Joseph Raymond Bartow Sr., a longtime Madison resident, died peacefully on Friday, December 3, 2021 at the age of 84.
Ray is survived by his beloved wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” Bartow (née Hoffman); his son, Jeb Bartow and his wife Janet; his three daughters, Beth Bartow, Susan Brown and her husband Chris, and Muffie Roelke and her husband Jason; his ten cherished grandchildren, Tucker Brown, Phoebe Brown, Peter Roelke, Patrick Roelke, Baylor Bartow, Connor Brown, Colton Bartow, Braeden Roelke, Michael Roelke & Schuyler Roelke.
In addition to his parents, Ray was predeceased by his dear grandson, Tegan Bartow; and his three sisters, Virginia, Marie & Martha “Chickie”.
Ray was born on September 5 1937 in Bayshore, Long Island to the late Joseph and Edna M. Bartow. He was raised in Bright Waters with his three sisters.
Ray was first introduced to his wife Betsy on a blind double date that was arranged by a mutual friend and were inseparable from the start. They were married on July 13, 1963 and settled in Montclair, NJ. The young couple welcomed three daughters and a son into their family and were very active in the Montclair community. The family moved to Madison over twenty years ago where Ray and Betsy have lived since.
Ray was a genuine man with a magnetic personality. As a young man he sought out a fulfilling career in retail. Ray entered the industry of high-end department stores as a buyer for such companies as A&S, Bonwit Teller, Lord & Taylor and Bergdorf Goodman. As Ray’s career began to develop, he became a store manager at Saks Fifth Avenue in Millburn, NJ. His successful dedication and talent eventually brought him to a new position at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City, where he became manager and regional vice president of the flagship Fifth Avenue store.
By this time in Ray’s career, with his tremendous wealth of experience, skill and professional relationships, his career shifted. He entered a new realm of specialty high-end retail, and then eventually marketing and advertising. He worked for some very prominent brands in the fashion world such as Martha, a small chain of exclusive fashion boutiques in New York and Palm Beach. Ray was the Director of US Operations for the Italian luxury goods company, Salvatore Ferragamo and he eventually was hired by Steve Wynn to design and open stores in his casinos on the east coast. Ray was responsible for the design and merchandising of high-end retail spaces in several Las Vegas casinos, notably the Mirage. He later worked directly for Donald Trump where he was director of marketing, advertising and sales at Trump Tower in New York City.
Towards the end of Ray’s career, he established the Bartow Group, which was a retail consultant driven business that took on many high profile projects including, Madison Square Garden, the development of Chelsea Piers, Princess Hotels, Cunard Cruise Lines among many more.
Ray was a lifelong student of history and an avid reader. He took a particular interest in reading biographies, especially those of notable British and French historical figures and their historical diaries. Ray also loved political radio talk shows and talking politics with his closest friends and family.
Ray’s most proud role was that of a father and grandfather. Affectionately known as “Pop Pop”, he was his happiest when with his children and grandchildren. He enjoyed sketching them pictures and spending time with them talking, telling stories and enjoying sunsets. Ray also loved traveling with his family to the beach, driving his convertible VW Beetle and lounging in the sun.
Ray was an incredible man, with an enormous presence, who lived an incredible life. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends and every life he touched.
Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend a visitation to celebrate Ray’s life from 6:00PM to 9:00PM on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, held at the Madison Memorial Home, 159 Main Street, Madison. A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30AM on Thursday, December 9, 2021 at St. Vincent Martyr Church, 26 Green Village Road, Madison. For those that wish, you may attend the Funeral Mass virtually via livestream by visiting www.svmnj.org.
Interment will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that you please consider a charitable contribution in Ray’s memory to the Morristown Memorial Foundation for the benefit of the Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute. In the dropdown menu for contribution designation, please select Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute.