Ray Bartlett Passes Away

June 27, 2008

Ray Bartlett, who played football with Jackie Robinson at UCLA and Pasadena City College, passed away Sunday. He was 88.

Funeral services for Bartlett will take place this Saturday, June 28 at First African Methodist Episcopal Church, located at 1700 N. Raymond Avenue in Pasadena. Services begin at 10 a.m.

Bartlett is best known for his long friendship with the Robinson family as he lettered in football, baseball, basketball and track and field with Jackie Robinson at both PCC. Bartlett and Robinson were Pasadena's first All-American and All-Southern California selections in football in 1938. The pair led the '38 PJC Bulldogs to the state championship with a perfect 11-0 season.

At UCLA, the duo joined Kenny Washington and Woody Strode, who later enjoyed an acting career, as the only four black players on the 1939 Bruins' football team during a period where few university teams even carried African-Americans on their gridiron rosters. Bartlett lettered as a halfback in both 1939 and 1940.

After his athletic achievements in college, Bartlett served in the military during World War II, then spent a distinguished 20-year career in the Pasadena Police Department. He later worked for more than 10 years for the County of Los Angeles, including a six-year stint as deputy for County Supervisor Warren Dorn.

Bartlett was a pioneering member of the Pasadena City College Foundation Board, where he served for more than 20 years. A bronze bust of his likeness is immortalized in PCC's Court of Champions, a pantheon that includes busts for 16 of the college's most famous athletic alumni. Bartlett also is a member of both the PCC Sports Hall of Fame and the California Community College Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

In 1999, Bartlett was honored to represent his friend Jackie (died in 1972) as the Grand Marshal at the Tournament of Roses Parade. Also that year, Bartlett was chosen as one of PCC's 75 Distinguished Alumni during the college's 75th anniversary celebration.

He is survived by two sisters, two sons (Robert and Rocky), four grandchildren and a longtime female friend, Gloria May. A long-time resident of Monrovia, Bartlett would eventually see his son Robert become mayor of that city.

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