October 2023 Volume 19

OSWALD E. "OSSIE" BARTLETT Distinguished Old Boy and Humanitarian

Toronto Chapter
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Ossie Bartlett's love affair with Kingston College really began in 1945 when he enrolled in the school, although he had already won a scholarship for Excelsior.

During his school years he took part in a wide range of activities and eventually achieved the rank of Sergeant Major in the Cadet Corps and captained the Second Eleven soccer team in 1949, the historic year when, under Freddie Green the school won its first Manning Cup.

Ossie's first job was in the Civil Service, initially at the Income Tax Department then the Marketing Department, after which he migrated in 1954 to the U.S.A

After a variety of accounting jobs, Ossie began working with Pan American World Airways and this decision was to play a major role in his career as a Travel Agent and Tour promoter.

In 1961 Ossie opened the first Black operated Travel Agency in Brooklyn and quickly established himself as a major Travel Agent when in 1962 he started Aloah Travel. This agency operated successfully for many years.

It was also in 1962 that Ossie along with a nucleus of Old Boys began to rekindle his love for his alma mater. They made history by forming, in New York, the first Overseas Chapter of Kingston College Old Boys. Ossie served as President for many years providing leadership and guidance throughout the early formative period.

It is therefore not surprising that in 1967, when the Boys Champs team was facing a severe shortage of track suits, at the last minute, an urgent request was made to the New York Chapter for assistance. Largely through the efforts of Ossie, a shipment of the much remembered "white" track suits was brought personally by Ossie to Jamaica and presented to the team members at a squad meeting in the Assembly Hall on the eve of Championships.

The team, suffice to say, won that year to continue an unparalleled winning streak that spanned 1962 to 1975.

In the 1970's Ossie's reputation as a major Travel Operator continued to grow and after Air Jamaica's formation, he quickly became their No. 1 producer and also for Pan Am to the Caribbean.

He developed new and innovative travel programmes to the Caribbean, for such events as the Manley Games and Reggae Sunsplash, and to Europe. It was not unusual for some unknown customer to approach him and reminisce about a pleasant holiday to some exotic place.

Because of health reasons, Ossie moved to Miami in 1985 and successfully continued his career in the Real Estate field. Once more his love for Kingston College re-emerged when he founded the chapter of the Old Boys Association to provide assistance to the school.

Finally, it is fitting to salute Ossie for his achievements and love for Kingston College by using his favourite quotation,

" Some men see things as they are and say why

I dream things that never were and say why not,”"

and by reminding us of his life's motto, "Fortis Cadere Cedere non potest".

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