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A self-taught fiddle player called “the smiling fiddler.” Elmer Buel Bartlett, of Maysville, quietly passed away Tuesday, Feb. 5 at Sunset Home. At his side was his wife of 67 years, Gladys C. Bartlett.
Elmer was born Oct. 29, 1919, in Ozark County to Luther Bartlett and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Shipley. He was the eldest and only son of their seven children.
Elmer and Gladys were married in May 1941, in Ava, and spent most of their early years in the Springfield area. They moved to Kansas City in the early 1960s and to Maysville in 1970, where they owned an upholstery business. He was a self-taught fiddle player who was affectionately referred to as “the smiling fiddler.” In his early years, he played in “honky-tonks” to help support his young family. After moving to Maysville, he played most every weekend at various functions in and around the area and won many fiddling contests. He performed weekly at The Wagon Wheel, in Pattonsburg, for eight years, which was broadcast from KMRN radio station in Cameron.
The two loves of his life were his wife, Gladys, and his fiddle. His most popular request was “The Orange Blossom Special.”
He leaves behind his wife, Gladys Bartlett, of Maysville; his three children, a daughter, Audrey Willoughby, and two sons, Gale Bartlett and Curtis Bartlett, and wife Jackie, all of Kansas City; and five grandchildren, Josh Willoughby, Brooke Jameson, Rachel Cauthon, Kristen Wright, and Caroline Storey, all from Kansas City. Also remaining are four of his six sisters, Gladys Keller, of Davenport, Iowa, Leota. McClary, of West Plains, Edith Warrick, of Branson, and Maxine McMillan, of Springfield.
Services were held at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at Bram Funeral Home, Maysville. Visitation was from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Burial was in Thornfield Cemetery in Ozark County, where he was born and raised, on Friday, Feb. 8, after a brief graveside service. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or DeKalb County Nutrition Center.