|David S Biddle|
|Death: ||Nov. 10, 2010|
David S. Biddle PENNINGTON - David S. Biddle, 85, of Pennington, a noted local artist and former Trenton Central High School history teacher, died Nov. 10, 2010, of natural causes, following a brief illness.
A Pennington-area resident since 1970, Biddle taught history and English at Trenton Central High for nine years until his retirement in 1979. Biddle's entertaining teaching style made him popular with students. Following an American history lecture on the westward expansion and the black cowboy, he received a standing ovation from a class of mostly African-American students, a high point of his teaching career.
Biddle was also an avid family historian. He collected historical essays and wrote about the descendants of William Biddle, a Quaker shoe merchant who immigrated to New Jersey from London in 1681 to escape religious persecution. William Biddle was progenitor of the distinguished "Philadelphia Biddles," whose lineage included Col. Clement Biddle, a Revolutionary War officer who fought under General George Washington, and Nicholas Biddle, president of the Second Bank of the United States.
Son of Margot Scull Biddle and Alexander Biddle, David Biddle grew up in Bryn Mawr, PA, where he developed a love of drawing and art at the age of eight that came into full flower in middle age.
He graduated from Groton School in Massachusetts in 1944, and then served for two years in the Army Air Corps, where his good voice and inconsiderable flying skills landed him a job entertaining the World WarII troops. In 1949, he graduated from Harvard University in Boston, where he was a founding member of the "Harvard Krokodiloes," a choral group that now tours internationally.
Bowing to his parent's wishes, Biddle became a banker, but found he was ill-suited to the job. His supervisor did not appreciate his humorously written bank-loan reports. After eight years, Biddle left the banking business to follow his true calling as a teacher of history and English, a career he enjoyed for 25 years.
Upon retiring from Trenton Central High in 1979, Biddle devoted himself full-time to artistic endeavors, studying fine arts at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Mercer County Community College, and developing his talents in sculpture, oil paintings, pen-and-ink and a variety of styles and mediums.
His humorous and whimsical large-canvas oils, depicting the foibles and joys of human activity, delighted those who attended his many art exhibits in the Trenton/Pennington area. One such painting, "Heaven Explained," shows humans dressed as angels cavorting in a great blue sky with talkative black-and-yellow birds. At its 2002 unveiling at the Queenstown Gallery in Pennington, Biddle told a reporter: "My art makes people feel good. That's my purpose in life."
Biddle's paintings and sketches, among them his popular Cape May landscapes and humorous beach scenes, can be found in homes and businesses throughout the area, including the Mercer County Library. For 17 years, the Pennington Post published Biddle's humorous cartoon sketches of birds engaged in human-like activities, earning him the sobriquet "Bird Man." A compilation of those sketches, "The Best of Biddle's Bird Cage," was published in 2006.
Biddle is survived by his second wife, Frances Weems Biddle, and five children, David P. Biddle of Natural Bridge Station, VA, Christopher Biddle of Moorestown, NJ, Margot S. Milcetich of Ravenna, OH; and stepchildren, Rebecca Gardner of Somerville, NJ, and Drew Gardner of New York, NY. He is also survived by his first wife, Martha Pickman Baltzell; six grandchildren, Dwight and Amy Biddle, Daisy and Gordon Biddle, and Paul and Matt Milcetich; and one great-grandchild, Leo Francis Milcetich.
A private funeral service is being held. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Nature Conservancy. Visit www.nature.org to make an online donation. Arrangements are by the Wilson-Apple Funeral Home, 2560 Pennington Road, Pennington. To send a condolence visit www.wilsonapple.com.
Published in The Times, Trenton, on November 14,
Created by: DJH
Record added: Nov 14, 2010
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