James Michael Bitner, “Jim”, died suddenly from a massive heart attack Saturday, April 28, 2018 t the age of 75. He was the beloved husband of Dianne Demberger
Bitner for close to 55 years. Jim was born in York, Pennsylvania in 1942 to the late Theda Vivian Ashton and the late Walter Earl Bitner of Red Lion Pennsylvania. Jim is also survived by his two daughters Alisa Bitner Hose of Marstons Mills, and Valerie Bitner Walbridge, his son- in- law Thomas Walbridge and two granddaughters Teaghan and Reese Walbridge of Sandwich, MA. Jim was greatly loved and cherished by his family, extended family and friends here on Cape Cod as well as in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland.
Jim and Dianne were married in August of 1963 while still in college. Jim was a graduate of Lebanon Valley College, class of '64 and Dianne is a graduate of East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania class of '65. They lived in Hatboro, PA, Cherry Hill, NJ, Edgewater Park, NJ, Cornwall, NY and Nutley, NJ before moving to Marstons Mills on Cape Cod in 1993.
During his youth, Jim and his parents were avid golfers and belonged to the Red Lion Country Club. Between them they had many trophies for Championship and Match games. Theda had 3 hole in one trophies and his Dad, Walter just one hole in one. Jim had a 2 handicap and was on the Varsity Golf team in high school. Jim grew up an only child so he was very close to his Bitner and Ashton cousins.
As was typical in the 1950's and early 60's, Jim played and sang folk songs on his guitar. He was also a very good dancer. He and Dianne met when he came up to East
Stroudsburg with his college roommate over the weekend to deliver a desk to his cousin Linda Bear Groh. He said his roommate would go out with Linda and maybe she could set him up with a date. She said, “I know all the girls in the lobby. Who would you like to go out with?” He said, “What about that girl?” The rest was history. Linda was rewarded by being a bridesmaid at their wedding.
Jim started out in Pharmaceutical sales when he first came out of College. He then landed an inside sales position with an Engineering Company that designed and sold process controls in a variety of venues. Fischer & Porter promoted him to outside sales and eventually office manager of the NY office. He also worked for Lambert Controls, Honeywell, Industrial Controls, and Pneumatic Instrumentation Devices. He finished his career with Wyeth Laboratories and Pfizer Laboratories. While at Pfizer he invented a thermostat cover for which he received an award and bonus. He had noticed one part was being damaged and replaced almost on a weekly basis. It saved Pfizer from profit loss as the part was widely used throughout the plant.
Jim was recognized for his technical expertise and was a very soft spoken sales person. He was elected President of the Cornwall Jaycees in the 1970's and was also President of the Connecticut Chapter of the Instrumentation Society of America in the early 1980's.
Jim was very active in the Nutley United Methodist Church. He served as Chairman of the Worship Committee, taught Bible study, and sang in the choir. He and Dianne also formed a teen choir which he led with his guitar playing. Jim performed numerous solos at church and weddings. He also sang in the Osterville Methodist Church choir before the loss of his voice.
He loved being Dad to daughters Alisa and Valerie. He enjoyed a close relationship with his son-in-law, Tom Walbridge and his family. Jim was a home body and enjoyed all family holidays and events. He enjoyed sharing his love of music with his daughters and granddaughters all of whom play musical instruments and sing. Alisa, is an accomplished pianist and has played with various bands on the Cape. Jim's love of dance was passed along to granddaughters Teaghan and Reese Walbridge who took numerous classes and performed for years. He followed every outstanding report card, sports awards and academic awards with pride. He felt blessed to have them living close by so he could enjoy seeing them frequently. Teaghan is finishing her freshman year at Boston University as a math major and Reese is in the STEM program at Sandwich HS where she plays JV soccer and lacrosse and is enrolled for all the 9th grade honors classes in the fall.
Jim loved sailing. He enjoyed sailing his 26 foot Pierson in Sandy Hook NJ., Long Island Sound in Rowatan, CT and lastly Haverstraw Marina on the Hudson River in NY. He did some sailing on the Cape, but the wait for a slip led him to give it up. He had a smaller sailboat which he towed to family vacations in Virginia Beach.
Dianne and Jim enjoyed many cruises: Bermuda, Hawaii and Alaska were a few of their favorites. He was looking forward to the 55th Anniversary Cruise around England Ireland, Scotland and France. He was looking forward to the opportunity to explore and continue his ancestry research tracing family lineage back to the late 1500's in that area.
Jim enjoyed many other hobbies including bird watching, photography, and star gazing. He was always filling the bird feeders and kept watch over the coming and going of the various birds. He also loved tinkering, making things and solving household problems. One Christmas he surprised his daughters with a dollhouse replica of our home in
Nutley. He had an extensive tool collection and enjoyed time in his garage workshop.
He was well loved. A great husband, father and grandfather. He was truly a gentleman and a very good man. We will treasure all the memories and hold him in our hearts, until we meet again on the other side.
Donations in his memory may be sent to the American Heart Association or the Osterville United Methodist Church. Friends and family are welcome to attend the Memorial Service on Wednesday May 16, 2018 from 11 AM to 12 PM at Osterville United Methodist Church, 57 Pond Street, Osterville, MA.