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December 12, 2018

Ocean County College Mourns Loss of Freeholder John C. Bartlett, Jr.

Bartlett Hall Ribbon Cutting ceremony

TOMS RIVER, NJ – Freeholder John C. Bartlett, Jr. passed away Wednesday, December 12, 2018.John Barlett’s connection to Ocean County College goes back to the very beginning of OCC, as he was a member of the College’s first graduating class, in 1968.

After receiving his associate degree here, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Maryland College, and then, a master’s degree in political science from the Graduate School of Public Affairs, State University of New York at Albany.

Following a successful career as a history teacher at Toms River High School North, Mr. Bartlett served as a Professor of Social Sciences at OCC for several years.

Mr. Bartlett’s broadest impact on OCC and Ocean County, though, was surely in his role as an Ocean County Freeholder.  Before stepping down because of his health, he served 13 terms, including as Director of the Board of Chosen Freeholders in 1982, 1988, 1992, 1997, and 2009.  He chaired the County’s Department of Finance as well as its Parks and Recreation Department, and was liaison to the County’s Natural Lands Trust Fund program and to Ocean County College.

Under Freeholder Bartlett’s leadership, the county grew to include 27 different park sites, including two golf courses. In 2009, the County opened its newest park, Jakes Branch County Park in Beachwood, and in 2010 completed extensive renovations to Tip Seaman County Park in Tuckerton.

As chair of the Finance Department, John continually produced County budgets that would be the envy of other New Jersey counties.  He always ensured that funding for essential services was available to residents at an affordable cost and established an aggressive debt reduction program while still providing money for new capital projects and a stable county tax rate.  Because of his efforts, OCC received an AAA bond rating, the highest possible.

In late August of 2009, Freeholder Bartlett returned to the OCC campus for the dedication of John C. Bartlett, Jr. Hall. The 32,000-square-foot building, which is LEED-certified, was built to accommodate our fast-growing student population, and comprises 17 multipurpose classrooms, some of which double as computer labs, along with offices and lounges.

A Press of Atlantic City release from the day of the dedication quotes Freeholder Bartlett as noting, “I’ve been a big proponent of the College and what it means to Ocean County.”  This was emphatically true.

And in 2013, during commencement, OCC was proud to present Freeholder Bartlett with the Ocean County College Distinguished Alumni Award.

Freeholder Bartlett had been an unwavering supporter of Ocean County College, ensuring that OCC was always able to offer quality education at an affordable cost.  No matter the circumstances, Freeholder Bartlett staunchly protected the well-being of the College and its students, not only through aid to its operating budget but also by assisting the College with capital programs.  He was a champion of the Kean-Ocean program and had a strong hand in the funding to construct the Gateway Building, jointly owned by OCC and Kean University.

John C. Bartlett, Jr. was born in Lakewood, and moved to Pine Beach in 1947, where he had served as mayor and councilman, and where he and his wife, Peggy, raised their family.  Ocean County was John’s home, and his calling.  And OCC was fortunate to have him by its side.

In the Press of Atlantic City article from the dedication of Bartlett Hall, Freeholder Bartlett remarks, “The college has weaved in and out of my life.”

John Bartlett was for so long linked to Ocean County College. He will be missed.

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