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Talk of the Times
By: Jan Rynearson for the Tri County Times
December 21, 2005

Harry Bidelman is a member of the National and Michigan Submarine World War II Group Vets and Michigan state historian for the Michigan Vets. He is a member of the Fenton Historical Society, assistant curator of A.J. Phillips Fenton Museum, a member of Fenton's Oakwood Cemetery Friends of the Cemetery and a former member and chairman of the city of Fenton Cemetery Board.

Place of Birth and age: I was born in Fenton and am 76 years old.

Resident of : Fenton. I have been a resident taxpayer in town for 57 years.

Occupation: I am a former Tool/die maker and I am still a semi-active independent real estate agent. I have been a real estate broker since 1966. I served in the U.S. Navy Submarines for two years.

Marital Status: I am a widower. My wife, Marion, died 11 years ago. We were married on June 15, 1946.

Children: Daughter, Sharon Bidelman of Pennsylvania and son, Harry L. Bidelman of Yipsilanti. I have five grandkids and 12 great grandkids.

Favorite Pastime: Talking to friends, researching museum archives and sharing talks with old friends and new friends.

Favorite Food(s): Whatever my doctor says wont hurt me. Arh-arh!

Prized Possession: My mind and my health and family things I hope to leave for the next generation to cherish.

What person from the past made the most significant impact on your life? Many local people and many people of the world who have sets of values to impart to all of us.

If you could go back in time, where would we find you? Here in Fenton as it was being explored say, 1834.

What is your favorite childhood memory? Growing up poor in the Great Depression years. I enjoyed just being a kid, not realizing we did not need everything while we were young. (Poor mom and dad.)

People always think I'm: funny or foolish. Thanks, both keep you happy.

I wish I could stop: the bad actions of evil people against other people.

If you could trade places with someone for 24 hours, who would it be? My sixth great-grandpa, Elias Bytleman (as it was originally spelled), who came over to Philadelphia on the boat The Thistle from Rotterdam on Aug. 29, 1730. It is said William Penn chartered this boat. Elias was born in 1706 in Palatine, germany, son of Valentine Bytleman. The family fled from Palatine to Rotterdam.

Sometime in my life I'd like to: have done everything, loose ends, done. And travel to all states to visit and talk with my 12 great-grandkids.

The best time of my life has been: seeing my children born, growing and then having their own kids.

If I could switch to another occupation, I would: I've been content with my path of endeavors, some were planned, some I stumbled in and out of.

If I've learned one thing in life, it's: do your best, like life, leave lots of people who you've tried to help along the way.

The words that best describe me are: thankful to be alive, glad to be given integrity, optimism - may I remind you that yesterday was history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift. That's why it is called the present. merry Christmas wishes to you all.

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