WATERTOWN, NY (WWNY) — Dr. W. Barton (“Bart”) Van Slyck, 97, died peacefully at his home in Watertown, NY on Jan. 12, 2023. Born in Governor, New York on Aug. 16, 1925, son of William M. Van Slyck and Gertrude (Slicker) Van Slyck. Bart was so well organized throughout his life that he even penned an obituary for him. (Sorry, Dad, we couldn’t resist a few tweaks.)
Bart spent his childhood days in Gouverneur where his father was a longtime mayor, pharmacist and co-owner of Van Slyck & Curtis drug store. He had an early interest in the Boy Scouts of America and became an Eagle Scout at the age of 15. This interest continued into adulthood when he served as Waterfront Director of Boy Scout summer camps for four years before World War II and five years after the war for both the St. Lawrence and Rochester Councils of Scouts.
A good student and four-sport athlete, Bart graduated from Governor’s High School in 1943. Like many of his generation, Bart was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943 (November) and was scheduled to enter the Army’s Specialized Training Program. However, that program was eliminated, and he was transferred to the Army’s 86th Division. When the “Battle of the Bulge” began, his division was deployed to Europe. He saw action in the Rhur Pocket and southern Germany until the end of the war in Europe in April 1945. Bart then redeployed to the Pacific Theater in preparation for the invasion of Japan. He was honorably discharged in April 1946.
Later that year, Bart enrolled in college at St. Lawrence University’s pre-med program in Canton, New York. At SLU, he enjoyed being a member of the ATO fraternity, playing soccer, and occasionally traveling to his hometown to play basketball with the Gouverneur American Legion.
In 1949, Barthes entered the University of Rochester School of Medicine. There he met and fell in love with his wife, and best friend of nearly 70 years, Ana Jane Morenos, a nursing student at the University of Rochester School of Nursing. They married on June 6, 1953 in Cortlandt, New York.
After medical school, the new Dr. Van Slyck spent one year (1953-1954) in a rotating internship at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville and a two-year internal medicine residency (1954-1956) at the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver (where his sons David and Stephen were born ). Bart and Ann then return to his hometown of Governor, New York where he has practiced family medicine for thirteen years (and where his third son, Martin, is born).
In 1970, Bart began a three-year residency in diagnostic radiology at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York. The family lived in Baldwinsville, New York during this time. After his training, the family returned to the North Country where he became a partner at Northern Radiology Associates in Watertown, New York. Bart officially retired from the practice in 1987 but continued to practice radiology intermittently at a number of hospitals in Maine, Michigan, New York and Virginia until 1990.
Early in his career, Bart became active in Planned Parenthood in upstate New York and was one of its original organizers and first medical director. He was honored in 1978 with the Alan F. Guttmacher Award from Planned Parenthood for World Population. In 2019, he received the Grace Wright Humanitarian Award for his work with Planned Parenthood.
Music and the church played an important role in Barthes’ life. He and Ann were deeply involved in Presbyterian activities wherever they were. Barthes was an elder in both the Governor’s and Watertown Presbyterian churches. He sang as a teenager in the Gouverneur Presbyterian Choir, at St. Lawrence University in the selected Laurentian Singers choir group, and in the Baldwinsville and Watertown Presbyterian choirs. He was active in community theater in both Baldwinsville and Watertown. Highlights of his theatrical career were major parts as Fagin in Oliver, King in The King and I – each with the Watertown Lyric Theatre.
Bart and Ann built their home on Lake Sylvia in the 1960’s where family and friends enjoyed many happy summer days. “Camp” was a place where Bart would often display his prowess as a truly creative handyman and diving board jumping expert. He was a member of the Triple E and Dry Timber Lake fishing camps where he enjoyed many days with his closest friends. Upon retirement, he and Ann spent several years driving across the Lower 48, as well as in Canada, Alaska, and Newfoundland.
In 2000, after many years of careful research, Barthes published A History of the Van Slyck Family tracing his lineage from Holland in 1634 to New York City to Schenectady, and eventually to upstate New York. Bart and Ann have had many interesting adventures while doing research at the National Archives in Washington, many county offices, and cemeteries across the country.
Bart is survived by his wife, Anna Jane, and their three sons – David (Susan Granay) of Yarmouth, MI, Stephen (Sharon) of Pittsford, New York, and Martin (Cindy) of Lake Almanor, California. He is also survived by his great-granddaughter Lauren Van Slyck (Mark Desiderio) and Anna Van Slyck (Matthew St. George), great-great-granddaughter of Susan Desiderio, as well as several beloved family members. Bart is passed on by his sister, Barbara (Van Slyck) Anderson.
A celebration of Bart’s life will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 21, 2023 at First Presbyterian Church of Watertown (403 Washington Street).
Arrangements with DL Calarco Funeral Home, Inc. Condolences can be submitted online at www.dlcalarco.com
Contributions to Dr. Barton Van Slyck’s memory may be made to Planned Parenthood of North York (161 Stone Street, Watertown, NY 13601) or First Presbyterian Church (403 Washington Street, Watertown, NY 13601).
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