In Memoriam: Sandy Bartlett

Memorial Services

Sunday, October 26, 2014

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Trinity Methodist Church

4001 Speedway, Austin, TX 78751


  Lou Faiel-Dattilo's Poem

This poem was written by Sandy’s Partner shortly before Sandy’s retirement in 2012.


The eighties did not arrive – they struck
a generation of men –
the sons of war began to dance
the seventies before
and danced
from friday night
till sunday afternoon
the dance of pride
our bodies primed and beautiful
long hair shorn
we danced and disco’d till we dropped
and like young men
dared to share
no longer secrets
of older men
trained to keep it in
or keep it dark
or pretend
it was not so
and so
we disco’d till we dropped
and dropped those old pretenses
to plaintive dance-floor songs
and then
the eighties did not arrive
they struck
and inoculations and ejaculations
a thousand shouts of elations
not heard before –
a perfect storm
a critical mass
of something yet unknown
something from
the heart of darkness
crept in and danced with us
and young men began to fall
their names struck one after another
from little black books
a line through this one
and a line through that
till those little black books of names
became little books
of careful black lines
so they could be remembered
and now we danced with death
and Ray-gun never said
a word
it was not there
the actor forgot his lines
while lives of young men
marched to numberless graves
the living left and cried
and still the actor lied
and so we called
first this one and then that –
what can we do?
all our friends have died
what can we do?
the eighties had not arrived –
they struck –
and so we did our best
and soon
it had a name
first uncertain then certain
the name stamped on –
and so we stomped and chanted
and demanded –
those of us still alive –
and did what we could
and taught and fought
and gave out rubbers
and laid out blankets
of love
and here we are
no longer silenced
but quietly brave
we teach and reach
more distant brothers and sisters –
but still we dance
and nothing’s left to chance –
the eighties not forgotten
and not struck
but left
to boundless memories –
at last they can arrive.

Lou Faiel-Dattilo
March 2012

Lee Manford's Tribute

Sandy was the longest tenured employee of ASA at the time he retired. His longevity was a testament to his dedication and determination, which stemmed from what drew him to ASA originally: AIDS was decimating his community. HIV/AIDS became his life’s work. In a time when little was known about AIDS, Sandy developed a near encyclopedic knowledge of the disease: the science, the medicine, the social and economic ramifications, and the political and cultural implications. Knowledge that he willingly and capably shared with clients, staff, volunteers, and the community. He was recognized as an expert locally, at the state level and nationally.

He was a master of communication. He was effective in conducting group trainings and educational presentations. And perhaps his greatest talent was conversing one-on-one. He was always ready for a conversation with whomever came his way, and could do so skillfully on a vast array of topics. Sandy was a good listener; and he loved to share the knowledge he had gleaned, and offer an opinion or two along the way.

He served his community, one group at a time, one person at a time. And there were many, many who came his way. Thank you, Sandy, for sharing so generously.

Lee Manford

D and L Davis's Poem


Not often in life
We chance to find
A kind and helping hand
An open mind
An old soul

You always seemed
To see the greatness in things
To help where you could
To take the high road
To find poetry in life

We have been blessed
To have known you as friend
You will forever be missed
Buon viaggio carissimo amico

D & L Davis

ASA Resolutions

No.2012-04 Honoring Sandy Bartlett, 10-2012 No.2014-04 Memorial Sandy Bartlett, 10-2014

Memories and Messages

To submit a memory or message for Sandy’s family, please email Kanaka at

I first met Sandy when I reported for an ASA volunteer orientation in 2011. He was sweeping the floor of the Food Bank. He stood up, introduced himself, and asked me to wait in the conference room for the orientation. With a few steps from Food Bank to conference room, Sandy had moved effortlessly from housekeeping to presenting an eloquent account of the history of AIDS, the founding of ASA, and the cherished role of the ASA volunteer. At that point, I knew Sandy must have worn many hats at ASA. Over the next few months, I came to understand, mainly from others, just how vital and complex Sandy’s ties with the historical and day-to-day operations of ASA had been. During my time as an ASA volunteer, I saw Sandy doing what he loved. He approached clients with kindness, volunteers with patience, and obstacles with resolve.

My husband Tom Wilmore and I had the pleasure of Sandy and his partner Lou’s company a number of times. The subjects we discussed and the animation of the conversation offered us an insight into the many layers of interests and causes that motivated Sandy’s life.  

Sandy was not a person you discovered through his own words, but by his actions. And perhaps the best testimony to Sandy’s life is ASA itself. From the lowest task to the highest, Sandy applied himself to improving ASA. His rational responses to the AIDS hysteria, his practical advice to clients, and his nurturing of a loyal, efficient cadre of volunteers set the foundation upon which others can erect a future of compassion and social action.

If a person’s life is is measured by the the enrichment he gives to the lives of others, Sandy set a world record, and he inspired us all along the way.  

Linda Magee & Tom Wilmore

Sandy was so awesome when I was a volunteer 10 years ago….He was generous, funny and thoughtful with his time and experience.  I was a volunteer, just last December, almost one year ago, I was diagnosed with AIDS, never having been diagnosed with HIV, I am not in Austin, I am in Jacksonville Fl, and it is with heartfelt sadness, that I truly come to appreciate all the wonderful ways he made a light shine so brightly.  Things are so different here, I hope and pray I can carry just a fraction of his light to the people here. His candle has lit mine.

In my deepest sympathy with love and appreciation for his wonderful life,

I was privileged to know Sandy through my volunteer work in the ASA food bank.  He was the kindest man and treated everyone with the highest respect.  I would like to send my sincere regrets to his family and loved ones at his passing. He will be sorely missed.

Jerry Deckler

The passing of Sandy Bartlett is hard news to take for those of us who worked with him back in the eighties when AIDS was a new and scary issue. Sandy was scrambling to de-stigmatize AIDS as the Director of Education for the newly formed ASA. Caroline Scott and I, both lawyers, wrote an article for the Texas Bar Journal trying to acquaint the lawyers of Texas with some of the legal basics surrounding AIDS.

Sandy hoped it might give employers pause, some of whom were firing gay men to preserve their insurance rates.

Sandy was tireless, dedicated, and more cheerful in his work than most of us could manage in those difficult days. I remember him for his enormous contribution to our community at a time of great crisis. I will miss him.

Tom Doyal

I met Sandy in 1989 or 1990 when I began working at ASA as the Nursing Coordinator.  At that time the agency was located in a large, old, green house on 17th and Colorado adjacent to the UT Campus.  The space was small and our work areas were located physically close to one another so we got to know each other well.  It was an important time in history and ASA had managed to gather together just the right group of staff needed to deliver direct services to people living with HIV/AIDS and to also educate the community  of which Sandy was an integral part.  We used to tease him all the time and call him the “walking encyclopedia” because he knew everything about HIV/AIDS and he never got flustered no matter how crazy some of the questions posed to him were and believe me in those days some of them were really crazy.  He was born and raised in Austin and he seemed to know just about everyone.  He had a great sense of humor and he was a wonderful storyteller.  We worked on and off  together on various community projects over the next twenty years.  We didn’t see each other much these last few years but every now and then we would run into each other at HEB.  Each time I was filled with this flush of warmth and comfort and it was like time hadn’t passed at all.  He was intelligent, kind, generous, committed and he made the world a better place for people living with HIV and thus for us all.  How lucky we were and are to have had him in our community  and our lives even though his time with us was far too short.

Dwayne Haught

For most of my life, I thought that my father was the one person who had the most knowledge of all people that I knew … until I met Sandy. Not a day went by that I did not hear Sandy sharing a story of this or that to someone new. As the pioneers of Austin’s initial AIDS crusade become fewer, I hope that those of us who had the opportunity to learn from someone like Sandy can carry on his word and his never-ending stories. 

Erin Becnel

Paul's quote