Andrew Bartlett’s friends are gathered in a small living room on a Sunday night. A dozen of them are huddled on couches and armchairs. Junk food is sprawled on a coffee table and an empty box of pizza lies in the other room. They are laughing and telling stories. But look closely and you’ll see the tell-tale signs of something more. The puffy faces, bloodshot eyes and snivelling noses suggest they’ve all been crying.
“Andrew is—or he was—a very shy person until you got to know him,” said Jeremy Fowler. Like many of Bartlett’s friends, Fowler is still adjusting to the news of his friend’s death earlier that day. The group is trying to find strength in numbers but they still can’t believe their friend, a fourth-year English major, is gone.
“When he opens up he’s just a really great person,” said Fowler who remembers Bartlett as a loyal friend.
Bartlett, a volleyball player, attended a party with his teammates last Saturday night. A fellow member of the team dropped the 21 year-old off at home early Sunday morning. Shortly after, police responded to a call at his residence. Police said Bartlett was dead when they arrived. The cause of death is believed to be accidental.
Bartlett came to STU three years ago from the town of St. Andrews, New Brunswick. Even though he was a man of few words, he made friends quickly.
“He was sarcastic, but you loved him for it,” said Nicole Kadey, who remembers Bartlett’s unique sense of humor. Other friends speak of his playful “insults” and his “smug little grin.”
But Bartlett didn’t mind making fun of himself either. Whether it was sporting a bad haircut or wearing an old pair of shorts with a missing drawstring, he never passed up an opportunity to make his friends laugh.
Crystal Cline knew Bartlett for three years.
“He would help you with anything, that really meant a lot to me,” she said.
Last year, Bartlett spent an entire afternoon helping Cline when she was having trouble with a homework assignment.
“I really appreciated it because I can get really panicky but he calmed me down. I got my [assignment] done and I got a good mark on it.”
For Kadey, Bartlett was a supportive and protective friend. She still remembers the talk he gave her when he didn’t approve of her boyfriend.
“He actually made me sit on the couch for 20 minutes while he basically gave me a lecture about how I need to do better and I deserve a guy who will treat me right.”
Besides his friends, Bartlett’s other passion was sports. Throughout his university career he played intramural volleyball, but in his fourth year he decided to try out for the Tommies. Bartlett was overjoyed when he made the team.
He skipped outings at the Cellar to go to practices and even attended extra practices each week.
“He was really excited to be part of a team,” said Cline.
But a busy schedule of sports and social engagements didn’t keep Bartlett from his school work. The morning after nights out with his friends, he would get up early to complete readings and polish off essays. Never missing a class, Bartlett could be found in the front row.
“He’s the most responsible person I know,” says Cline.
Bartlett had a reputation for being fiercely critical of authors. “He’s the only English major I ever met who had a longer list of things he hated,” says Patrick Brennan.
Bartlett had talked about getting another degree in education. He joked about becoming a strict teacher who assigned lots of readings.
“He told me before that he didn’t want to graduate. He liked being here a lot,” said another friend, Derek Montague.
The university is planning to hold a memorial service. At press time, details were not available.
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