William T. Bertram, 40, police officer in Anne Arundel Co.

June 15, 1996|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Services for William T. Bertram, an Anne Arundel County police officer, will be held at 10: 30 a.m. today at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, 100 A St. S.W. in Glen Burnie, where he was a communicant.

Mr. Bertram, 40, who was killed Monday in a traffic accident in Pasadena, had been a patrol officer on the midnight shift at the Northern District since 1988. He joined the county Police Department in 1982 and had received many citations and awards, including the Purple Heart in 1988 after he was shot while apprehending an armed suspect and the Silver Star in 1995 for evacuating several people from a house fire.

He also was known for his work with youths during his 31 years in Boy Scouting. An Eagle Scout, he was Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 474 at Harundale Presbyterian Church. Mr. Bertram was helping his Scouts prepare for the annual summer jamboree in Philmont, N.M., and working with others to become Eagle Scouts.

He stressed that what they learned in Scouting would help them throughout their lives.

"He always told them that the world was a hard place and that Scouting helped them get an upper hand," said his wife of four years, the former Brenda L. Canceran. "The kids were crazy about him so much so that they were quitting other troops to join his.

"An account is established for each scout attending the [Philmont] jamboree and each month a payment is due. Some of the boys come from broken homes or disadvantaged families and it was common for Bill to make their payments. He thought it was important for them to go and he wanted to make sure that they got there."

Brian Parks of Glen Burnie, an assistant Scoutmaster, said, "Bill was a hands-on leader and was the heart of everything we did. He will be buried in his Scoutmaster's uniform and our troop flag will be buried with him."

Michael Parks, a troop member who recently completed the requirements for Eagle Scout under Mr. Bertram's guidance, said, "Leadership, confidence, responsibility and self-reliance, that's what he gave me. To all of us, he was like a second dad."

Mr. Bertram was born and raised in Glen Burnie and graduated from Glen Burnie High School in 1974. He earned an associate's degree from Anne Arundel Community College in 1979 and worked several jobs before joining the county Police Department.

"He always had a lot of energy and was dedicated to helping people so I guess he figured police work was the best way to use it," said Lt. James Fahrman, a former supervisor. "There are a lot of somber faces around here."

He said Mr. Bertram was a "high adrenalin guy who the other officers knew they could depend on. I don't know anyone who didn't want Bill behind them."

Mr. Bertram enjoyed a variety of physical activities, including water skiing, SCUBA diving, bicycling, rappelling and spelunking.

"On our second date, he broke my ankle while we were rappelling and on the next date, he turned me over in a canoe but I still married him," Mrs. Bertram said. "Another big part of his life was his dog, Boomer, a former police dog who came to live with us after he was retired. He was always by his side and was even in our wedding."

Other survivors include his parents, Robert H. and Jean F. Bertram of Glen Burnie; a brother, Robert Bertram of Mount Shasta, Calif.; and a sister, Mareita Bertram of Bethany Beach, Del.

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