Serving the community since 1970

Obituary: Erwin Joe Bartel

Oct. 10, 1937 – Feb. 19, 2022

Erwin Joe Bartel was born on the family farm at Fairview, Okla., on Oct. 10, 1937, to Pete and Bienna (Kliewer) Bartel. He departed this life on Feb. 19, 2022, in Fairview. He was number nine of 11 children.

Erwin accepted the Lord as his savior at a young age. He attended Progressive School, Fairview High School, Corn Bible Academy, Okla., and Tabor College, Kan., and finished his higher education in California, earning a business degree. While at Tabor, he met Winnie Enns. They married Aug. 2, 1958, in Dinuba.

Erwin and Winnie settled in Fresno, where Erwin started his career as controller at O'Neil Inc., working his way up to executive vice president of the company. During this time, Erwin and Winnie had two girls, Cindy and Lori, who were their pride and joy.

Erwin and Winnie had a big heart for the church. When the opportunity came to be a part of starting a new church in North Fresno, they jumped at the chance and were founding members of the North Fresno Mennonite Brethren Church, spending 20 years growing the church and a part of every area of its ministry.

In 1980, a new opportunity came for Erwin to join his brother Carl, at Mabar, in Fairview. They immediately became involved in the Fairview Mennonite Brethren Church and the Fairview Community and enjoyed life there for eight years. In 1988, God called them back to California, where they settled in Shafter.

During his 30 years in Shafter, Erwin worked for two large family owned farming companies, Maple Leaf (Peters Family) and Tudor Vineyards (John Buksa), where he was able to put his love of agriculture and his business experience to good use. Erwin and Winnie were actively involved in the Shafter Mennonite Brethren Church, where Erwin served as moderator, on the Board of Trustees, as a Sunday School teacher, small group leader, custodian and choir member.

In 2018, Erwin and Winnie retired, and moved back to Fairview, again getting involved in the life of the church. Erwin's first love was his family. While the girls were young, they enjoyed many activities -- camping trips to the mountains and ocean, traveling across the country, Saturday morning breakfasts out, taking his girls shopping and spending time with extended family and friends. All this continued as the family grew to include grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Erwin's life was well lived. He was generous, cared for people, and he truly loved the Lord.

Erwin is survived by his wife, Winnie; daughter Cindy and her husband, Darrel Patzkowsky of Fresno; daughter Lori and husband Paul Martens of Fairview; four grand children, Nick Patzkowsky and wife Nicole of Kerman, Travis Patzkowsky and wife Lisa of Fresno; Jake Martens and wife Stephanie of Fairview; and Eileen and husband Stephen Britz of Denton, Texas; 10 great-grandchildren, three brothers and one sister.

Services were held Feb. 26 at Fairview Mennonite Brethren Church, with Pastor Travis Schmidt officiating.

Memorials can be made for Men's Ministries at the Fairview M.B. Church. Condolence messages may be made at


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