First Responders 04

Brent Duane Bartley

August 26, 1971 ~ December 18, 2020 (age 49)


Bartley, Brent (Bart) passed away at his home on Friday, December 18, 2020, with his loving wife Desiree and Uncle Noel (Cindy) at his side. He was surrounded with the love of his brother, Todd (Kristin), and close family and friends after a courageous six-month battle against pancreatic cancer. Brent is the son of Barry (deceased) and Jody (Van Atta) Bartley of Haslett. He is also the father of Tucker (age 11) and Myles (10) who brought him great pride. When he married Desiree, he became part of the McMurtrie family, and they embraced him as one of their own. Brent was preceded in death by his bonus son, Dylan Aukerman and his adoring mother in law, Rosalie McMurtrie. Brent is also survived by his niece McKenna, special aunt Robbin (Denny) Koebnick, and many other aunts, uncles, and cousins. After graduating from Haslett High School in 1990, Brent attended Wayne State University where he majored in criminal justice and psychology. Brent’s passion for firefighting was instilled early in life. From the age of 17 he wanted to follow in his Grandfather, Father and Uncle Robert’s footsteps. All were dedicated firefighters in the Lansing, MI area. His father also instilled in him a work ethic that was appreciated by those lucky enough to work beside him. Brent always had to make sure the equipment was cleaned and put away in the trucks before leaving the firehouse. This spilled over into his personal life; he rarely missed a day at the car wash. Brent’s firefighting career began with the Clinton Area Fire & Rescue (CAFR). He learned a lot about fighting fire with mentors who made a lifelong impact on him. A proud moment of his career was when he was honored as Firefighter of the Year in 2015. When this department was dismantled, he continued his career with DeWitt Area FD. After meeting the love of his life, he moved to Spring Arbor where he found his perfect fit and a deep brotherhood on the Spring Arbor Fire Department. Brent was also employed by First Due Fire Supply for more than ten years under the direction of his mentor, Dan Hamel. He came on as a service technician and transitioned into role of Salesman of firefighting equipment where he was consistently honored as top salesman. He built relationships and lasting friendships that were not driven by the potential for a sale, but rather on getting to know his customers on a personal level. He preferred to drop off orders in person so he could touch base with customers and to make sure they were happy. He took pride in performing product demonstrations and educating firefighters about equipment. In the months prior to his illness, he worked at G Force Automotive as a customer service rep where he quickly became a valued member of the team. His customers and co-workers appreciated his genuine personality, kind heart, and boisterous laughter. Brent never backed down or lost a fight. Even when given a terminal diagnosis, he and Desiree waged war against cancer in order for Brent to have more time with those he cherished. They pursued the very best treatment options and tried to make every day count. They lived the vows of “for better or for worse” and “in sickness and in health.” Their mantra was “every day is a good day.” They battled until the very end when Desiree kept her promise to bring Brent home. Although their time together was not nearly as long as they hoped, their love for each other is an unbreakable bond. Their life together was full of passion and adventure with travels near and far. They shared a life of helping others and their passions became greater because of each other. Brent will be remembered for his big heart, laughing eyes, his grin, and his belly laugh. He enjoyed a wide genre of music, socializing, snowmobiling, playing softball with longtime friends, Nascar and cheering for the Boston Red Sox, U of M and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Desiree and the rest of Brent’s family would like to thank the team at The Cancer Treatment Center of America in Chicago for personalizing his care, the compassionate nurses on 7N at Henry Ford Allegiance Health, HFAH Hospice, and especially his massage therapist Kristie for the comfort she provided in his final days. Thank you also to Brent’s brothers on the Spring Arbor Fire Department for supporting him with this battle and literally bringing Brent home. A celebration of Brent’s life will be held in 2021 at the Spring Arbor Fire Department once the Covid gathering restrictions have lifted. Instead of sending flowers, live in a way that would honor Brent’s memory. When you see Desiree and Brent’s family, say his name. Share a memory or a favorite story about Brent. Keep Brent’s family in your thoughts and prayers, but put thoughts into action by also practicing random acts of kindness. Belly laugh. Be kind. Cherish moments. If you are able, make a donation to the Spring Arbor Fire Department in memory of Brent. This fund will provide training to new cadets as a way to honor Brent’s memory and passion for firefighting. Spring Arbor Fire Department C/O Brent Bartley Memorial Fund, 111 E Main St. Spring Arbor, MI 49283. Brent always ended his conversations and texts with “Have a good one and stay safe. Bartley” We’ll try. Rest easy #28, your brothers have the line from here. Godspeed, Brent.

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