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"Skip" Merrill Lewis Bartlett

April 8, 1939 ~ February 5, 2017 (age 77)

8 April 1939—5 February 2017

Merrill L. “Skip” Bartlett, 77, fondly referred to by his family and friends as the “Island Curmudgeon” died on 5 February 2017 with his family by his side.  Originally from Colfax, WA (Class of ’57), Skip graduated from WSU in Pharmacy (Class of ’63) where he collected and continued to tell and retell many stories as a very active Alpha Tau Omega fraternity brother. A very proud Marine, Skip received a commission in the Marine Corps as a second lieutenant in 1963 and continued to serve, retiring from active duty as a lieutenant colonel in 1983, upon which he and his family moved to Vashon. A naval historian, over a thirty year span, Skip authored and co-authored seven books and wrote more than 125 articles for the Naval Institute Press and other historical journals.

Besides his family, Skip had two passions on Vashon—Boy Scout Troop 294 and President of the Vashon Island Racoon Relocation Society. For nearly twenty years, Skip supported Troop 294 as secretary and led numerous crews to usher UW home football games. He ushered so many Husky games, his allegiance turned purple and gold. Noticing that Vashon had too many racoons and the mainland did not have enough, he generously trapped racoons and let them go in many wooded areas off the island. His only regret was not to have a trap large enough to catch a few dozen deer (or a cougar) as well.

Skip is survived by his wife of nearly fifty years—Blythe, son Brendan and daughter Blythe Deines, step-son Doug Hershey and four grandkids Emma, Molly, Blythe and Nathan.

In lieu of flowers, Skip would have appreciated a donation to the Navy-Marine Aid Society ( in his name. 

Semper Fidelis

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