|Birth: ||Jun. 8, 1920|
|Death: ||Aug. 4, 2010|
OLLIE AND MARION BIDWELL
A Celebration of the Lives of Ollie and Marion Bidwell will be held at Pardini's, 2257 W. Shaw Ave. at Van Ness on Wednesday, November 3, 2010 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Published in the Fresno Bee from October 31 to November 1, 2010
Oliver H. Bidwell passed away peacefully in Modesto last week.
He was 90 years old.
Whether you knew Ollie as a ballplayer, a soldier, a teacher and coach, a mentor, a referee, a fisherman, a golfing buddy, a school administrator, a major league baseball scout, or as part of his family, you likely agreed with a life long friend, who told him on the occasion of his 90th birthday this summer, "You're the most well liked man I know."
Born to Hastings and Merle Bidwell and raised in Fresno, Ollie attended Fresno State College for 3 years before he interrupted his education in January 1942 to enlist in the Army Air Corps and serve in World War II. As a flight engineer on a C-47 (DC-3) troop carrier, he earned the Air Medal for his meritorious achievements during the airborne invasion of southern France on August 15, 1944. In his 20 months of overseas service he flew 37 combat missions.
In addition to the Air Medal he held the good conduct medal and the Mediterranean theater of operations ribbon with three battle stars.
His service extended to North Africa and Italy until his discharge in 1946, ranked as a Staff Sergeant. 1947 was a big year for Ollie as he returned to Fresno State College, graduated, and got married to his wife of 62 years, Marion Porteous.
During his years at Fresno State, Ollie lettered four years in varsity baseball where he was an outstanding outfielder and batted .512!
Although he was offered a contract to play professional baseball, he opted to take a teaching and coaching job and settle down with his new wife and son, John. In 1949, Ollie and Marion had their second child, Kimberlee.
Ollie's coaching career included seven years at Roosevelt HS, another six at Fresno High and six more at McLane High.
His coaching record includes eight league titles, two Delano Tourney championships, one league co-championship and 20 years of American Legion baseball taking several teams to the state tournament.
Over 2200 young men have the right to call him "Coach" including professional baseball players and managers and local winning coaches on the high school and college levels in Fresno and the central valley.
Coach Bidwell's guiding hand inspired young players to compete to their finest capabilities.
In 1958 the Fresno High Warriors baseball team finished their season 25-0 over prep teams and 30-1 overall.
This achievement held up for over thirty years as the all time best high school record in California.
Some of his players in the major leagues reflected that as such a student of the game, Bidwell knew more about baseball than some of their big league coaches.
Ollie received the John M. Euless Award in 1952 for his contribution to Fresno baseball; was President of the San Joaquin Valley Officials Assn. 1968-1969; was named Citizen of the Year by the American Legion Post #4; and was honored by the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation for his contribution to the Special Olympics.
Ollie serve as the Athletic Director for the Fresno Unified School District for 16 years. He also spent 35 years officiating football, baseball and basketball at high school and college levels, including the Pac 8 Conference.
Bidwell spent 15 years as a professional baseball scout for the Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Indians. He was inducted into the Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989. He scored in the low 80's on the golf course, he was a dead eye shot in the duck blind, he had a great sense of humor and told a story better than most people and he (almost) always came home from fishing with his limit. His children, grandchildren and extended family will miss their hero, a man's man who worked his way through college playing piano in a band.
Oliver Bidwell is survived by his children, Dr. John Porteous and his wife Melinda of Modesto, Ca. and Kimberlee Jeanes and her husband Jeffrey of Saint Helena, Ca.; his grandchildren, Beth Paulino and her husband Neil of Port Murray, NJ, Hilary Hastings Nye and her husband Roy of Denton, NJ, John Oliver Porteous of Roseville, Ca. and Samantha Porteous of Modesto, Ca.; four greatgrandchildren, Madison Nye, Jackson Hastings Nye, Noah Paulino and Griffen Oliver Paulino; two sisters, Bethel Dewey of Green Valley, Az. and Dorothy Burnham of Big Creek, Ca.; and five loving nieces and nephews.
Oliver was laid to rest at Acacia Memorial Park in Modesto.
Plans for a memorial service later this year are pending.
Published in the Fresno Bee on August 15, 2010
Marion Amelia Miller Bidwell (1920 - 2009)
Acacia Memorial Park
Plot: Garden Mausoleum
Created by: D.A.R.
Record added: Nov 01, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 60953285