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Former auditor dies at age 65

Bruce Bielefelt’s son Michael will remember his father as a patient man, always there for him and the rest of the family.

Nevada County government workers Thursday said the former auditor-controller was always there for them as well, and a real professional.

Memorial services for Bruce Alan Bielefelt, 65, will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at the Sierra Presbyterian Church in Nevada City. He died Monday of cancer.



Bielefelt served the county more than 28 years, coming to work for then auditor-controller Yvonne Vonah in 1977. He went on to become the auditor-controller for 19 years, one shy of five full terms before his retirement at the end of 2005.

He cut back his work schedule last August for health reasons and worked weekends to help out, according to his wife, Jane Bielefelt.




“He was a calm guy,” Mrs. Bielefelt said Thursday. “We liked our private family life in Rough and Ready.”

Bielefelt enjoyed doing 4-H and Boy Scout projects with his three children, did some woodworking at home, “and golf was his primary, favorite sport, he loved to play,” Mrs. Bielefelt said.

He learned the game as a caddie at Rancho Palos Verdes Country Club while growing up in Southern California. He was a member of a championship golf team at Torrance High School.

He served in the U.S. Navy from 1958 to 1961, and cruised the Mediterranean Sea on two destroyers, the USS Compton and the USS Daly. That led to a lifelong love for sailing.

He met Jane while they were working for the same firm, and they married in Reseda in 1966. He got a degree in business in 1970, worked for the City of Sacramento, and then moved on to the auditor-controller’s office here.

After moving to Nevada County, the Bielefelts found their Rough and Ready home within several months. Bielefelt enjoyed the community and served several years on the Ready Springs School Board.

“He was always very patient, very caring and very loving, not a tyrant,” said son Michael, a graphic artist for a Sacramento TV station. “All three of us felt like we could go and talk to him and he would be non-judgmental. He was a friend.”

Beside Jane and Michael, Bielefelt is survived by son Glenn Bielefelt and his wife, Lan Huynh, of Sacramento. Daughter Amy McCarthy and her husband, Ken McCarthy, live in Tracy and are the parents of Bielefelt’s three grandchildren.

He is also survived professionally by many people in Nevada County.

“He was a very nice man,” said Marcia Salter, Bielefelt’s successor as auditor-controller said. “We all enjoyed working for him, he was very well respected and he was very intelligent.”

According to county CEO Rick Haffey, “He worked hard even though he was ill and in his last year of service. He really helped out with the budget.

“He and I didn’t always agree, but he was never disagreeable. He was a real pro.”

Assistant County Executive Officer Laura Matteson works with Haffey now, but started her career in county government with Bielefelt. She remembers him coining the term “Tidy Friday.”

Staffers soon learned that meant they should clean their desks by quitting time on Thursdays. When they didn’t, things would turn up missing because Bielefelt had done the cleaning for them.

“He had a quiet, infectious laugh,” Matteson said. “He was a dedicated family man and dedicated to the county.”

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To contact senior staff writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@theunion.com or call 477-4237.


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