With a love for running and competing in triathlons, Wayne L. Bartelheimer spent many days of his life training to compete in races. Before crossing the finish line of the biggest ‘race’ we call life, Wayne made the decision to go the extra mile forever--he donated his estate to charity and named the Columbia Basin Foundation as one of his three beneficiaries.
Born on Nov. 13, 1944, and raised in Snohomish, Wash., Wayne was one of four children. Surrounded by three siblings, Dale, Myrna and Alan, he grew up in a family who had a rich heritage in the dairy business. His grandparents migrated from Nebraska to Snohomish with their 11 children in 1912. With 40 acres, chickens, some cows and an Indian hut with a dirt floor, they laid down their roots and rolled up their sleeves milking cows. Bartelheimer’s parents, Reinhold and Elinor, carried on the dairy tradition. During Bartelheimer’s adolescence, he learned the value of hard work on the dairy and was involved in 4-H, FFA and athletics. In 1964 when Bartelheimer graduated from Snohomish High School, he left his hometown and served in the US Army during Vietnam. Following his military service, he attended and graduated from Eastern Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 1972. He also earned a master’s degree from Fresno State University in family counseling. He spent 20 years dedicated to his profession. During his career, he worked for the Lutheran Family Center in Portland with his aunt and uncle. He lived in Fresno, Portland, Kennewick, and Othello during his lifetime. In 1990, he became business partners with his brother, Alan, purchasing a dairy in Othello, Wash. Bar-E Dairy milks 4,000 cows and is operated by Alan Bartelheimer.
Bartelheimer lived a quiet and private life. He was a nice guy who enjoyed his friends, running and supporting causes that were important to him. He enjoyed the social and physical aspects of completing triathlons. It seems quite fitting for a triathlete to name three charities in his estate. He remembered the Eastern Washington University Foundation, the National Parkinson’s Foundation, and the Columbia Basin Foundation. In 2021, the Wayne L. Bartelheimer Memorial Athletic Scholarship will launch in the CBF Scholarship System. Graduating seniors or graduates from Adams or Grant County High Schools will be eligible to apply. The primary purpose of the scholarship is to provide funding for students who want to pursue collegiate athletics--intercollegiate, intramural or club programs and who have demonstrated integrity, citizenship, motivation, academic success and financial need.
The Columbia Basin Foundation was honored to receive such an amazing gift. As a community foundation their mission is to improve and shape the quality of life through philanthropy. Based in Ephrata and serving the Columbia Basin and beyond, CBF manages 116 funds with 52 scholarship funds. “Bartelheimer’s gift creates such an extraordinary lasting legacy,” said CBF Executive Director, Corinne Isaak. “I look forward to managing this fund and watching Wayne’s generosity positively impact the lives of students who are starting their educational pursuit. I feel privileged to have this opportunity and will make sure we run with this wonderful gift that Wayne Bartelheimer has given us.”
At the end of his life, Bartelheimer knew the direction he wanted to go with his memorial scholarship. On Oct. 6, 2019, Bartelheimer passed away at the age of 74 and finished his race strong with his incredible gift of generosity that will benefit our communities forever. His younger brother, business partner and now personal representative, Alan Bartelheimer, delivered Wayne’s charitable gift of $600,000 to CBF. Alan said he knew Wayne was happy to give back to his community and felt good to be part of the process. Thanks is not a big enough word to express how appreciative CBF is to have this valuable scholarship endowment. For more information about CBF, please visit www.columbiabasinfoundation.org or feel free to contact Corinne Isaak, CBF Executive Director at 509-754-4596.