"Bob" Robert T. Bartlett
Bob Bartlett was a native Monrovian, a Black man, an athlete, a thinker - with public relations skills and considerable outreach - who devoted his abilities and experience to the City of Monrovia and the cities of Southern California, the state of California and the entire United States. He inspired people of all races and brought them together to support him and his work. Bob was a family man who loved and was influenced by his parents. He was born to Ray Bartlett and Mary Gadbury Bartlett and raised in Monrovia by his stepfather, Russell Carr and his mother, now
Mary Carr, where he became the oldest of a growing group of Carr children. Bob remained close to his community leader and birth father, athlete Ray Bartlett, all of his life and was also close to his father’s friend and teammate, Jackie Robinson, whom Bob referred to as “Uncle.” His mother’s involvement and concern with Huntington School and education was of great benefit to Bob. Bob’s personal history of athletic success is remembered by attendees of Monrovia-Duarte High School football and basketball games. He was Golden Gloves heavyweight champion for the state of California and coach of the Citrus College Football team. As a young man, Bob married his sweetheart Katie Tolbert, and they had two children. Bob attended Pasadena Community College and Cal State LA, from which he earned a Bachelor’s Degree. After college he worked at Aerojet-General and PIE Trucking. When PIE merged with Ryder, Bob became Vice-President for Sales for the trucking company---- traveling all over the country, meeting with major business leaders. That was when Bob realized that he had the knowledge and experience to lead and change his community. Those contacts became valuable assets. Bob had served as youth President of the NAACP and demonstrated concern for integration of the School District, mentored by Isaac Epperson. Bob ran for Monrovia City Council in 1972 -- and lost by 3 votes. Two years later, supported by the Alliance for a Better Community (now
calling itself Citizens for Responsible Government) and with Peter Lippman as Public Relations Director, the team of Bob
Bartlett, Pat Ostrye and Eric Faith was elected and began the process of saving a dying city. Beautification of the downtown area and an emphasis on strong and capable city managers and civic pride began under the threesome—who were the majority of the City Council. They all served terms as mayor but, eventually, Pat and Eric went on to other community responsibilities and Bob remained on the Council and ran for the new position of elected mayor. Bob asked me to be his campaign manager, checked with me almost daily from cities around the country, where he was doing business and ran - successfully - for seven terms as mayor. Others worked hard on Bob’s campaigns-bolstered by Bob’s battle cry. ‘’It doesn’t make any difference who our opponent is, we always run all out.” Another reason for Bob’s success is because he was so very good. It was not just the fine City Managers he supported, it was Bob’s own vision and personal efforts for the City he loved that brought about the revitalization of downtown Myrtle Avenue, the development of Huntington Oaks Shopping Center and the Hi-Tech corridor along Huntington Drive. Bob brought in Home Depot and Trader Joe’s. He was part of the team earning Monrovia’s designation as an “All-America City.” Other cities noticed what Monrovia had achieved and consulted with Bob about community redevelopment. Transportation was his major know-how and passion and he devoted considerable time and activity to that and other issues with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and the League of California Cities. He served as president of both and served on the Board of Directors of the National League of Cities. And he was a founding director of Foothill Transit Authority to re-vitalize bus routes across the foothill communities. After Bob’s retirement, he continued to serve. He gave much of his time to Foothill Unity Center, even serving as its president, served as alternate for Supervisor Michael Antonovich for the MetroLink, gave time to his church and raised his youngest child, Aria. Robert Bartlett died in 2015 at the age of 75. Fittingly, the street where he grew up and the new light rail Gold Line maintenance yard have been named for him.