In Memoriam: Donald R. Bidwell
By Dave Olson
Donald R. Bidwell died peacefully at home on August 16, 2010. He was 83 years old. Don, formerly of Plymouth, MI, lived in Ft. Myers, FL, and Pittsburgh, PA during his late retirement years with his life partner, Barb McCormick.
Don was born in Novi, MI on May 28, 1927, one of 11 children. He left high school at the age of 17 to serve in the United States Navy during WWII. When he returned from the war, he completed his high school GED to earn his diploma.
In March 1952 Don earned his Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship in the trade of Bricklayer. He worked as a bricklayer for another firm for a short time before forming his own mason contracting company in the late fifties, Bidwell Masonry, based in Plymouth, MI. Don spent most of his career constructing sites in the Ann Arbor area with major projects at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University along with many other commercial construction venues. In the late 1970’s, Mr. Bidwell became founder and owner of Mardon Construction, a General Contracting firm which he operated until his retirement in the late 1980’s.
He was a proud member of the Masonry Institute of Michigan, and a long-time member of the Mason Contractors Association of America and Canada, where he also served as President.
Mr. Bidwell was one of the original founders of the International Masonry Institute, and served as the first Chairman of this distinguished council to the industry. He helped develop an effective working relationship between the MIM and IMI. Don was inducted into the Michigan Institute of Masonry as an honorary member in April of 2002, introduced by his beloved friend and competitor, Jim Snyder.
He was a proud, dedicated industry leader and loving father and friend who will be missed by all who knew him.
Mr. Bidwell is survived by Barb McCormick; his children, Jennifer (Tom) Bidwell, Melinda (Dave) Olson, and Donald W. Bidwell; grandchildren Jessica (Sam) Zimbabwe, Donald R. Bidwell and his great granddaughter, Celia Jean Zimbabwe.
About the Author
David Olson is the Manager of National Business Development for the Great Lakes Region at The Euclid Chemical Company.