John M. Waltersdorf, 84

September 03, 2010

MARCH 1, 1926-SEPT. 2, 2010

John M. Waltersdorf, 84, of Hagerstown, Md., died Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010, at Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, Del.

Retired Chairman of the Board and CEO of Tristate Electrical and Electronics Supply Co. Inc., he was born in Washington, Pa., March 1, 1926. He was the son of the late Maurice Cleveland and Catherine Elizabeth (Crapster) Waltersdorf and was the husband of the late Margaret Canby (Stott) Waltersdorf, whom he married Sept. 15, 1951, and later died March 18, 2005.

Having graduated from Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, Pa., in the class of '43, Mr. Waltersdorf attended Washington and Jefferson College until 1945, when he transferred to Yale University in New Haven, Conn. In 1946, he left his studies to serve in the U.S. Army and became an official photographer with "Operation High Jump," the last expedition led by Admiral Richard E. Byrd to the South Pole. Film shot on this expedition was used in "Secret Land," which won the Academy Award Best Documentary Film of the Year in 1949. Following his Army service, he returned to Yale University and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in 1948. In 1949, he received his MBA from the School of Business of the University of Chicago. His college fraternity was Phi Gamma Delta. He was a member of the Explorers Club, Fountain Head Country Club, Center Club and Assembly Club.


Mr. Waltersdorf was past chairman of the Greater Hagerstown Committee; board member of the Hagerstown/Washington County Industrial Foundation Inc.; past board member of the Distribution Research and Education Foundation (DREF); Hood College Trustee Emeritus; former president of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, Hagerstown; honorary trustee, Washington County Museum of Fine Arts; former trustee of Saint James School; former trustee of the Hagerstown YMCA; past chairman of the Community Foundation of Washington County Inc.; appointed 1991 Governor's Commission for the Future of the Arts in Maryland; named Chamber Business Person of the Year for 1994 by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce; elected Trustee Maryland Citizens for the Arts 1995; named 1996 Distinguished Citizen by the Mason-Dixon Council, Boy Scouts of America; 1999 Herald-Mail Person of the Year; former president of the Assembly Club; and received the Governor's Arts Award for Outstanding Arts Patron 2000.

Mr. Waltersdorf served on the Governor's Council on Management and Productivity. He served six years as a member of the Maryland Port Commission, retiring in 1994; he served as the first Chairman of the Board of the Hagerstown Regional Airport until sold to Washington County and then served on its Advisory Board. Mr. Waltersdorf has served as board member of the Association of Yale Alumni. He served on the Board and Policy Committee for the American Council for Capital Formation and as a member of Johns Hopkins Task Force on State Economic Development of the Center for Metropolitan Planning and Research 1985-86.

He was president and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors from 1974-76 and president of National Association of Electrical Distributors, 1970-71. In 1975, he received the Distributor Medal and Purse given under the terms of the James H. McGraw Award for Electrical Men for Research Leadership in Distributor Data-Processing, for Presidential Strengthening of the National Association of Electrical Distributors Committee Structure, and for notable contributions to the entire Wholesaler-Distributor function on the international as well as the national scene.

He was a panelist at the 1st World Wholesaling Conference, Cannes, France, June 1975, and a member of the State of Maryland Mid East Trade Mission in 1976. He was a member of the People to People Electrical Technology Delegation to the People's Republic of China, October 1986, and member of the National Association of Electrical Distributors' Study Mission to the Soviet Union and Poland, September 1987.

He served as Antietam Bank's founding Chairman of the Board until they merged with Suburban Bank Corp. in 1980 and served as a director of Sovran Bank/MD, which is now Bank of America.

Mr. Waltersdorf is survived by one son, John G. Waltersdorf of Hagerstown; three daughters, Elizabeth Grayson Oldfather of Philadelphia, Pa., and Margaret O. Waltersdorf and Roberta Annan Waltersdorf, both of Hagerstown; and three grandchildren, James D. Waltersdorf, William D. Oldfather and Catherine G. Oldfather.

The funeral service will be at noon Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010, at St. John's Episcopal Church, 101 S. Prospect St., Hagerstown. The Rev. Dr. D. Stuart Dunnan and the Rev. Ann L. Boyd will officiate. Burial will be in Rose Hill Cemetery, Hagerstown.

The family will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010, at his home.

The family suggests memorial contributions be made to Community Foundation of Washington County Maryland Inc., 33 W. Franklin St., Suite 203, Hagerstown, MD 21740 or Saint James School, c/o Matching Grant Program, 17641 College Road, St. James, MD 21781.

Gerald N. Minnich Funeral Home, Bryan K. Kenworthy P.A., 305 N. Potomac St., Hagerstown, has been entrusted with the arrangements. Online condolences are accepted at

Editor's note:This obituary was edited Friday, Sept. 3, to correct the mailing address for the Community Foundation.

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