Archive for Saturday, February 3, 2007

City figure remembered for activities

February 3, 2007

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Businessman, politician, car buff and sportsman. Mix those characteristic ingredients and you have Ben Barteldes, his friends and family members said.

"He was very active, always busy and always social," Chris Barteldes said of his late father.

Ben Barteldes, 91, died Wednesday at Brandon Woods Retirement Community, 1501 Inverness Drive. He worked at Barteldes Seed Co. and owned TNT Food Products, where he promoted its TNT popcorn.

"When the seed business kind of tapered off, he came up with the idea of area farmers growing popcorn," Barteldes' longtime friend Jim Owens said. "He went to a lot of the national grocery conventions to sell the popcorn to big wholesalers. He did a good job of it."

In addition to being a businessman, Barteldes was active in the Lawrence community, serving as a city commissioner and mayor in the early 1960s.

"I was in junior high and he was talking about running for city commissioner and he asked what I thought about it," Chris Barteldes said with a chuckle. "I said, 'Well, you are nothing now so you might as well run and be somebody.' When you are 13 you don't know what you are saying."

Owens served on the commission with Ben Barteldes.

"He was just a wonderful fellow. He had a dry sense of humor," Owens said. "He was kind of a car buff. He had a Jaguar and he was awfully proud of it. I rode in it a couple of times, but he wouldn't let me drive it."

Barteldes spent time on the Lawrence Memorial Hospital board. Friends said he loved golf and he was a founder of Alvamar Golf and Country Club. He also founded University State Bank.

A Kansas University graduate, he and his late wife, Stella Jean "Toddy" Barteldes, were big KU sports fans, friends said.

"He was just a very fine gentleman, a wonderful person," Jim Schubert, of Lawrence, said. "I always enjoyed visiting with him."

Services for Barteldes are 2 p.m. Wednesday at Warren-McElwain Mortuary. Private burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery.

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