Col. Gabriel Peter "Bart" Bartholomew, USAF Retired 90, of Clovis, NM went to be with the Lord on Thursday, January 30, 2014, at the VA Hospital in Amarillo, TX. Closed casket services will be held 1 p.m. Wednesday, February 5, 2014, at The Chapel 1500 Thornton with Rev. Dick Ross officiating. Burial will follow in the Garden of Honor at Lawn Haven Memorial Gardens with full military honors by the Cannon AFB Honor Guard. Honorary pallbearers include; David Bartholomew, Robert Bartholomew, Russell Bartholomew, Nevin McIlwaine, Troy McIlwaine, Michael Bartholomew and Jacob Bartholomew. The family will be at Muffley Funeral Home Tuesday, February 4, 2014, from 5 - 7 p.m. for visitation.
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Bart was born on October 3,1923, in Los Angeles, CA to Italian Immigrants, Gabriel Bartolomea and Rose Aimino. He grew up during the depression era and helped his family by working odd jobs. He was drafted into the US Army in 1943 and was accepted into the Army aviation program where he flew the Boeing Stearman in primary flight school, and earned his wings and commission. In 1944, he flew combat missions in France just days after the invasion of Normandy in a P-47 Thunderbolt flight aircraft. He supported Allied Troops by bombing and strafing targets on the ground. After many successful missions he was shot down but was rescued by the French Resistance. They eventually hid Bart from the Germans and helped smuggle him across enemy lines. During the Korean War, Bart flew combat missions against Mig 15s in an F-86 Sabre jet fighter. He was shot down, captured and spent almost a year in a Chinese prisoner of war camp. As a POW he endured interrogations, beatings, starvation and isolation before being repatriated in 1953. Bart served in many other assignments and capacities including being a member of the USAF Red Devil aerobatic team flying p-51 Mustang, commanding the first F-111 training squadron and flying combat missions in an F-4 Phantom during the Vietnam War. He retired from the Air Force in 1974 as the Cannon AFB Base Commander after 32 years of service.
Bart loved fishing and woodworking, was of the Baptist Faith and was a member of the Daedalians and VFW Post 3280. He married Nancy White September 2, 1989, in Lovington, NM.
Bart is survived by his wife, Nancy, of the home, five sons; David (Eli) Bartholomew, Paso Robles, CA, Robert Bartholomew, Seattle, WA, Russell (Susan) Bartholomew, Albuquerque, NM, Nevin McIlwaine, Clovis, NM and Troy (Debbie) McIlwaine, Albuquerque, NM, a daughter, Katie (Duane) Robinson, Clovis, 11 grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded by his parents, one brother, Dominick Bartholomew and one sister, Angelina Signor.
The family suggest memorial contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675 or the Disabled American Veterans organization at DAV, PO Box 1430, Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301 in Memory of Col. GP Bartholomew.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Muffley Funeral Home (575) 762-4435 www.muffleyfuneralhome.com.
Muffley Funeral Home Inc
1430 Thornton St Clovis, NM 88102
Published in the Clovis News Journal on Feb. 2, 2014