Vail Daily obituary: Glenn W. “Chip” Bartsch Jr., 1965-2015
Glenn “Chip” Bartsch Jr. was called to his eternal rest on Oct. 26, having succumbed to chemotherapy toxicity.
Chip was born in Neubrucke, West Germany, on Aug. 22, 1965 (his father was stationed there as an U.S. army officer). Chip’s given name was Glenn Jr., hence the nickname “Chip” to avoid confusion in the household between father and son. He both walked and talked at an early age. Chip’s first words, believe it or not, were “cuckoo clock.” His father habitually carried him all around the family’s large one-floor apartment before bedtime, stopping before each object on the walls (pictures, hanging plants, roebuck antlers, plaques, etc.) and pronouncing its name a couple of times, ending with Chip’s nursery where a small cuckoo clock hung on his wall. He was 8 months old when, one evening, he repeated after his father, “cuckoo clock,” as clear as a bell, and did so nightly before ever saying “Mama” or “Daddy.” He began walking by holding on to the walls and furniture and making his way around the apartment. At 10 months, he let go and took off by himself.
The family returned to the States when he was 20 months old, and his younger brother, Jeff, was 3 months old. They settled in Greendale, Wisconsin, where his baby sister, Janet, was born, completing the family. Chip was a Lutheran and attended a parochial elementary school, St. John’s, in a church where he joined the Lutheran Pioneers, in lieu of the Boy Scouts. When he was about 12 years old, he, his brother and sister, and his mom relocated to Shorewood, on the north side of Milwaukee in the university district of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, seven or eight blocks from the beaches of Lake Michigan. Chip’s childhood friends were professors’ and deans’ kids, and one was the daughter of the vice chancellor, hence an atmosphere of learning was always prominent.
Chip’s keen, lifetime interest in music first emerged during his high school years, when he took both piano and drum lessons. Chip and his brother listened day and night to an old, wooden box radio in their room that played all the music of the ’70s. The band leader of the high school band where Chip played the drums once told him that he “had a metronome in his soul.” His musical interests persisted throughout his life as he played guitar, wrote songs and performed at the open mike night at the Vail Ale House. A favorite tune was “Powder Day,” a tribute to his friends and their obsession with the most glorious of nature’s gifts. Chip was always looking for new bands and sounds, even though he was still buying and listening to vinyl. He was thrilled when his friends arranged to have Lukas Nelson and POTR to play in West Vail last December and it was his instruments that the band played that night.
During his high school years, Chip developed a desire to go to college at Lawrence University, in Wisconsin. He kept his grade point average up, and got the funds together to be accepted through a Pell Grant, a grant from Lawrence, and a government loan. He was not shy of work, and added to his tuition money by taking both summer jobs and part-time work at Lawrence University. One summer he worked third shift at the city post office in Milwaukee slinging heavy mail bags about, then in the morning, bought his days’ worth of flowers to sell pushing a flower cart around the village of Shorewood by day. At Lawrence, he worked first in the cafeteria cleaning up dishes, then in the university book store. He joined the Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity meeting his “little (fraternity) brother,” Andy Scott, with whom he would later meet up with again in Colorado.
An early indication of Chip’s adventurous spirit was an excursion he made, not long after settling in Colorado, to Germany, where his mom was teaching English at the University of Giessen, north of Frankfurt. Using his mom’s apartment as his home base, a EUrail pass, and a youth hostel pass, he traveled about Europe on his own, visiting such cities as Bern, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Heidelberg and Paris.
After graduating from Lawrence University in 1987, Chip moved to Boulder and in 1988 relocated to Vail, where the excellent living was too much to resist and he never left. During Chip’s time in Vail he ran his own painting company, was a bellman at the Lodge at Vail, and worked in the reservations department at the Christiana Lodge, receiving many appreciative notes from guests, including a signed card from Dr. J. In 2009, Chip began working at the West Vail Liquor Mart, adding much value by attaining a first level Court of Master Sommelier’s certificate and participating in the Cicerone Beer Certification Program. Chip advanced quickly, becoming a manager and beer buyer.
Chip’s passion for his work allowed him to make positive connections with customers and his opinions were always valued. All those who worked with him appreciated his professionalism and his friendly demeanor. He was highly respected by the sales people, distributors, and delivery drivers who knew him. He always treated people with respect and fairness.
Chip lived life to the fullest enjoying the outdoors like no other. He was an excellent telemark skier, resisting the lure (and ease) of alpine skiing, his free-heeling turns the envy of all. He was especially fond of disc golf, scuba diving and rafting with his friends and his canine sidekicks Gus and Bear. Chip was a huge fan of the Grateful Dead and spent many weekends with friends enjoying the music he loved so much. He’s probably playing duets with Jerry right now!
He brewed his own beer (which is quite tasty) and even planted and harvested his own hops. Chip loved his lawn games like no other and constantly roped whoever was near into them. Croquet, bocce ball, cornhole, koob, you name it he played it (and mostly won, too). All the while he would be smiling and laughing. His generosity was never ending. He was the type of guy who would bring a six pack to the park, two beers for him, two for you and two for someone he had yet to meet. Many a day and night were spent in Buffehr Creek Park, playing games with friends and neighbors.
As all of us do, Chip sometimes succumbed to crankiness, which those of us closest to him called “chipping,” but it never lasted and Chip was hardly ever without a large smile and a hearty laugh. No one is perfect and Chip had an unhealthy addiction to rooting for the Packers, but we loved him anyways. Besides his kindness and generosity, Chip was a stickler for always doing the right thing. He did so regardless of whether or not it was in his best interest. For him just and right action were most important, a lesson we can all take to heart. Chip was a blessing from God and as true a companion as you could ever wish for.
He is survived by his parents Glenn Bartsch Sr. and Elizabeth Parker, and their spouses Carrie and Christopher; his brothers and sisters Jeff Bartsch, Janet Boehlke, John Gutierrez and Jennifer Hoff and their partners Jamie Boehlke and Melissa Gutierrez; and his nieces and nephews Zoe Bartsch, Emily, Casey and Olivia Boehlke, William, Mason and Isaiah Gutierrez, and Payton and Maya Hoff, as well as his extended Vail “freak” family.