Impacted by collegiate athletics and the sport of cross country running deeply, the late Wayne L. Bartelheimer has left a $600,000 endowment to the Eastern Washington University athletic department as a generous planned gift through his estate.

Bartelheimer passed away in 2019 at the age of 74. He was born on Nov. 13, 1944, and spent most of his lifetime involved with family dairies in Snohomish, Wash., and Othello, Wash.

He graduated from Eastern Washington State College in 1972 with a degree in psychology, but never competed in athletics at Eastern during an era when the school’s athletic programs were known as the “Savages,” competed in the Evergreen Conference and were members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

However, at Snohomish (Wash.) High School, Bartelheimer was a top 10 placer at the Washington Interscholastic Athletics Association (WIAA) Cross Country Championships. That love of the sport provided the incentive for the avid runner and triathlete to make his subsequent bequest to benefit EWU Athletics.

The endowment will eventually annually provide $24,000 to the Eagle Athletic Fund, which provides scholarships to Eastern student-athletes. That is the equivalent of one full scholarship at EWU yearly, awarded to student-athletes participating in athletics at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) level.

“We are overwhelmed by such a generous gift,” said EWU Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Lynn Hickey. “His love of Eastern and athletics was definitely profound, and we are greatly appreciative. We look forward to showing our appreciation to his surviving family members for this endowment.”

Bartelheimer came from a family of farmers who owned and farmed the same family land in Snohomish for over 100 years.  Dairy cows were the primary focus of the farm and later five of the eleven children established dairy farms nearby.

Wayne and his brothers, Dale and Alan, later established and were involved in the operation of another dairy farm in Eastern Washington near Othello called the Bar-E Dairy. Dale passed away on May 5, 2019, at the age of 80.

Alan now lives in Othello and operates the dairy which milks 4,000 cows. There are now five generations of Bartelheimers involved with the dairy operations, started by Fred Bartelheimer, a German immigrant who bought 40 acres in Snohomish in 2012 because it reminded him of home. The Barthelheimers were selected in 2018 as the Snohomish County Centennial Farm Family.

Before he attended Eastern, Wayne Bartelheimer was involved in 4-H, Future Farmers of America and athletics before graduating from Snohomish High School in 1964. He then enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam. He received his master’s degree in family counseling from Fresno State University and was a certified counselor. He worked as a counselor for the Lutheran Family Center in Portland, Ore., for 20 years.

Wayne Bartelheimer also provided two other $600,000 endowments to charitable causes. Those included the Columbia Basin Foundation, a philanthropic organization based in Ephrata, Wash., which manages 116 funds with 52 scholarship funds. That organization’s goal is to improve the quality of life and shape the future of the Columbia Basin through philanthropy.

The CBC will launch the Wayne L. Bartelheimer Memorial Athletic Scholarship in 2021. Graduating high school seniors and current college students from Adams and Grant counties will be eligible to apply. The primary purpose of the scholarship is to provide funding for students who want to pursue collegiate athletics—intercollegiate, intramural or club programs—and who have demonstrated integrity, citizenship, motivation, academic success and financial need.

The other beneficiary from his estate was the National Parkinson’s Foundation. Please visit GoEags.com to read additional stories on Wayne Bartelheimer and his family.