Bartolotti remembered for hard work and community service - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Bartolotti remembered for hard work and community service

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SESSER, Ill. -- The family of a prominent community leader remembers him as a hard worker who would help anybody.

Richard Bartolotti died July 4 while helping friends cut down trees.

"I think that's how my dad would have wanted to go: helping people," daughter Mary Millikan said.

He served in the military during Vietnam and when he got back, his widow Doris Bartolotti said he was upset with the way veterans were treated, so he started working to make things better.

"He got tired of seeing things pushed to the wayside and he knew that he had to take a stand and start stepping up and helping," she said.

He worked with groups like the American Legion, the VFW and the Honor Flight of Southern Illinois. Millikan said his work reached far beyond veterans.

"Whether you were a veteran or not, my dad was going to help you," Millikan said. "His soul was so bright that, I mean if you could look at a soul, you would need sunglasses because his was so bright."

Bartolotti's stepson Jason Ashmore serves as the mayor of Sesser.

He said the man known as "Dickie" helped fuel his passion for politics.

"He really believed (Democrats) were out there to help the working man and women and that's what he really believed in," Ashmore said. "I would be proud to be half the man he was.

Former State Senator Gary Forby considered Bartolotti a close friend.

"You talk about a cat having nine lives, I think Dickie had more than nine lives," Forby said. "He was a guy that did a little bit of everything."

Bartolotti's family said instead of flowers, well-wishers should donate to the Honor Flight of Southern Illinois.

Visitation for Bartolotti will be held Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The funeral will be Sunday at 1 p.m. Both will be held at the Gilbert Funeral Home in Christopher.

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