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Published: Friday, 6/20/2003

Monroe meals coordinator edited church history book

TIPTON, Mich. - Ghislaine M. Bartolo, a charter member of the Mobile Meals program in Monroe and co-editor of a history of her church, died Tuesday in Herrick Memorial Hospital, Tecumseh, Mich. She was 71.

She had diabetes and congestive heart failure. She had kidney failure seven years ago, and daughters Denise Shelle and Bettina Pearch tested as compatible donors. Bettina volunteered.

“It just felt it was meant to be,” Bettina said. “I had no fear for myself. I knew God had a plan and wasn't ready to take her.”

Formerly of Toledo, Mrs. Bartolo and her husband, Anthony, an obstetrician-gynecologist, settled in Monroe, where he established a practice. She helped organize a Mobile Meals program and coordinated the drivers.

“She was always looking out for the underdog, and [was] very community minded,” daughter Denise said.

Mrs. Bartolo devoted seven years to what became The Cross Leads Generations On, published in 1987, a history of St. Antoine/St. Mary Church in Monroe on the parish's 200th anniversary. She was co-writer and co-editor.

She also was a Realtor during the 1980s and sold Monroe area homes.

Mrs. Bartolo was born in what is now Beijing, the daughter of the Belgian consul. She and her sister were sent to live with relatives in Belgium during World War II. As her father's assignments changed after the war, she and her family lived in Ottawa, Ont., and in Detroit.

She received a bachelor of arts degree in history from Marygrove College, Detroit.

Her experience as world citizen in childhood “made her a very open person,” daughter Denise said. “She continued to travel her whole life. She loved people and loved to learn things about people.”

She visited China in later years and tried to find some of the places she remembered, daughter Bettina said. Mrs. Bartolo and her husband visited Malta, of which he is a native, Russia, and Australia.

She formerly belonged to a tennis league. She was a member of the Monroe Garden Club and of the Friends in Council, a women's study club.

She and her husband moved to Tipton in 1993, when he in retirement joined the medical practice of son-in-law Dr. Dennis Shelle.

Surviving are her husband, Dr. Anthony Bartolo, whom she married May 26, 1956; daughters, Helen Luther, Denise Shelle, Bettina Pearch, and Monique Bartolo; son, Michael Bartolo; sister, Therese Dabos, and 12 grandchildren.

The body will be in the Purse Mortuary, Adrian, after 1 p.m. today, with recitation of the Rosary at 7 tonight in the mortuary. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in St. Elizabeth Church, Tecumseh, of which she was a member.

The family requests tributes to the American Diabetes Association.

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