Anne Elizabeth Gates Bartow, 73, of Bethany Beach, Del., and formerly of Wallingford, Pa., passed away at home, surrounded by family, on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, after courageously battling Alzheimer’s disease for eight years.
She was known as a beautiful, intelligent, funny and kind sister, wife, mother and friend. Bartow noticed and appreciated the beauty in the world, and lived her life as a natural teacher and in service of others, whether at work, in Scouting, at church or in the community — creating happy and memorable experiences for those around her.
Bartow was born on the eve of the end of World War II in Chester, Pa., on May 7, 1945, to Frances (Shoop) Taylor and Ralph Phillip Gates. She spent a happy childhood with her parents and older sister, Jeanne, in Chester and Wallingford, Pa., with fun-loving summers spent in Bethany Beach with a close extended family. She graduated from Nether Providence High School in 1963.
Under the loving and guiding hands of her beloved parents, she grew to experience and love many things that she passed onto her own family: a deep love of music and singing, in school chorus, church choirs, in the car on cross-country road trips and around the family piano; an inquisitive nature that underpinned her great love of the outdoors, travel and the shore; and a great love of literature.
Bartow also loved to service her community, from earning her Girl Scout Gold Award, to volunteer and part-time work as a candy-striper at Crozer Hospital and at the American Cancer Society, and church service.
She met Denny, her partner of 52 years, walking from the train to college registration at West Chester State University in 1963. From that day, they were a team and fixture at West Chester, where Bartow was active in the student body, a member of the Women’s Day Council, a Big Sister and a member of the “Cap Crew.”
She earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1967, a master’s degree in library science from Villanova University in 1969, and then served as school librarian at Interboro Senior High School.
She and Denny were married Nov. 19, 1966, and continued to raise their family in Delaware County, serving as active and caring members of Christ United Methodist Church, where they were married. Bartow helped found the church library and served as librarian for many years. She was also a long-standing member of the church choir, the Woman’s Society of Christian Service, Mary/Martha Sisters and Queen Esther Circle.
Bartow nurtured and supported her family’s pursuits and interests. She sought to make every day of their lives comfortable, happy and special, down to the smallest meaningful details. She was creative by nature and incorporated her gifts of needlework, quilting and cake-decorating into scouting, church activities and family celebrations. She kept family traditions alive throughout the year.
During her daughters’ youth, Bartow was a PTO leader, class mom, Girl Scout leader, Sunday-school teacher and youth group leader. Her daughters also went into careers related to teaching, writing and public education. Bartow was also Denny’s biggest champion as he pursued varied professional interests in science, medicine and education.
“And, oh, how we sang, laughed and explored our world as a family together, from our own trips around the U.S. to time spent at Anne’s second home of Bethany Beach and with our close-knit circle of grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins and family friends.”
Perhaps one of Bartow’s greatest legacies is how she taught by example. Behind her sometimes quiet and reserved demeanor was a resilience and strength of character and commitment, especially evident as she supported her family through times of struggle, illness and loss. When facing her own diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, she attacked it with the same quiet strength the family had always seen, and they sought to reflect the love and support she had so freely given.
Bartow was preceded in death by her parents, Frances and Ralph Gates, and a beloved niece, Phyllis Jeanne Sach. She is survived by her soulmate of 52 years, Dennis Bartow of Bethany Beach; a daughter, Amy Frances Bartow-Melia and her husband, Greg, of Falls Church, Va., and Margaret “Meg” Elizabeth Bartow Dufour and her husband, Christopher, of Fort Worth, Texas; grandchildren, Francesca Kathryn Bartow Melia and Marguerite Elena Bartow Melia; best friend and sister, Jeanne Gates Sach and her husband, Frederick, of Brookhaven, Pa.; and many brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, extended family members and beloved friends.
The family acknowledges the staff and caregivers at Harrison House in Georgetown, Del., and Delaware Hospice for their loving care.
A celebration-of-life service will be held Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, at 11:30 a.m. at Christ United Methodist Church, Brookhaven, Pa., with a reception at Kings Mills, Media, Pa. A private interment will precede the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach, Del. (https://southcoastal.lib.de.us); to Christ United Methodist Church (http://www.christumcbrookhaven.com); or to Alzheimer’s Foundation of Delaware Valley (https://www.alz.org/delval).