The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


April 8, 2014

Gisela "Jill" Bartlett

— Gisela (Jill) Beyer Bartlett, 71, of Athens passed away Sunday, April 6, 2014.

Jill, born in Berlin, Germany, during World War II, was a young girl when she moved to the United States with her parents and settled in Huntsville, where her father was a member of the Wernher von Braun rocket team. She was extremely proud to be a naturalized American citizen.

Jill met her future husband, Jerry, when they were both students at Florence State College. Following their wedding, Jerry and Jill settled in Birmingham, where Jill completed her degree in German and education at Samford University while Jerry attended Cumberland School of Law.

Upon graduation the Bartletts moved to Athens to teach — Jill at Athens High School, where she taught German and English; she completed a master's degree in teaching at Athens College. When Jerry became president of Athens State University, Jill poured her enthusiasm into hosting university and community events at the Beaty-Mason Home, developing its gardens, and caring for her beloved pets.

Although Jill and Jerry had only one child, through her 36 years of teaching she parented thousands of students. She especially loved introducing them to foreign languages and cultures, and chaperoning them on trips abroad.

Jill loved seeing her students experience Europe for the first time, and after retirement, had the opportunity to visit new lands herself — traveling with her daughter and son-in-law, foreign service officers with the U.S. Department of State, to Brazil, South Korea, China, Egypt and numerous countries. She looked forward to visiting her daughter and son-in-law this summer in Lithuania, their next assignment.

Jill is survived by her husband, Jerry Franklin Bartlett, of Athens; and a daughter, Heidi Bartlett Evans and husband Somerville of Arlington, Va.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Rudolf and Rosel Beyer.

A celebration of Jill’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, April 11, at First United Methodist Church in Athens with the Rev. Jimmy Bassham presiding.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Jerry and Jill Bartlett Scholarship at Athens State University, the Athens Limestone Animal Shelter, or Limestone County Churches Involved.

Sign the online guestbook at

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