Memorials

CHARLES R. BIDELSPACHER

In The Court Of Common Pleas Of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania NO: 93-01724

IN RE: Appointment of a Committee to draft Resolution in the death of CHARLES R. BIDELSPACHER, ESQUIRE

RESOLUTIONS OF THE COMMITTEE

TO THE HONORABLE JUDGES OF THE COURT:

The Committee appointed by your Honorable Court to prepare Resolutions concerning the death of Charles R. Bidelspacher, Esquire, reports as follows:

Charles R. Bidelspacher was born January 19, 1911, in Washington, D.C., when his father was in government service. He was the son of Charles F. and Grace Raper Bidelspacher. Mr. Bidelspacher departed this life on September 28, 1993.

Surviving are his daughter, Ann Treneer Bidelspacher Groves of London, England, and Lundie Castle, Edgell, Angus, Scotland, and two (2) sons, Charles R. Bidelspacher, III of Montoursville, Pennsylvania, and Robert Bidelspacher of St. Croix, United States, Virgin Islands. He was preceded in death by his wife of forty-eight (48) years, Margery Treneer Bidelspacher, who died on February 15, 1986. Mr. Treneer, Margery Treneer Bidelspacher’s father, developed the process (that was patented) that allowed Alka-Seltzer to be capsulized and sold with shelf life.

Mr. Bidelspacher was graduated from the Williamsport High School in 1929. In each of his three years at the Williamsport High School, he competed in the National Oratoricaloration on the United States Constitution and placed first in these competitions. While at Bucknell University he was a member of the debating team that competed at universities all over the United States. He graduated from Bucknell University in 1933, with an A.B. degree. He was accepted at both Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He chose to attend the University of Pennsylvania where he qualified for a scholarship and graduated in 1936. He passed the Pennsylvania Bar exam immediately after graduation at a time when the passage rate was under fifty (50%) percent. He was admitted to the Lycoming County Bar on October10, 1936, and maintained an active practice of law from that time until the time of his death.

Mr. Bidelspacher initially practiced law with his father, Charles F. Bidelspacher, Sr., a member of the Lycoming County Bar, who also served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for eight (8) consecutive terms from 1916 to 1932. Mr. Bidelspacher’s father was chairman of both the Judiciary and Forests and Waters committees. While Mr. Bidelspacher’s father was chairman of the Forests and Waters Committee, legislation was passed to have the state take over thousands of miles of county roads as state highways. [This was the legislation that got the farmers out of the mud.]

He was a former City Solicitor of the City of Williamsport from 1938 to 1964. Mr. Bidelspacher was also Solicitor for the Borough of South Williamsport and Loyalsock Township for equally long periods of time.

As City Solicitor, he played vital roles in the inauguration of a whole series of institutions that have underpinned the development of Williamsport as a commercial, trading and industrial center. He had the foresight to advance an airport for the region, at a time when the railroads exercised dominating influence over all transportation. He was instrumental in setting up the Williamsport Lycoming Airport Authority and served as its Solicitor until 1966. As Airport Authority Solicitor, he tried and won significant air route cases before the Civil Aeronautics Board of the Federal Government that enabled Williamsport to be a part of the route and structure of early aviation.

Mr. Bidelspacher also played a significant role in the development of the construction of the dike levee system on the Susquehanna River. He negotiated, as City Solicitor, for the contracts and financial backing of the federal government that enabled Williamsport and surrounding communities to build the dikes that have protected these municipalities from flooding—particularly the 1972 Hurricane Agnes storm.

As City Solicitor, Mr. Bidelspacher negotiated for the purchase of the privately owned water company from a public utilities consortium and was instrumental in the formation of the Williamsport Water Authority and Williamsport Sanitary Authority that put these agencies in municipal ownership.

Mr. Bidelspacher played a vital role in the formation of the Williamsport Parking Authority that has supplied off-street parking for the central business district and which has enabled Williamsport to serve the motoring public at no net outlay in tax dollars, and which today has a net worth in excess of $5 million dollars and over 1,000 parking spaces, all at no cost to the taxpayers and paid through user-fees.

In all of these actual areas of infrastructure of water, sewer, parking and air traffic, Mr. Bidelspacher was on the cutting edge of securing these vital services for the area that have served us so well and which we all now take for granted.

He acted as his own general contractor when he refurbished and constructed the four (4) story Bidelspacher Building office building at 428 Market Street in the mid 50s. This construction was the first major improvement in center city Williamsport in twenty-five plus years. During those twenty-five plus years, there had not been major construction in downtown. It was funded entirely with his own resources without federal, state or city financing or tax concessions of any type or nature.

He served on the Board of Directors of Allegheny Airlines, the predecessor of U.S. Air, that serve not only the Williamsport Lycoming County Airport, but the world.

ML Bidelspacher was first and foremost a litigator and an advocate. He had a varied and extensive trial and appellate court practice involving all sorts of cases in innumerable jurisdictions in both the State and Federal Courts. His adversaries were invariably metropolitan law firms from New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, including the likes of Cavath, Swain & Moore. He had remarkable success in redressing fraud. Two of his most notable cases were the “Wire Rope” and the “Fickle Fanny” cases. In the Wire Rope case, where he served as chief counsel with the assistance of the Honorable Charles F. Greevy, he overturned a sale of assets of the Williamsport Wire Rope Company after that company had filed bankruptcy and recovered (some fifteen (15) years after the sale) $10 million for the shareholders. To put this matter in perspective, in 1952, attorneys were searching titles for $35.00. Directly as a result of this sale, a Federal Judge resigned while his impeachment trial was pending before the Senate of the United States; a Scranton attorney associated with this 1937 sale of Williamsport Wire Rope assets was convicted of a conspiracy to obstruct justice and was incarcerated in the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary.

In the “Fickle Fanny” case, (The Keta Gas and Oil Company vs. Jents) he championed the rights of a small landowner against an entrenched corporation and was able to prevail because he proved that “ancient documents” of the opposition were spurious and of recent origin and manufacture.

Mr. Bideispacher had many other successful cases and was recognized by metropolitan newspapers for his successful prosecution of these cases.

Mr. Bidelspacher was an avid sportsman and environmentalist and had particular strong feelings about the preservation of West Branch River and the Eagles Mere Lake. To that end, he organized the Williamsport Yacht Club and the Eagles Mere Association. He was also a co-founder of the St. Croix Yacht Club, in the United States Virgin Islands.

His daughter, Ann Treneer Bidelspacher Groves, is a graduate of Tufts University. She had a career in the Secretariat of the United Nations and now resides in London and Scotland with her attorney husband, John Groves, Esquire.

Mr. Bidelspacher’s identical twin sons, Charles Bidelspacher, III, and Robert Bidelspacher, are graduates of Denison University. Charles Bidelspacher was associated with his father in his business interests and worked as a paralegal with his father. Robert Bidelspacher has his own real estate brokerage office in St. Croix, Virgin Islands.

Mr. Bidelspacher is also survived by his sister, Katherine Wheeler and three (3) grandchildren.

BE IT RESOLVED that through the death of Charles Bidelspacher, Esquire, the Lycoming County Bar has lost an able and capable member; the community a contributing and valued citizen and his family a loving father, grandfather and brother. He will also be missed by his friends and his acquaintances.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Court and its Bar do hereby extend to his children, grandchildren and sister a deep and heartfelt expression of sympathy by this Resolution.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Resolution be spread at length upon the minutes of the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County and that copies of the same be sent to his children, grandchildren and sister.

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED

CHARLES A. SZYBIST, ESQUIRE, Chairman
DEAN R. FISHER, ESQUIRE
GEORGE E. ORWIG, II, ESQUIRE
DONALD M. LARRABEE, II, ESQUIRE

ORDER OF COURT

AND NOW this 5th day of October, 1993, in consideration of the Resolutions presented by the Committee appointed to draft Resolutions in the death of Charles F. Bidelspacher, Jr., Esquire, the said Resolutions are adopted and it is hereby ORDERED and DECREED that the Resolutions herewith submitted and attached be adopted as an official expression of the Lycoming County Bar Association and this Court, and that the same be spread upon the records of the Court; and that copies of this Resolution be delivered to the three children and sister of Charles F. Bidelspacher, Jr., Esquire; and it is further ORDERED and DIRECTED that said Resolution be entered at large upon the record of the Court, and that it be printed in the Lycoming Reporter.

By The Court,

THOMAS C. RAUP, P.J.
CLINTON W. SMITH, J.
KENNETH D. BROWN, J
WILLIAM S. KIESER, J.
CHARLES F. GREEVY, S.J.