Obituary: Sal John Bart

Mr. Bart, 87, of Winter Garden, died Friday, March 23, 2018.
Mar. 27, 2018

Sal John Bart, age 87 years, of Winter Garden, Florida, died peacefully at Cornerstone Hospice in Orlando, Florida, on Friday, March 23, 2018, after injuries sustained as a pedestrian in a car accident.

Sal was born Salvatore DeBartolo on March 7, 1931, in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Joseph and Stella (Ebetino) DeBartolo. Sal grew up in Rye, New York, and graduated from Rye High School in 1948.

While working at Playland Amusement Park in Rye, Sal met Mary Louise Fitzhugh, and they married on Aug. 16, 1953. They had one child, Sharon Ann. They subsequently divorced. Sal married second wife Linda (Branch) Letzkus, and they also divorced.

Sal enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the Korean War. After his service, he completed RCA Electronics School in New York City and became a television repairman. He and a friend soon opened their own business, Circle TV, in Harrison, New York.

About 1960, Sal, Mary Lou and Sharon moved to southern California, where they lived for eight years. Sal supported his family through his own business, La Mirada TV.

While in the TV-repair business, Sal fulfilled his childhood passion for aviation. He took private flying lessons and eventually became a career helicopter pilot and F.A.A. pilot examiner. During the Vietnam War, Sal was a civilian instructor helicopter pilot at Fort Wolters, Texas, the U.S. Army Primary Helicopter Training Center.

Sal and his family then relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada, where Sal was hired by Howard Hughes in 1968 as chief of Hughes’ Helicopter Operations. Sal was awarded Pilot of the Year in 1968 by Professional Pilot magazine. He then went to work in 1971 as chief helicopter pilot for the U.S. EPA, and he also flew helicopters for the U.S. Forest Service. He retired from the federal government after 20 years of service in 1991. 

Sal embarked on another career as a driver license examiner for the State of Florida, working at offices in Ocoee and Clermont. He retired from there in 2013 after another 20 years.

After he retired from flying, Sal became an avid enthusiast of assembling and flying radio-controlled aircraft. He was a long-time member of the Remote Control Association of Central Florida and served as president for five years.

Sal loved to tell stories. His greatest pleasure came from being able to make people laugh. He often touched the lives of strangers in stores he patronized by stopping them in the aisles and telling them a joke he had made up himself. To the end, he was quick witted, and even in his late 80s, he outwitted a social worker who visited him to test his mental acuity by turning the tables and stumping her with questions. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved him.

Sal leaves behind his daughter and only child, Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, and Sharon’s partner, James W. Warren, of Salt Lake City, Utah; only granddaughter, Laurie (Carmack) Almeida, and her husband, Dash Almeida, of McMinville, Oregon; former son-in-law, Stephen H. Carmack of Carson City, Nevada; his older brother, Albert Bart of Tullahoma, Tennessee, and his older sister, Lucille Hutcherson of Laguna Hills, California; two great-granddaughters, Verity and Aven Almeida; and many friends.

His body has been cremated, and a Celebration of Life Service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 31, 2018, at HighPoint Interfaith Church, 476 Ocoee Commerce Parkway, Ocoee, Fla. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors),