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Harry T. Bidelman
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Obituary for Harry T. Bidelman

Harry was born, May 3, 1929 in Fenton at 303 Wass Street, the son of Leonard and Rachel L. (Stroud ) Bidelman.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Marion L. (Ferguson) Bidelman, (66 years old on April 16, 1994 in Fenton) his parents, sister and brothers, Helen, Jack, Leonard, Richard, and granddaughter, Kelly.

He is survived by his daughter, Sharon Marie of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, his son, Harry Lee (Kathy) of Ypsilanti, Michigan, 4 grandchildren, Kristi, Jeff, Eric and Gavin and 12 great-grandchildren.

Harry lived in Fenton his entire life. He attended Fenton schools. In 1946 at the age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy stationed on the USS Brill submarine as a fireman. During this time as a mariner, he met his wife, Marion L. Ferguson of Holly, Michigan and they married on June 15, 1946 after a 2-year courtship. They lived at 300 S. Lemen Street on the millpond raising their 2 children, and where, as a widower, Harry continued to reside. Harry worked as a tool and die maker, an independent realtor, and was a real estate broker in Fenton since 1966. He continued as a broker for over 40 years.

Harry was an active board member of the Fenton Historical Society serving as assistant curator for many years at the A.J. Phillips Fenton Museum, a regular contributor to the Fenton Historical Society’s newsletter, and a member of the Fenton’s Oakwood Cemetery Friends of the Cemetery. Bidelman was also a former member and chairman of the City of Fenton Cemetery Board. For over 15 years he was also an active member of the WWII U.S. Submarine Veterans, Inc. and Escolar Base in Michigan (both national and state divisions), and Michigan state historian for the Michigan Vets. He participated in many events and get-togethers with other veterans.

He loved talking to neighbors and friends, researching historical events, genealogy, documenting and preservation. Dating keepsakes and pictures was utmost importance to Harry. Assisting visitors in their searching the museum archives and sharing talks with old friends and new friends was a priority. Harry truly was a Fentonian native caring for and loved his community and all its history.

Harry was asked if he could go back in time, where would we find him. His answer, in Fenton, when it was being explored and first established in 1834 as Dibbleville. Another time Harry was asked if he could trade places with someone for 24 hours, who it would be. His great-grandfather, Elias Bytleman (as it was originally spelled), immigrated to Philadelphia on the ship, The Thistle from Rotterdam on August 29, 1730.

Mail was always utmost important to Harry. Correspondence was even more important. How he enjoyed receiving a letter and sitting down to read it. He took the time to write to everyone. If a person fills a place in your life of importance and concern, send them a letter, Harry would advise. It’s more meaningful, it’s personal, and you’ve taken the time and shows this person is important to you and you want them to know it. It’s a treasure in a sealed packet. Harry would include special little extras in his letters too, stickers, handwritten smiley faces or messages pertinent to that individual. And you could always count on receiving a few pictures that he thoughtfully included to be meaningful to the recipient, and of course, don’t forget the date. Make sure you add the date, he reminded. The annual Christmas card was always important to Harry. Deciding on the picture of himself to put on his holiday card and the message to include (professionally printed and always a personal handwritten note), was a big decision. But no matter how long it took him, he always would say that it was his “little Christmas gift to everyone.”

Harry was a warm, kind soul, full of life and who had a great sense of humor. He was always quick on his feet, witty, even goofy and a jokester at times, and had a remarkable ability to find humor in even the most mundane of things. He had a very likable personality and got along with just about everyone. Very humble. Harry was always more interested in what you were up to than ever talking about himself. Whether it was in his service to the community (e.g., museum, submarine group) or his family, he always put others first, regardless of whatever other problems were going on in his own life. He always made you feel welcome in his presence and in his home.

His family was always important to him and concerned with their welfare. The best times of his life, he said, were seeing his children born, growing, and then having their own kids. He always cared deeply about everyone in the “Bidelman” family, and he showed it. Family was important to him, and it showed.

Harry would say the simplest occasions might just be the most memorable and would remind everyone that “yesterday was history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift. That’s why it is called, the present.”

Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at Sharp Funeral Homes, Fenton Chapel followed by interment at Oakwood Cemetery. The family will receive visitors from 10:00 AM until time of service.

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Previous Events





10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Sharp Funeral Homes - Fenton Chapel

1000 Silver Lake Road
Fenton, MI 48430

Memorial service




11:00 AM
Sharp Funeral Homes - Fenton Chapel

1000 Silver Lake Road
Fenton, MI 48430

Cemetery Details


Oakwood Cemetery

Davis St.
Fenton, MI 48430


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