In Passing: Brad Bartholomay

By Schuyler Leigh Johnson   |   April 15, 2021

by Schuyler Leigh Johnson

A true Montecito gentleman and the best dad a girl could ask for, Brad Bartholomay went on to greener pastures in late 2020, just after his 71st birthday. 

My dad grew up at the top of Park Lane, the oldest of three boys. As an athletic kid he enjoyed hunting and surfing at the Ranch with the Hollister boys and roaming Montecito with his cousins and younger brothers, Randy and John. As a young adult he went on numerous hunting and fishing trips with brother, Randy, and remained a devoted son to parents Phil and Audrey. 

After graduating from New Mexico Military Institute and then Cal Poly, with a degree in Landscape Architecture, Brad returned to Montecito to start his landscape and masonry business. Architecture runs in our family, as his father was a well-known architect who designed and built many Montecito homes and swimming pools. I followed in my dad’s footsteps, graduating from his alma mater and now practice architecture here in Santa Barbara. 

Brad was a talented landscape architect and contractor, specializing in hardscapes. You can see some of his custom sandstone entry columns driving along Sycamore Canyon Road and his brick restoration work at Lotusland. But some of his most beautiful works are the terraced gardens, stone waterfalls and natural poolscapes hidden behind the walls of Montecito’s historic estates. His talented mason and friend of many years, Isidro Olvera, now runs his own masonry company, continuing the authentic stonework and fine craftsmanship that set their work apart.

My dad was a charismatic, talented, cowboy-at-heart who liked to joke with old friends and brag about me whenever he had the chance. He was an impeccable dresser with an infectious smile and sparking blue eyes. He loved to ride his horse, Tex, in the Santa Ynez mountains with longtime girlfriend, Debbie Nowlin, and spent a lot of time with his youngest brother, John, and his wife, Julie. Other friends included fellow RV Amigos Camp members John Bokum, Stan Los, Captain Don Headden and others, as well as lifelong friends he met while at Crane and Laguna Blanca, such as Erik Black and Stewart Hanssen

While most remember a thoughtful, engaging, genuine friend, I remember the most loving and patient dad, who never failed to make time for me. I always felt his gentle guidance and support, whether he was teaching me to swim in the Coral Casino pool or helping me work out important life decisions. 

Gone too soon, Brad will always remain in the hearts and memories of those who knew and loved him. He is survived by me, his daughter Schuyler; my husband, Kent, and our baby boy, Zeaden, who he got to meet before he passed, as well as many admirers, friends, and fans.

So, from those who loved this handsome, kind, fun, Ranchero Vistadore, we say happy trails. I love you, dad.


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