California State University, Long Beach
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In Memoriam: February 2015

Published: February 17, 2015

Celia R. Afan, Jan. 18, staff emeriti, general accounting supervisor

Kenneth Tyson Bartlett, passed away in Lacey, Wash. on Dec. 22, at the age of 84.

Born to Thelma (Vandervoort) and Kenneth Bartlett, Sr., Bartlett attended junior high and high school in St. Paul, Minn. In ninth grade, he joined the gymnastics team, and before graduating won the Minnesota State High School All-Around Championship. At the University of Minnesota, he won three Big Ten championships (including All-Around); placed in three events and won the NCAA championship in flying rings before graduating in 1953.

Bartlett spent two years in the U.S. Marine Corps before relocating to Long Beach. He received his master’s degree from Cal State L.A. and was hired in 1959 to teach physical education and coach gymnastics at Long Beach State College, later known as CSULB. He led the team to four conference championships (1960, ’61, ’62 and ’73) and the California State Championship (1965). He coached gymnastics for the first 13 years of a celebrated 37-year tenure at CSULB.

A consummate athlete his entire life, taking up surfing, skiing, archery, sailing, golf, fishing and hiking, Bartlett was also an avid photographer, devoted father and caring dog owner. He could often be seen with his four-legged best friend at Simone’s in Long Beach where he was a regular for 25 years.

Bartlett was inducted into the University of Minnesota Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005, the University of Minnesota Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2009 and the CSULB Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2010, Bartlett left Long Beach to be closer to his children and grandchildren in Washington State.

Bartlett is survived by children, Gordon (and Julie Bartlett), Michelle (and Ron Pratt) and Scott (and Dalena McKay); grandchildren, Aidan, Anna, Joseph, Freya, Torrin and Hamish; sister, Mary (and Dennis) Anderson; many nieces, nephews and descendants of his three sisters.

James Lewis “Lew” Comer, former professor of physical education and director of athletics at CSULB, passed away peacefully on Jan. 14 at the age of 91 at his home in Costa Mesa. His career at CSULB spanned from 1971-80.

Comer was born in Gainesville, Texas, where he lived on the family farm with his sister and five brothers. At the age of 14, his family moved to San Diego.

Known as “Tex”, he excelled in academics and was captain of his high school football team and a noted track man. In 1942, after graduation, he attended Iola Junior College in Kansas on a football scholarship. He scored 120 points from his tailback position which earned him the rank of second-highest scoring football player in the nation. He then joined the Marine Corps where he served in WWII from 1943-46. In 1944, he married his sweetheart, the former Barbara Seay of Iola. After the war, he attended Fort Hays State in Kansas where he was captain of the football team and won all conference honors running the 440 in track. He has been referred to as the outstanding Fort Hays State graduate.

In a career that spanned almost 40 years, Comer was a highly imaginative, humorous, inspirational and energetic man who compiled an enviable record as teacher, coach and administrator. He won recognition for his outstanding leadership in intercollegiate athletics and community activities while at CSU Hayward (now CSU East Bay), CSU Bakersfield and CSULB. He was distinguished as the California State University 1970 Professor of the Year. He was also appointed as commissioner of the NCAA Division II California Collegiate Association. As a result of his exemplary leadership and skill, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Cal State University, Hayward, Central Missouri State University and CSULB.

Comer was an avid learner, earning his B.A. in history and his B.S. in physical education at Fort Hays State. After moving to Warrensburg, Mo. in 1953 to become head football and track coach, Comer not only built and coached a championship team, but he earned his M.S. degree. Then in 1957, Comer moved his family to Las Cruces, N.M., where he was director of physical education and athletics for the Las Cruces public school system for four years. Then he joined New Mexico State University (NMSU) as an assistant professor and cross country coach. During his time in New Mexico, he continued his studies and earned the Ed.S. degree from NMSU and the Ed.D. degree from the University of Utah.

In 1963, Comer accepted the position of athletic director at Cal State University, Hayward (CSUH). He also served as the head track and cross country coach the first year. He helped start the first football program at CSUH and was instrumental in getting the stadium and track. Under his guidance, CSUH developed one of the top intercollegiate athletic programs on the West Coast.

Never one to ignore a challenge, Comer accepted the position of athletic director at CSU Bakersfield in 1970 where he was charged with the task of developing its athletic program and designing its track and field. While engrossed in his work there, he was heavily recruited to join the staff at CSULB as athletic director. Those were tumultuous times at CSULB because the school was under NCAA sanctions, but Comer took it on in 1971. After a few years, Comer elected to finish his career as a full-time professor until he took early retirement in 1980 to live on his ranch in Mission, Texas, a place where his grandchildren loved to ride horses, drive the tractor and fish in the pond. He was famous locally for his huge garden from which he made generous donations to his neighbors and to those less fortunate.

In scholarship, publication, teaching, counseling of students, and in service to his church, community, state, and nation, Comer was outstanding. His personal edict was “plan your work and work your plan” and he followed it in his life and instilled it in his students, children and grandchildren. His work ethic was without reproach and he always performed to the limit of his abilities and encouraged others to do so as well.

Preceded in death by Barbara, his wife of almost 66 years, Comer leaves behind one brother, George Comer of Springfield, Mass.; four children: Ronald (Betsy), Barbara Marrs (Buck), David, and Daniel (Sandy), 10 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and one great, great grandchild.

He loved helping, sharing, giving, and teaching. Even after his death, his legacy lives on in the donation of his body to the UCI Willed Body Program where university students will continue to learn from him.

A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, Feb. 28, beginning at 1 p.m. in the Chartroom at CSULB.

Arnett Hartsfield Jr., Oct. 31, emeriti faculty, Black Studies

Petty Kerstner, retired staff

Edward B. McLeod, Dec. 20, emeriti faculty, Mathematics/Computer Science

Mohamed Moustafa, April 20, faculty, Accountancy

Robert “Bob” A. Pestolesi passed away at home in Huntington Beach on Dec. 4 at the age of 86. He was born in Santa Ana, raised in the city of Orange and graduated from Orange High School (OHS) in 1946.

At OHS, he was a four-year letterman in baseball, football and track and was drafted to play professional baseball, his favorite sport. At the urging of his parents, Pestolesi instead opted to attend St. Mary’s College in the Bay Area on a football scholarship, then transferred to USC after one year. He obtained a B.S degree in physical education from USC, a masters from CSULB, and a Ph.D. from USC in physical and higher education. He taught and coached at CSULB for 23 years and was chair of the men’s Physical Education Department for 12 of those.

In 1978 he moved to Cal State University, Dominguez Hills as department chair of physical education and recreation and after a few years, retired from the state university system. He finished his career as an adjunct professor at USC, teaching and directing the Sports Administration Graduate Degree Program. Pestolesi was president of the California Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance as well as president of the national organization, AAHPERD. He also served on the Presidents’ Council on Physical Fitness.

Pestolesi was married to the love of his life, his high school sweetheart Marillyn, for 64 years. She preceded him in death in 2013. Together they raised six children, 15 grandchildren and four great-grandsons. His family was his pride and joy and he always looked forward to hearing about the accomplishments of his children and their offspring. They traveled extensively throughout the world and due to his passion for golf, Pestolesi played on many of the world’s great courses during their trips. He made friends easily, was an educator, coach, author and mentor both professionally and personally.

He is survived by his children, Robert (Lissa), Dinah Merrill (Larry), Sue Black (Larry), Janet Todd (Doug), and Tom (Diane); as well as his grandchildren; and great grand children. Along with his wife, he was predeceased by daughter, Carol.

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