No surprise, but this news still hurts

A decent night’s sleep helped clear my head today as I ponder the loss of one my world’s most iconic figures.

Jeane Bartlett fit the role of icon perfectly. It’s not that she sought the role. It just graced her perfectly. She was the human resources director of the Amarillo Globe-News, where I worked for nearly 18 years. She died Monday at the age of 95.

OK, let’s stipulate that no one lives forever. Bartlett forged a long and memorable life in the Texas Panhandle. She was born in Clarendon and in a sense never ventured far from where she entered this world.

She married her beloved husband Harry and together they assumed leadership roles at the newspaper. Harry was production director while Jeane kept everyone in line as HR director. Harry retired not long before I arrived there in early 1995. Jeane stayed until 2001 after working at the Globe-News for 55 years.

I have heard our mutual friends and colleagues refer to Jeane Bartlett as an iconic figure in the Panhandle. She was diminutive, but her stature towered far above her physical frame.

Jeane Bartlett became as well-known to the community as many of our newspaper’s star reporters and editors. Publishers came and went during her time at the G-N, but they all had one thing in common: They depended on Jeane Bartlett for her wisdom and counsel.

I had an issue with an employee who worked in my department. I, too, depended on her wise counsel as we pondered together how to resolve the issue. She was patient with me and was always ready to answer any questions I had as we sought a resolution.

I just recently reached out to Jeane; I sent her a letter. She read it and responded with a hand-written note of her own. She expressed loneliness, given that her husband had died this past March of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. The note saddened me, but it also cheered me up as I examined her penmanship, which still resembled the notes she would leave for employees at the newspaper during all those years.

No one gets out of this world alive. The news that Jeane Bartlett had passed didn’t surprise me. It still hurts … deeply.