleveland Browns, and Ohio State Buckeyes.

Jim is survived by his son, Tom Bartholomew (Sarah Mack) of Seattle; his daughters, Mary Beth Bartholomew (Carol Whitlatch) of Shaker Heights, OH, and Connie Waxman (Neil) of Pepper Pike, OH; his eight grandchildren, Hannah Bartholomew Block (Nick) of Los Angeles, CA, Drew Waxman of Washington, DC, Sam Bartholomew of Seattle, Peter Waxman of Geneva, NY, Michael Cunetta of New Haven, CT, Nicholas Cunetta of Seattle, and Kyle Whitlatch and Gabriel Whitlatch, both of Shaker Heights; his two brothers, Ned Bartholomew (Delores) and Raymond Bartholomew (Joy), both of Glendale, AZ; his former wife of 42 years, Lois Conaway of Warren; his friend and companion June Lynds of Warren; and his numerous nieces and nephews from all over the US.

Jim will be remembered for his engaging smile, sense of humor, and relentlessly positive outlook on life. He possessed rare resiliency, rooted in his love of life. Those whom he leaves behind will benefit from his example.

Family and friends will be received at the Peterson-Blick Funeral Home, 1003 Pennsylvania Avenue East on Friday October 11 from 6:00 8:00pm.

A memorial will be held at the Warren First Presbyterian Church at Third Avenue and Market Street at 11:00am on Saturday October 12, with Rev. George Johnson, a childhood friend of Jim’s, presiding. Interment will follow at Warren County Memorial Park.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, friends and family wishing to celebrate Jim’s life do so by donating to Allegheny Community Center (formerly Warren Senior Center) at 42 Clark Street, Warren, PA 16365.