Michal Jerzy Bartecki passed away at home on 7 January 2019 after nine months battle with cancer. His memorial service was held on the 24th January 2019 at the City Beach foreshore, WA, attended by his family, and many friends and colleagues who came to pay their respects to ‘Mick’ or ‘Mr Mick’.
Mick was born in Gdansk, Poland, on 15 January 1956, to parents Tadeusz and Martyna Bartecki, and completed his secondary school education in Gdansk.
After graduating from secondary school, he completed a two-year vocational training course in Marine Radio Communications at the Deep-Sea Fishing School Complex at Kolobrzeg, Poland. He attained the qualifications required to work as an electronics technician in the field of Marine Radio Communications. With these qualifications Michal was employed on a fishing vessel as a Radio Operator, the vessel being under contract to fish in New Zealand waters for two years.
During this period there was considerable political unrest in Poland and Mick decided not to return. After going through the legal channels he was granted permanent residence in NZ, and later NZ citizenship. Michal made it his priority to learn English and to seek employment – he later became something of a polyglot (or, almost, as he modestly said when it was suggested to him).
He met his future wife, Ollie, at the Polish Club in Auckland, NZ, and they were married in a traditional Polish ceremony in 1983.
It was at the beginning of the early 1980s that Mick was introduced to NDT and after several successful short courses at the School of Engineering at Ak Technical Institute, NZ, he was employed by Metlab Mapel as an NDT technician, from 1984 to 1986, initially carrying out surface methods and radiography.
In 1986 the couple moved to Perth, Australia, where, luckily for Pilbara NDT (now Applus), Mick walked through its doors and became a top radiographer at a time when the company crucially needed such skills for a large pipe spooling project. Such was his efficiency that he often doubled his pay with production bonuses (helped occasionally by Ollie!).
Michal’s work took him away from home a lot, and in effect he later became the company’s ‘Frontier Supervisor/Manager’, working and living in various places in the Pilbara, Darwin, Chile, Peru and Spain. On being sent to Chile he learnt Spanish, and when later asked about going to Brazil he said ‘no worries’, he’d get a book of Portuguese verbs, nothing fazed him – the ultimate cool dude.
When based in locations that may have had his teams away from their family and regular circle of friends, such was Mick’s nature that he saw himself as a father figure and mentor to those working for and around him, and without question would be there providing support and guidance, both inside and outside of work – a sharing and always compassionate man.
Mick was a wise man, a bluesman, he was measured, rarely uttered a cross word, persuasive (in various languages), humorous and known for giving some colleagues amusing nicknames (Destructo comes to mind!).
Michal was also a stayer and remained with the one NDT company for the rest of his working life. Mick is survived by his devoted wife, Ollie, and daughters Ewa and Jana, all of whose beautiful eulogies profoundly reflect their love for him. He also leaves behind, in Poland, his brother, Jacek (Jack), wife, Jola, and their children.