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Posted on September 4, 2014 | 8:45 a.m.

James Bartlett Jr. of Santa Barbara, 1918-2014

Source: Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels

Bartlett Jr.
Jim Bartlett Jr.

James "Jim" Lowell Bartlett Jr. passed away at the age of 95 in his home surrounded by his family and friends.

He leaves behind his wife of 72 years, Shirley, and three children, James III, Judith and Stephen. He was blessed with grandchildren Cheryl Brown, Keith, James IV, Zachary and Matthew Bartlett, and Katelyn, Andrew and Megwyn Bennett, three great-grandchildren and a large and immensely loved extended family. He was preceded in death by his daughter Pamela, his four siblings, Parker, Milton, John and Mary, and great-grandchild Rachael Dawn Brown.

Jim was born Oct. 21, 1918, in Newton, Mass., to James Lowell Bartlett, a meteorologist, and Philena Parker Bartlett, a professional educator and administrator. His childhood was spent skating frozen ponds in the winter and tending the family greenhouses, a business that his brother's family has successfully continued into the present. While attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute and receiving a degree in mechanical engineering, he met Shirley, his life-long love, and was married Nov. 7, 1942.

For over seven decades, James was an accomplished engineer and businessman, pioneering developments in a wide range of technical fields and founding many businesses. After graduating from WPI, he joined B.F. Sturtevant Co. as a research engineer eventually becoming assistant director of research. He later designed fans and blowers for heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems at Trane Co.

Relocating to California in 1951, he rose through the ranks to become a chief engineer at AiResearch Manufacturing Co. designing and developing components for small gas turbine engines, environmental systems for the Boeing 707 and an advanced air-breathing engine that burned liquid hydrogen. In 1958, he helped found Cosmodyne Corp., which became one of the nation's largest manufacturers of equipment for storing, transporting and handling liquefied gases. After selling his interest in Cosmodyne a decade later, he joined Cordon International as a senior vice president and director.

Retiring in 1970 to the Santa Ynez Valley as a rancher, Jim became a member of the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission, joining efforts to preserve the natural resources of the valley. Leaving retirement, he returned his passion of engineering and business in Goleta, becoming president and owner of Hydranautics producing hydraulic systems for shipyard and offshore use.

Over the next 10 years, Hydranautics became a major supplier in the field of reverse osmosis desalination in the U.S. and the Middle East. When Hydranautics was acquired by Rohm and Haas in 1984, Jim established Bardex Corp. to continue his interest in manufacturing heavy-load moving equipment. He reacquired interest in Cosmodyne and consolidated it with several other cryogenic companies. He later formed TriSep to make semipermeable membranes for reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration and nanofiltration. In 2000, he became chairman of the board of Pacific Design Technology Inc., which designs and builds fluid circulation systems for military and space applications. One such exciting application was supplying the integrated pump assembly part of the electronic cooling system on the Mars Scientific Laboratory, within the Rover Curiosity.

Among acknowledgements bestowed on James was an honorary doctorate of engineering by his alma mater, WPI, the WPI Robert Goddard Alumni Award for outstanding professional achievement, and a listing in the 14th edition of Who's Who in Commerce and Industry.

Along with Jim's many remarkable entrepreneurial adventures, he loved to spend time with his wife, piloting his small plane and building or remodeling the homes they have lived in. He always had a side project in his workshop. Beyond Santa Barbara, the couple's second love has been both the home and friendships they built on the island of San Juan, Wash.

With his lifelong interest in religion and social welfare, he was proud to be a deacon and an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Barbara and was a board member of the Rehabilitation Institute Foundation. The needs of his community were of great concern to him.

Jim was laid to rest at the Santa Barbara Cemetery next to his daughter and great-granddaughter. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5 at First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance Ave. in Santa Barbara.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Santa Barbara County Chapter of the Red Cross, 2707 State St., Santa Barbara, CA 93105.


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