Harry Bartenfelder, led Baltimore Co. Council

September 27, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

Harry J. Bartenfelder, a former Baltimore County Council chairman and two-term member, died Thursday at the Chesapeake Manor Nursing Home in Arnold after a long bout with Parkinson's disease. He was 76.

The Rosedale native and Eastern Baltimore County politician was elected to the council in 1966 in his second run for office, and was named chairman each year from 1968 through 1970. He also was named chairman in 1973 and 1974.

Mr. Bartenfelder lost in a re-election bid in 1974.

In 1975 he retired after a 30-year career as an engineer with the Martin Marietta aeronautical and naval systems firm in Middle River, where he specialized in designing factory layouts and equipment planning.

He moved that year to the Eastern Shore with his wife, the former Lucille Ausmus, an education specialist and former president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County.

While Mr. Bartenfelder was in office, the council adopted the county's first comprehensive rezoning legislation and maps establishing future land uses and growth patterns, forged a cable television franchise agreement, and developed the county's first solid-waste disposal plan.

Mr. Bartenfelder was a "hard taskmaster" who sought the chairmanship of the council, even though it paid no more than other council positions, said Thomas Toporovich, a county administrator to the council from 1969 to 1974.

"In those days, legislators exhibited a great deal more leadership in office than today," said Mr. Toporovich, council secretary from 1974 to 1991. "He had to make decisions, not follow around to see what was popular."

Webster C. Dove, a councilman from 1970 to 1974, described Mr. Bartenfelder as "a strong guy."

"He was best known for his strong personality and beliefs, almost to the point of being adamant," said Mr. Dove. "Once he formed a position, it was hard to shake him off of it."

Mr. Bartenfelder came from an area of Baltimore County known for its "strong power bases" -- Essex and Dundalk, said Frank Barrett, a councilman from 1966 to 1974 who wrested the chairmanship away from Mr. Bartenfelder in 1971.

"He was fairly determined to do what he thought was right for his district," Mr. Barrett said.

During Mr. Bartenfelder's last year on the council, County Executive Dale Anderson was forced to resign after he was convicted of evading federal income taxes.

Mr. Bartenfelder, a Kenwood High School graduate, enjoyed hunting, boating, fishing and crabbing.

He lived in Middle River for most of his life, and kept a boat at Tilghman Island. He moved the boat closer to his Shore home in Queen Anne's County after retiring.

He lived at the nursing home for the past four years.

Services were planned for 11 a.m. today at the Bruzdzinski Funeral Home, 1407 Eastern Ave. in Essex.

Surviving, in addition to his wife of 18 years, are two daughters, Joan Meusel of Lutherville and Denise Whitman of Baltimore; a son, Bruce Bartenfelder of Queenstown; three brothers, William Bartenfelder of Essex and George and John Bartenfelder of Middle River; a sister, Ada Myers of Rosedale; and six grandchildren.

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