Bernard Lawrence Bidne

Bernard Lawrence Bidne

November 27, 1923 - December 9, 2017

Northwood – Bernard Lawrence Bidne, 94, Northwood, died Saturday, December 9, 2017, at the Lutheran Retirement Home in Northwood.

A funeral service for Bernard will be held at 10:30 A.M. Friday, December 15, 2017, at the First Lutheran Church, 309 North 9th Street, Northwood, with Reverend Judy Converse officiating. Burial will be in the Elk Creek Church Cemetery, 4108 Killdeer Avenue, Kensett, with military honors conducted by members of the Army military burial detail, and the Jerry Parmley Northstar Chapter 790 Viet Nam Veterans of America. Visitation will be held from 4:00 P.M. until 6:00 P.M. on Thursday, at the Conner Colonial Chapel, 1008 First Ave. South, Northwood. Visitation will also be held one hour prior to the service on Friday at the church.

The family would like to suggest that those wishing to give a memorial in his memory may wish to consider that they be directed to the First Lutheran Church, Lutheran Retirement Home, and to the Veterans Memorial Wall in care of the Worth County Veterans Affairs office all in Northwood.

Bernard Lawrence Bidne and Bertrum Tilford Bidne, twin sons, were born on Thanksgiving Day on November 27, 1923, to Iver and Bertha (Jorde) Bidne. They were baptized and reaffirmed their faith of their baptism through confirmation at the First Lutheran Church in Northwood, by Reverend Benson. Bernard and Bertrum received their education in Northwood public schools through the eleventh grade and graduated from Iowa State Teachers College High School in Cedar Falls, in 1941. Bernard and Bertrum both graduated from Iowa State Teachers College with a BA degree in Business Administration, Economics, and Sociology on June 6, 1950.

Bernard and Bertrum were both called to active military duty and served their basic training at Ft. Lewis, Washington in the spring of 1946. They both transferred to Ft. Sam Houston, Texas where they attended Brooks Army Medical School and graduated in 1946, as surgical Tech's and trained combat medics for the United States Army. On December 6, 1946, they were both discharged from the Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Following their discharge they returned home to Northwood, where they took over the operation of the family farm due to their fathers' ill health.

The North Koreans invaded South Korea on October 7, 1950, and Bernard and Bertrum were recalled to active duty. Both had been members of the Army Reserve and when the war broke out many Army Reserve Units were called to active duty. Bernard and Bertrum were sent to General Douglas McArthur's Signal Command, GHQ, located in Tokyo, Japan. Bernard was assigned to the 71st Signal Unit, Co B, 2nd Battalion. Bertrum was assigned to Communications Center Co B. Bertrum worked in the communications center on the swing (night) shift. At 10 P.M. each night the casualty reports were received from the Korean War Units. The 71st Signal Battalion Communications Center had Air Ground Units (SGL) Teams that consisted on one officer and 10 enlisted personnel in a Radio Shack that was located on a 6 wheeled truck pulling a large generator. In the shack was located several teletype machines, code machines and a radio. One evening in April 1951, Bertrum was on duty and the teletype started sending a message, and Bertrum and the team took the message which was in clear text, “To the eyes of General Douglas McArthur Only” (not in code). Bertrum and others promptly sent the message to McArthur's GHQ on the floor above the communications center. The message was from President Truman, relieving General McArthur from his command. On July 5, 1951, Bernard and Bertrum received their 2nd Lt. Commission from General Douglas McArthur Command. On October 8, 1951, both of the Bidne brothers were transferred to active officer reserve and served six years training recruits during summer camp at Ft. McCoy, Wisconsin. In January 1963, Bernard and Bertrum were discharged from the Army and transferred to the inactive officer's reserve.

Bernard and Bertrum returned to the family farm in Northwood in 1972 where Bertrum was later employed at Winnebago Industries located in Forest City. Bertrum was employed as the night supervisor in the fiberglass department. In 1972, Bernard was hired by Winnebago and was employed in the personnel department, as employee relations coordinator. His job duties included employment relations, job training programs, unemployment insurance claims and appeals. This included knowing employment security laws (federal, state and company), and civil rights laws. It was during these years that “employee relations” was of minor interest to most employers.

As a result of this low interest in personnel management state employment committees were organized to help companies become more aware and enlightened about new federal and state laws impacting company personnel regulations. The Iowa Association of Business and Industry took the lead in the employment relations area. It became a major employment issue to work toward getting management and labor to work together. It was at this time, that Winnebago Industries President, John K. Hanson became a leader in this personnel management area. With the help of local Job Service office manager Larry Paul, Bernard was able to become more involved in the state employment laws and employment laws and employee relations.

It was in the 1970's that Bernard and several North Iowa manufacturing business leaders formed the North Iowa Manufactures Association located in Mason City. This group of manufactures eventually grew to over fifty business leaders from across North Iowa. The purpose of the group was to promote and help management understand the employment security laws both federal and state, and local. Bernard was elected to the NIAD Board of directors and was its president for over 10 years.

In 1983, Governor Terry Branstad appointed Bernard to the state job training coordinating council (SJTCC). The council was responsible for all the new federal job training program under the title JTPA. This council reported directly to the governor but administered training programs all across the State of Iowa. Bernard served on the SJTCC for 16 years.

In 1984, Governor Branstad appointed Bernard to the commission of the persons with disabilities. Bernard became chair of the rules committee which recommended legislative changes for proper accommodation measures for the handicapped. Bernard remained on the commission for 12 years. In the 1980's, Governor Branstad appointed to the “Promise Jobs Project” which was Iowa's new welfare to work program. This program expanded major welfare reforms in the State of Iowa.

In 1987 thru 1988, Bernard was asked to help form “Job Service Employers Committees”. Fifteen JSEC committees were formed statewide to assist employers input into the operations of local job service offices across the state. Then in 1984, Governor Terry Branstad appointed Bernard to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. Bernard was on the civil rights commission for over 8 years and was chair of the commission for 4 years.

In 1989, John K. Hanson, founder of Winnebago Industries, gave Bernard a retirement party of 150 invited guest including State of Iowa personnel. During the retirement party John K. Hanson announced that Bernard was the recipient of the 1989 William L. Hartwell National Award. Winnebago Industries flew Bernard and his brother Bertrum to Providence, Rhode Island to receive this distinguished award.

Those left to cherish his memory include several nieces, nephews, cousins, and many other friends he met throughout his life.

Bernard was preceded in death by his parents, Iver and Bertha (Jorde) Bidne; his siblings, Eleanor, Arnold, Iver Jr, Howard, and his twin brother, Bertrum, who died on August 11, 2017.

Conner Colonial Chapel: (641) 324-1543, ColonialChapels.com

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