Paul Bartlett dies; led grain, milling and cattle business

by Josh Sosland
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KANSAS CITY — Paul D. Bartlett Jr., chairman of Bartlett and Company, died Feb. 8 at 94.

A Kansas City native, Mr. Bartlett graduated in 1941 from Yale University.  During World War II, Mr. Bartlett was in the U.S. Navy, serving on a destroyer escort.

Following the war, Mr. Bartlett returned to Kansas City where he joined his father Paul Bartlett at Hart, Bartlett, Sturtevant, a grain business that was renamed Bartlett and Company in 1954. Among innovations executed by the company, Bartlett built a River Rail grain elevator in the Fairfax district of Kansas City, a move that allowed barge competition to emerge in a market that had been dominated by rail traffic.

Mr. Bartlett led the company beyond the grain business with investments in new fields — flour milling and cattle feeding.  The company grew dramatically during his years leading Bartlett, which has been included by Forbes in its compilation of the largest privately held companies in the United States. Its flour milling operations include mills in Coffeyville, Kas., and Statesville and Wilson’s Mills in North Carolina.

A longtime member of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Kansas City Board of Trade, Mr. Bartlett was a director of UMB Financial Corp. for longer than 50 years and also was a director of Employers’ Reinsurance Corp. He was a trustee of the Linda Hall Library, which was established in the 1940s on the estate of Herbert and Linda Hall. Mr. Hall, a cousin of Mr. Bartlett, was a successful grain executive.

Mr. Bartlett enjoyed traveling with his wife Jody (the couple married in 1949) and their family. Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett were enthusiastic walkers and for many years could be seen in Kansas City taking seven mile walks on most Saturdays and Sundays.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Bartlett is survived by four children: a daughter, Alison Jager (Eric) and their sons Niles and Paul (Lynsey); a daughter, Marilyn Hebenstreit (Jim) and their daughters Alison, Jessica and Laura; a son, Paul D. Bartlett III (Frances Rove); and a son, Frederick J. Bartlett.

Services will be private with no visitation. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Linda Hall Library, 5109 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Mo. 64110-2498.
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