Deborah Choi Bartlett

May 9, 1960 - December 19, 2020

Deborah “Deb” Choi Bartlett, 60, died suddenly and unexpectedly at her home in Salt Lake City, UT on December 19, 2020 after a brief illness. Born and raised in Lancaster, PA, she was the daughter of the late Oong and Bertha (Benham) Choi. She was the widow of Henry Hall Bartlett, with whom she shared 16 years of marriage, before his untimely death in 2006. Many called her a kindred and generous spirit, and she leaves behind a community of family and friends who loved her fiercely. Deb radiated a zest for life and will ever be remembered for her caring kindness, vitality, wit and loyalty.

She is survived by a sister Mary Choi Smith, wife of Randall, of Wheeling, IL, a brother Jonathan Choi, husband of Ann Sheehy, of Shrewsbury, MA, nephews Joshua, Benjamin and Caleb Choi, aunts, uncles, and several cousins, with whom she remained close. 

After graduating from Hempfield High School, Deb studied at Swarthmore College, earning a BA in English Literature. A gifted violinist and vocalist, Deb was a leader in orchestras, choirs and musical ensembles, at her high school and college, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, and in many community groups.  

At both Hempfield and Swarthmore Deb developed life-long friendships with her classmates and fellow musicians, and maintained warm connections with her Hempfield teachers and Swarthmore professors. Her comfortable style and humor brought people together, and her work ethic and commitment to excellence made her a sought-after collaborator and mentor throughout her life. 

Deb had a long and rewarding career writing in the commercial real estate industry, at Trammell Crow, Cassidy Turley, CB Richard Ellis, and finally as a Senior Vice President at Cushman Wakefield, which involved oversight of national and international projects. Upon her move to Salt Lake City, she was employed by WeWork, and after retirement she continued as a freelance consultant. Deb was a trusted business advisor and served on the National Novelty Brush Co. Board of Directors.

Deb met her husband “Hank” through a shared interest in their mutual love of music and active adventure travel. They were a true Renaissance couple. After their marriage, Deb joined Hank’s accomplished professional band, Night Life, and performed extensively at corporate events and private celebrations throughout the DC area for 15 years. Deb was additionally active in her church, Christ Church Parish Kensington, and took special delight in singing with the Choir for many years.

She was a compassionate and faithful caregiver to Hank when their lives were upended by his cancer diagnosis. After his passing, Deb once again stepped up as caregiver to her beloved parents, to ensure their wellbeing in their final years.

After this season of loss, Deb navigated a brave new direction for her life. She embraced a cross-country move to Utah and pursued her drive for adventure. Deb’s favorite place in the world was the mountains and she shared her passion for exploring, hiking, and skiing in the mountains with all via her photography and on Facebook. She recently completed a hiking tour with friends, in Zion NP, Bryce NP, and the slot canyons of the Grand Staircase/Escalante region. Deb had always traveled widely throughout her life to enjoy skiing and hiking with friends, and she continued to seek nature, adventure and elevation to stir her soul -- even trying sky-diving.

Deb enthusiastically enjoyed her new Salt Lake City community, making new friends and exploring new hobbies. She continued to live a life of faith and service, and became a devoted member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, serving in the Choir and as a Cantor. She joined a quilting group and soon forged an informal tribe of skiing and hiking buddies, for weekly outings to the mountains. She loved cooking, and delighted in sharing favorite Korean dishes with guests. Her warm hospitality welcomed friends, new and old, as well as family from across the country, to visit her new Utah home. 

All who knew Deb will miss her vibrant laughter, her joie de vivre, radiant smile and huge heart for others. As Deb’s friend Mary recently reflected, “Each friend represents a world in us” (Anais Nin). For Deb’s many soulmates, that world of Deb’s shared friendship and family bonds sustained and deeply touched our lives.

A memorial service to celebrate Deb’s life will be held virtually on Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 9 AM MST. (Watch Service above link). The Very Rev. Tyler B. Doherty of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Salt Lake City, will officiate.  

In keeping with Deb’s servant heart and in lieu of flowers, please direct any memorial contributions to www.FeedingAmerica.org. Family and friends are encouraged to share a favorite memory or photo of Deb on this website. Also feel free to reach out to Deb's sister Mary at marychoismith@runbox.com.