M. Jeanne Bartelt, a physical education teacher who was a leader in developing statewide PE standards for California schoolchildren, died May 22 of cardiac arrest. She was 89.
A Marine veteran, Ms. Bartelt was a forceful advocate for helping young people learn to be active and healthy. In 1977, she went to work as a PE consultant at the state Department of Education and was influential for 25 years in establishing policies for physical education and health education in public schools.
She helped create a state physical fitness test for students and helped develop teaching guidelines, handbooks and curriculum. She traveled around California training teachers and administrators on ways to teach PE that engage young people and encourage them to be active.
"Jeanne was a legend," said Caroline Roberts, a state education health policy manager. "She wanted to instill a love of physical activity in kids and wanted teachers and principals to teach quality physical education and make it meaningful for kids."
Ms. Bartelt previously taught PE at all levels of education, from kindergarten to college. She taught in the San Juan Unified School District after settling in Sacramento in 1950 and was an early director of Camp Arcade, which is now Camp Winthers, the district's outdoor learning program in the Sierra Nevada.
Born in 1923 and raised in the Chicago area, Ms. Bartelt played field hockey and graduated from what is now Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. She served in the Marine Corps during World War II and was a corporal and first drummer in the Women's Marine Corps Band.
She started teaching at Bay Area colleges and earned a master's degree in physical education from California State University, Sacramento. She had high expectations but made PE enjoyable for young people, former student Linda Winthers said.
"She was an outstanding role model, because she could do everything," said Winthers, whose husband acquired Camp Arcade for San Juan. "She never put anyone down. She always allowed us to do what we could do best."
Ms. Bartelt was recognized for her contributions to physical education and her support for athletic opportunities for women. She received the Honor and Verne Landreth awards from the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. In 1999, she was honored by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.
She lived in Citrus Heights with her life partner, Sandra Archer. She was a certified massage therapist, an avid reader and a Eucharistic minister at Holy Family Catholic Church in Citrus Heights. For many years, she was active playing team sports, golfing and rock climbing.
"She was promoting fitness and physical education years before we began to see childhood obesity as a problem," Roberts said. "She was a pioneer."
M. Jeanne Bartelt Born: July 6, 1923 Died: May 22, 2013 Survived by: Life partner, Sandra Archer of Citrus Heights Services: Funeral Mass, 1 p.m. today at Holy Family Catholic Church, 7817 Old Auburn Road, Citrus Heights Remembrances: In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD) Foundation, 1501 El Camino Ave., No. 3, Sacramento, CA 95815; or to VFW Women's Auxiliary at James A. Jewel VFW Post 3547, HC 33, Box 3350, Ely, NV 89301.
Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @bob_davila.