Roger Bartlett

May 26, 2020
Bartlett, Roger news


A family service will take place with interment at the Waterloo Memorial Park Cemetery, Waterloo Iowa.  A gathering of family and friends will be held at a later date.



Waterloo Memorial Park Cemetery


Memorials may be directed to the Cedar Valley Hospice House, or the Cedar Bend Humane Society.  Donations of blood would be appreciated as this was so vital to Rogers recovery and longevity with his illness


Roger Bartlett was born in Redwing Minnesota on August 5, 1944.   He lived in Ellsworth Wisconsin from birth until graduation from the University of Wisconsin River Falls in 1967 with a BA in fine arts and an emphasis in secondary education. Upon graduation, he moved to Waterloo Iowa where he took an art teaching position with the Waterloo Community Schools. Roger continued his education while teaching and in 1974 he received a masters degree in studio art from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.  Roger taught 44 years with the Waterloo school system initially at Kittrell Elementary and the last 25  at Expo high school.  Walking miles each day to school allowed for exercise and time to think.  He had a very sharp mind, read daily, and was always working with his hands as a studio artist.

He wrote, “I would be most pleased if the work draws us from the created to the Creator of all things.”

 His most recent show was in 2017 at the Waterloo Center for the Arts titled “Gestures of Respect” which reflected the human form expressing a depth of intellectual, emotional and spiritual drama. He appreciated those that helped make it possible to exhibit works which embodied his professional career.  Roger explored various media including drawing, painting, printmaking, woodworking and sculpture but preferred the simplest tool, the pencil.  He captured a range of subjects recognizing ... “to be a true master, as in a master craftsman, one must learn humility. Serving the work is the responsibility of the true master.” Roger Bartlett’s work can be found in private and public collections in the Midwest and across the country. It is his wish that his renderings continue to be viewed and reflected on after he is gone.

In 1968 he married to his wife Susan Sinnard of Waterloo at his hometown church in Ellsworth Wisconsin. They enjoyed life together raising two children and spending time with their grandchildren. Along the way he shared his love of food with them making buttermilk pancakes and sausage often before anyone else had risen. Fresh raspberries, whipped topping, and walnuts topped a family favorite. His other culinary specialties caramel pecan rolls, tacos, chili, and freshly made bread were all something to look forward to. Roger had many family adventures along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Roger and Susan found new places to discover in Door County, Wisconsin. A very special and obedient family dog was always by their side, ready to explore northeastern Iowa’s back roads. Together Roger and Susan shared an appreciation of life, beauty and love.

In high school Roger was accomplished in both basketball and football. Although he received a scholarship to play football at Dartmouth College, he felt it was too far away from his home. He took great pleasure in letting an arrow fly from the string of his recurved bow or throwing knife into a piece of wood. He loved to sing with his brother Roy in church and for his family. He also played the acoustic guitar and piano. He read British mysteries, the classics and the writings of many theologians. Roger kept journals reflecting on these influential authors often tying in Biblical passages in his notes. He created a sculptured garden which he enjoyed with others.

Roger cherished his friends and loved them deeply.  He often made people smile with his wit and humor.  Dailey Bible devotion and prayer was part of his life.

Recognizing God’s sovereignty in all things the initials SDG ( Soli Deo Gloria) became part of his title line on all his later works.

Sometimes one is faced with an unexpected journey in life. After being diagnosed with acute leukemia he wrote this very human poem:

Have you noticed morning light sparkles?

In contrast evening light is muted.

It is evening now.


He was thankful for the doctors and staff at the Waterloo Community Cancer center on Fourth Street, the Allen Memorial Infusion Center, and that the Mayo Clinic and Methodist Hospital in Rochester. He said without leukemia their paths would not have crossed and his life enriched so greatly.  Roger was grateful to have lived eight years after his diagnosis. 

He is survived by his wife Susan of Waterloo; son, Jason (Karin) Bartlett of Northfield, Minnesota and their children Peter and Ian; daughter, Ellen (Micheal) Kamholz of Antioch, Illinois and their children Ayden and Aubry; sister-in-law Shirley (John) Bartlett Burkhalter and nieces Sonja, Carolyn, Julie; niece Holly daughter of Joy; brother and sister-in-law Mark (Joan) Sinnard and nephew Aaron and nieces Sara and  Abby; sister and brother-in-law Lorraine (Brad) Sinnard Townsend.

Roger is preceded in death by his parents Warren and Bessie Bartlett; brother Roy Bartlett; father-and-mother-in-law Royal and Greta Sinnard; sister-and-brother-in-law Joy (Richard) Sinnard Ede.

Roger encouraged people and his wisdom, love and presence will be missed.

Romans 11:36    For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Bartlett, Roger young boyBartlett, Roger young man

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  1. Jessica Bruening | Feb 23, 2021

    I know this is late but Roger was one great teacher! I could say a million great things about him but he was one of the absolute very best! You will be missed very much Roger!!

    Jessica B.

  2. Dan Davis | Jun 18, 2020
    I had the pleasure of being taught, more like learn to love, art by my friend Roger. I was at Kittrell School when he first came to teach. At that time, I didn’t relate to the fact that he wasn’t much older than me. Roger was one of those memorable teachers that you end up telling friends and family about later in life. One of my bigger thrills was, while working at Kingsley School, I saw Roger walking down the hall at an open house function. I called out, “Mr. Bartlett!” I was overjoyed when he turned around and said, “Danny Davis, how have you been?” He holds a special place in my heart and will surely be missed. Rest in peace, my friend.
  3. Lisa Youngs | Jun 03, 2020

    Roger’s photographic works were how i was first introduced to this remarkable artist, painter and person. I remember seeing a beautifully framed and lit photo of his children when they were very young, and thinking “This is someone who can tell a story of great sensitivity through images.” He will be missed, and has left behind a great deal of beauty to be remembered by and cherished.

  4. Mark & Marty Clark | Jun 03, 2020

    Such a talented man.  Was there any art medium at which Roger did not excel?  Charcoal, pencil, pen and ink, watercolor, carving.  As former neighbors we were privileged to tour his artwork at the house. Approaching it, we were greeted by the Japanese garden surrounded by the fence built and carved by Roger. Inside, decorative knives made from leaf springs with scrimshaw handles lay about.  The dining room table was inlaid with his tilework.  We own a table he built to hold the wooden work gloves he carved.  (It also holds a stone from Lake Superior which Roger insisted completed the piece.)  His signature wooden Bartlett pears were recently carved at that time.  We were awed by his “100 Studies of Walter” covering the floor.  Our final and favorite purchase is a portrait of Roger himself. In addition, our son was lucky enough to have Roger as his art teacher the one year he taught at Kingsley.  Roger taught him to “look with an artist’s eye.”  CA is 47 now and still looks at the world that way thanks to his teacher.  His art degree is a direct result of Roger’s influence. Roger made our neighborhood more beautiful with his carvings, his gardening and his presence.  We will always remember him and his faithful dog, whose fur seemed to gray along with Roger’s beard, slowly circumnavigating our block. Susan, Jason, Ellen and family we share your grief.  But what beauty he has left behind.  We enjoy his creations everyday.

    Marty & Mark Clark

  5. Liz and Steve Thorpe | Jun 02, 2020

    Roger arrived on this planet in 1944 with a purpose and a plan.  In his 75 years he followed the plan that God had implanted in him  and that was to know how Blessed we were to have this life changing opportunity to change our lives and those of others we touch.

    I met Roger in 1966 when I heard he was coming to Waterloo as a new teacher and I found out he was looking for a place to live.  I was able to help him find a house he could rent partially and he rented the home and we became life long friends.  God was looking down on me to bring Roger into my life.

    I could easily write pages about how our relationship has changed my life but I know when Roger is reading these things we have written, his words would be “that was just what God expected of us and for us to move on.”

    All of us who have been moved by knowing Roger Bartlett have and will be changed.  We ALL have been BLESSED!

    Love you, Roger.

    Liz and Steve

  6. mark sinnard | Jun 01, 2020

    Roger enjoyed teaching and creating the love of art and his faith with God.    He would often meet with students on Saturday mornings in the classroom completing an art project all unique and beautiful in their own way.

    Roger was admired by those who saw a true artist who could capture you in every medium.   Wood, furniture, oils, clay, and watercolor he mastered in a way that you would know the real skill he held.  Years of perfecting his skills Roger was always working on something of beauty.

    One could walk through his yard, a garden of unique beauty and form, and know how much he cared to arrange, position a plant that transformed as he worked the landscape year after year.  It is and will be living art and memory of him...a legacy.

    Roger was content with himself, an honest man who loves God.   Today I thought about how he would enter the presence of heaven and see Jesus and no longer suffer health issues.   This is reassuring to me and I can only imagine to you.

  7. Ang Reid | Jun 01, 2020
    I will miss seeing Roger on his daily walks through the neighborhood. He always stopped to chat and appreciated the small beautiful things that surrounded him. My condolences to the family - he was artistic soul that will be missed. 
  8. Dianne & Larry Everts | Jun 01, 2020
    We will truly miss Roger and his soft spoken voice. Larry will miss his daily phone call to him and his courage through all his illness was a soft witness to his faith in Jesus Christ. We will remember our visit last summer out on his patio and had hoped for one more time but now it will be in heaven. Rest in peace friend! We saw what a comfort Susan was to him and the love they shared.
  9. Rodger Smith | Jun 01, 2020

    I met Roger in 1975 or 1976 when I worked at the Waterloo Recreation and Arts Center.  Roger was teaching art classes there and we immediately became friends. 

    During a two year period, I remember having many interesting conversations. In 1977, I moved out of town and lost contact with him. Not sure if I ever had any contact again with him, but after 40 years I still feel a strong connection with him.  He was such a strong man of faith and conviction, and in my brief friendship with him, I am not sure if I have ever met a man so at peace with God and His creation.

    Prayers and sympathies for the family 

  10. Jason Yaunk | May 31, 2020
    Roger got me to love art. I never liked it throughout all of school until I had him as my art teacher at Expo High School. He was one of my favorite teachers & I am glad I saw his 2017 exhibit. Always admired his smile & love for life & he helped me through some tough times. May term was always a blast with him & I am very grateful I got to tell him how much he meant to me back in 2017. There was no one like Roger. You will be missed & you were far more talented than your nemesis Bob Ross (though to this day I still never learned why he didn't like Bob Ross lol)...RIP kind soul. 
  11. Jean Vaux | May 31, 2020
    Yes, Roger's wisdom, love and presence will be missed. And his depth to which he took listeners and lookers to his words and art. His soul knowingly always faced his Creator and his words and work led you to listen and look there too. He seemed to be ever intentionally mindful of engaging in whatever people, thoughts or materials of his creative process in his current path. A true master about life; a true trooper to the end of I can only imagine how awed he is to be in The Presence of The One whom he served with such focus and depth and beauty. My heart-felt sympathies to Susan and all of their family.
  12. Bonnie Winninger | May 31, 2020
    Roger was a man of unbounded artistic talent, sharp intellect, evolved spirititual perspective and philosopher. He was a devoted family man, amazing teacher, and friend. Roger believed he was quite ordinary. He served so many through these qualities, whether offering compelling visual images for contemplation, or through actively listening, encouraging, and empowering others. I feel blessed to have known him and remember many conversations with him, leaving enriched by his presence. My sincere sympathy to his family and many friends. We will not see his like again.
  13. Renata Sack | May 31, 2020

    Roger Bartlett was a great artist.

    His woodcuts are exceptional, his pastells lovely, his skills so versatile.

    Roger loved plants and gardening and his dog Ramah. His love and patience and devotion for these living things was more intense and loyal than usually observed.

    His devotion to his wife Susan was more than anyone I know. All my children own a piece of art by Roger. Sadly we could not visit with each other in the last few years like before because of his delicate health.

    Susan, Jason and Ellen i have many good memories of Roger. It is good that you have each other to try and fill the void Roger left.


  14. Lisa Huffman McDermott | May 31, 2020

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Mr. Bartlett was my art teacher at Kittrell, many, many years ago. It was an honor to be in his class and learn about art and his love for it. We made the neatest projects. My favorite was when we drew a picture on wood. Then we carved out the background and then inked it. It took several weeks and I still have it.

    It was very moving to read about his life, his family and his faith.

    i am very sorry for your loss.

  15. Kimberly ( Davis ) Chien | May 31, 2020
    I had the great fortune of having Mr.Bartlett as my art teacher in elementary school. One of my strongest recollections was having him share slides of paintings every Friday and then encouraging us to ask questions and voice our opinion on each piece. He was never dismissive or condescending and treated a gathering of 9 and 10 year old kids as having value in their viewpoint. It is only in later years that I realized the depth of importance of those Fridays. In allowing us to share and explore art in this manner, we learned ( or perhaps ‘felt’ would be a better choice of word ) that we can engage in ongoing and dynamic experiences with art. A painting has layers beyond the pigment on the canvas; it speaks to each of us in different ways that can shift with the surroundings, the mindset of the viewer, and the passage of time.He showed us that art is a living thing and that within the process of creating or experiencing art, we can grow and challenge and increase our paradigms. He helped us understand art is to be found within nature and within music and in essentially every element of life. It may be man-made or through the brushstroke of God as in a line of storm clouds on the horizon. In opening this door of life to us, Mr. Bartlett changed our worlds. He did more than teach us about color or composition - he showed us a way of seeing and experiencing the world that made it richer, more vibrant, and so welcoming to all.They say in every person’s past is that one teacher who changed their life. For me, that teacher was Mr. Bartlett. His imprint upon my life remains and I wish peace and comfort to all who knew and loved him and will miss him so dearly.
  16. Allan Stamberg | May 31, 2020
    Roger will be deeply missed.  Over the past 4 ½ years, we have become close friends through our shared faith in Christ; serious medical issues, though different, that we both went through; and frequent telephone conversations.  He has influenced my life in a wide variety of ways.  Roger and Susan became close friends to my wife and me. They have been wonderful examples of a love relationship that showed affection, sacrifice, and honor for one another.  Roger… Thank you for allowing me into your life.
  17. Brad and Lorraine Townsend | May 30, 2020

    We are so sorry for our loss of Roger. The better a person is the more intense the loss. Roger was a saint! What a great husband, father, grandfather, brother-in-law, teacher, artist, friend and human being. He will be remembered for generations for his selflessness,  integrity, compassion, faithfulness, gentleness, soft spoken nature, friendship and kindness. 

    Despite knowing Roger is with Jesus and feeling great now, that doesn't make it easier as Roger leaves a large hole in our hearts. May God give us an extra measure of peace and faith to carry on and try to be more like Roger.

  18. Jason Werkmeister | May 30, 2020

    Im having a hard time seeing my screen to write anything through the tears.

    That was a great read.What an incredible human Roger was. 

    When I first met Roger it wasnt by choice. I met him because I didnt have enough points to do what I really wanted to do for May Term and wound up with him for the month.
    He believed in me and encouraged me to just try.
    Just give art a chance
    He complimented and critiqued my work and made me feel like I was finally good at something. 
    Roger made me laugh on many occssions about something that flew over the heads of many others in class.Wit wasnt lost on him. 
    He opened my eyes to alor of diffeent things. 
    If I could meet hin again it would be a choice this time. 
    So thankful I had the the pleasure of knowing this man. 

  19. Sally Utley-Wentz | May 30, 2020

     The majority of my Kittrell stories, begin with something I remember about Mr. Bartlett. What a treasure he was. To see art through his eyes was quite amazing. He spoke of artists, technique, styles. He shared his love of expression through art with all his students. His quote was "expect the unexpected". I had the pleasure of being invited to his show, at the Waterloo Center for the Arts. I was honored to be there an that he thought enough of me,to extend the invitation.

    My deepest heartfelt sympathies to his family.


  20. Holly Oliva | May 29, 2020

    That was an incredibly moving reflection and tribute to Uncle Roger. His love of the Lord and his family were deep and loyal. Also his faithful companion Ramah was a special deep bond. So many talents and gifts. His calm and gentle spirit and quick sense of humor will be missed. Oh and the tender, thoughtful garden you created and tended to. It is such an oasis. You are loved Uncle will be missed. The world is a better place because you were here touching so many people’s lives from the students you taught to your family snd friends. 

  21. Tara York | May 29, 2020

    Roger had a way with words, a comforting presence and he inspired so many to be true to themselves and become better people. He gave me one of the greatest gifts in this life, my best friend, his daughter, Ellen. I will be forever grateful to have known him and loved him in this life. Thank you Roger for offering me comfort when I became a widow at the age of 44 and needed those words you offered. Love to susan, ellen & jason and everyone eho loved Roger as I know their hearts are hurting at the loss of such an amazing man! 
    Love always to the Bartletts, 



  22. Chip Wood | May 29, 2020
    So much more than a friend and mentor.  So kind and caring.  You could heal and inspire with a word or stroke of a brush. I am better because I knew you. Goodbye Rog.
  23. Beth McCrindle | May 29, 2020
    A truly moving tribute to this remarkable man. He will be fondly remembered for his wit, philosophy and genuine talent. RIP, my friend! 

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