Charles W. Shrodes, auctioneer

October 24, 1994|By Karen Zeiler | Karen Zeiler,Contributing Writer

Charles W. Shrodes, who conducted public auctions in Harford County and York County, Pa., for more than four decades, died of cancer Thursday at his home in Norrisville. He was 77.

"He was an old-time country auctioneer [who sold] everything from livestock to antiques to farm machinery," said his son, David W. Shrodes of Norrisville.

Auctioneering was an occupation that came naturally to Mr. Shrodes and manifested itself early. In a 1970 interview with The Evening Sun, he said: "I guess you could say . . . that I really started auctioneering when I was 10 years old. I used to auction off the cupcakes left after Sunday school festivals."

His son said, "He put all of his energy into selling, whether it was a quarter item or whether it was a thousand-dollar item."

One of the more unusual auctions he conducted was at a funeral home in White Hall in Baltimore County, said his son, who is also an auctioneer. Embalming oils and caskets for babies were among the items for bid.

In 1970, he auctioned items from the recently closed Magnolia general store, which had been in business since 1865. Marble-top tables went for $100, while a brass bed brought $15.

In 1958, Mr. Shrodes, who was known for the trademark Stetson hat he always wore, sold Chippendale chairs and a collection of Canton and rose medallion china at an estate-clearing auction for Dr. Franklin Pierce Snodgrass, a prominent doctor in Darlington.

A few years later, he sold 16 farms in the Fawn Grove, Pa., and Pylesville, Md.-area that had been owned by Jim Smith, a farmer and miller from York County.

Mr. Shrodes, a native of Fawn Grove, graduated from the Fawn Township high school in 1933.

From the 1950s to the late 1980s, he sold fire, life and casualty insurance in addition to holding auctions.

Since the 1950s, he conducted the Harford County Tax Auction sales in Bel Air and would open each session by ringing an old brass bell in front of the courthouse door.

He was a founding member of the Harford County Chamber of Commerce, which he also served briefly as director.

From 1961 to 1966, he was a bailiff for the late Harford County Circuit Judge Harry E. Dyer Jr.

Mr. Shrodes was a past president of the Parkton Rotary Club and the Shrewsbury Lions Club. He had been a member of Elks Lodge No. 1592 for 51 years and was active in Democratic politics.

In April, Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann appointed him to a second five-year term on the three-member Harford County Property Tax Appeals Board.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at the J. J. Hartenstein Mortuary, 19 S. Main St., Stewartstown, Pa. In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Jean McElwain; two daughters, Dorothy S. Hiser of Fallston, and Doris S. Bunner of Red Lion, Pa.; a sister, June Austin of Cherry Hill, N.J.; a brother, Ralph Shrodes of Shrewsbury, Pa.; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial donations to VNA Hospice Inc., 1309 Continental Drive, Suite 2, Abingdon 21009.

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