In memory of
Jim Bartko
In memory of
Jim Bartko
Jim Bartko May 13, 1965 - March 16, 2020 Jim Bartko, a former University of Oregon associate athletic director who was instrumental in the school's rise to prominence as a collegiate sports power and brand, died Monday. He was 54. Bartko collapsed after working out Sunday at Oakway Fitness Center in Eugene. Paramedics transported him to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend in Springfield, where he died during surgery at 1:45 p.m. Monday, March 16, 2020. His death came only four days after he'd announced his having filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Oakland in connection with his being sexually abused by a Catholic priest, Stephen Kiesle, over nearly a three-year period in the 1970s. At the same press conference in Oakland, Bartko's new book, "Boy in Mirror," was released. It was written with former Register-Guard columnist Bob Welch. Bartko is survived by his parents, James and Mary Jane Bartko, of Lake Oswego; a son, A.J., 23, of Los Angeles; a daughter, Danielle, 17, of Fresno, Calif.; his sister, Kim Abel and her husband, Keith Abel, of Lake Oswego; nieces, Melissa, Los Angeles and Michaela, Seattle; nephew, Drew, of Portland; and his Uncle Dan Johnson and Aunt Ruby, of Ione, Calif. And, of course, his much-beloved English Golden Retriever, Stella. Jim Bartko was born May 13, 1965, in Stockton, Calif. He graduated from Modesto's Central Catholic High School in 1983 and attended Washington State University, where he was head manager for the Cougars' football team. He married the former Eileen Sorensen in 1994, the same year he became an associate athletic director for UO in Eugene. The two divorced earlier this year. As one of the youngest associate athletic directors in the nation, Bartko emerged as a key player in Oregon's rise to an upper-echelon athletic program. In particular, he became the university's liaison with Nike co-founder Phil Knight, whose financial contributions helped fuel Oregon's rise to an elite level. Bartko counted his relationship with Phil and Penny Knight as among his richest. At last week's press conference, he said he had "the best parents you could have" and called his relationship with Kim as "more than a sister—a friend." Jimmy loved A.J. and Danielle deeply and bragged on them often to friends. At UO, Bartko oversaw the Duck Athletic Fund and the regional Oregon Clubs for nearly two decades. In 2000, when Knight and the UO had a falling out, it was Bartko who helped the university mend a tenuous relationship with him. Bartko supervised the $227 million Matthew Knight Arena project. He is credited with raising more than $375 million for capital improvements and facilities, including the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex and the John E. Jaqua Academic Center. "He was probably as responsible as anyone in the athletic department's transition from having nothing to having everything you could ever need," former Oregon football Coach Rich Brooks told The Register-Guard. In 2015, he became Fresno State University's athletic director. After he broke down and told a therapist in an Arizona treatment center about being abuse as a child—and later went public with it in January 2017— his darkest year followed. In July his wife filed for divorce and in November Fresno State forced him to resign. He returned to Oregon, where he was invited to partner with UO's Center for the Prevention of Abuse and Neglect, which includes the Jimmy Bartko Scholarship Fund. At the time of his death, he was senior ambassador for advancement and alumni relations. Bartko was proud of his new book, "Boy in the Mirror," profits from which will go to the Jimmy Bartko Scholarship Fund. A memorial service honoring Bartko will be held after the coronavirus threat has passed. Donations may be made to the Jimmy Bartko Scholarship Fund or the Prevention of Abuse & Neglect Center Fund, both of which are part of the University of Oregon Fund: https://bit.ly/2x20DDq For Jim's book, go to Amazon, https://amzn.to/38Z7k6y ; Barnes & Noble, https://bit.ly/3b2kgKd ; or seek out an independent bookstore. Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits
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Services Provided By
Musgrove Family Mortuary
225 S Danebo Ave
Eugene, OR 97402
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In memory of
Jim Bartko
Jim Bartko May 13, 1965 - March 16, 2020 Jim Bartko, a former University of Oregon associate athletic director who was instrumental in the school's rise to prominence as a collegiate sports power and brand, died Monday. He was 54. Bartko collapsed after working out Sunday at Oakway Fitness Center in Eugene. Paramedics transported him to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend in Springfield, where he died during surgery at 1:45 p.m. Monday, March 16, 2020. His death came only four days after he'd announced his having filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Oakland in connection with his being sexually abused by a Catholic priest, Stephen Kiesle, over nearly a three-year period in the 1970s. At the same press conference in Oakland, Bartko's new book, "Boy in Mirror," was released. It was written with former Register-Guard columnist Bob Welch. Bartko is survived by his parents, James and Mary Jane Bartko, of Lake Oswego; a son, A.J., 23, of Los Angeles; a daughter, Danielle, 17, of Fresno, Calif.; his sister, Kim Abel and her husband, Keith Abel, of Lake Oswego; nieces, Melissa, Los Angeles and Michaela, Seattle; nephew, Drew, of Portland; and his Uncle Dan Johnson and Aunt Ruby, of Ione, Calif. And, of course, his much-beloved English Golden Retriever, Stella. Jim Bartko was born May 13, 1965, in Stockton, Calif. He graduated from Modesto's Central Catholic High School in 1983 and attended Washington State University, where he was head manager for the Cougars' football team. He married the former Eileen Sorensen in 1994, the same year he became an associate athletic director for UO in Eugene. The two divorced earlier this year. As one of the youngest associate athletic directors in the nation, Bartko emerged as a key player in Oregon's rise to an upper-echelon athletic program. In particular, he became the university's liaison with Nike co-founder Phil Knight, whose financial contributions helped fuel Oregon's rise to an elite level. Bartko counted his relationship with Phil and Penny Knight as among his richest. At last week's press conference, he said he had "the best parents you could have" and called his relationship with Kim as "more than a sister—a friend." Jimmy loved A.J. and Danielle deeply and bragged on them often to friends. At UO, Bartko oversaw the Duck Athletic Fund and the regional Oregon Clubs for nearly two decades. In 2000, when Knight and the UO had a falling out, it was Bartko who helped the university mend a tenuous relationship with him. Bartko supervised the $227 million Matthew Knight Arena project. He is credited with raising more than $375 million for capital improvements and facilities, including the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex and the John E. Jaqua Academic Center. "He was probably as responsible as anyone in the athletic department's transition from having nothing to having everything you could ever need," former Oregon football Coach Rich Brooks told The Register-Guard. In 2015, he became Fresno State University's athletic director. After he broke down and told a therapist in an Arizona treatment center about being abuse as a child—and later went public with it in January 2017— his darkest year followed. In July his wife filed for divorce and in November Fresno State forced him to resign. He returned to Oregon, where he was invited to partner with UO's Center for the Prevention of Abuse and Neglect, which includes the Jimmy Bartko Scholarship Fund. At the time of his death, he was senior ambassador for advancement and alumni relations. Bartko was proud of his new book, "Boy in the Mirror," profits from which will go to the Jimmy Bartko Scholarship Fund. A memorial service honoring Bartko will be held after the coronavirus threat has passed. Donations may be made to the Jimmy Bartko Scholarship Fund or the Prevention of Abuse & Neglect Center Fund, both of which are part of the University of Oregon Fund: https://bit.ly/2x20DDq For Jim's book, go to Amazon, https://amzn.to/38Z7k6y ; Barnes & Noble, https://bit.ly/3b2kgKd ; or seek out an independent bookstore. Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits
View Full Obituary ›
Services Provided By
Musgrove Family Mortuary
225 S Danebo Ave
Eugene, OR 97402
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