Friday, March 23, 2018

Coach Joe Beidler of Linfield ‘Hartford Pipeline” fame died in October 2016. His wife, Ruth, passed away in March 2018

Note: Joe’s connection to Linfield Athletics has been called both the “Hartford Pipeline” and the “Hartford Connection,” Wildcatville prefers “Hartford Pipeline.” Didn’t Paul Durham use “Hartford Pipeline” in his “Dodging With Durham” sports column?

A Memorial Service for Ruth and Joe Beidler was held April 7th, 2017 at 2:30 pm in the Trinity College Chapel at 300 Summit St. in Hartford. Ruth Hall Beidler was born Nov 9 1920  and died March 3 2018.  Coach Joseph B. Beidler was born Nov 15 1918 and died Oct 31 2016. 

 Based on info in Walla Walla U-B Nov 10, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. — Joe Beidler, a former head baseball and football coach at Whitman College, died Oct. 31, 2016, at his Hartford, Conn., home at the age of 97.

Beidler took over as head baseball coach at Whitman in 1949, and was also an assistant football coach.

In 1951, he added head football coach to his baseball position, and coached both sports until June 1955, when he and his wife, Ruth, left Walla Walla and returned to Connecticut.

As Whitman football coach, Joe succeeded Archie Kodros. When Joe left Whitman, he was succeeded as football coach by Bob Thomsen.

Obituary, guest book comments and statements about Coach Joe Beidler of Linfield "Hartford Connection" fame:


From Coach Beidler's online guest book 

November 8, 2016

It seems like it was just yesterday when I was a senior at Bulkeley High School, and met and talked with Coach Beidler about Linfield College, in Oregon. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am that he made the effort to guide me at a time in my life when I had little or no direction. Over the years, I have told scores of people that Coach Beidler was the one who was responsible for changing my life. I have often thought that, if it weren't for him, I would not have attended Linfield, and have had the opportunity to play for an incredible football program. I would not have graduated and had a career in education, a job I truly loved and cherished for 32 years. And most important, I would have not met my incredible wife of 46 years, Cathy. Coach Beidler is responsible for so much that has happened in my life, and the lives of so many other individuals. 

My sincere condolences go to the Beidler family for their loss. Coach was a wonderful man who will be missed.

Bob Sullivan
Bulkeley High School Class of 1966
Bob Sullivan, Portland, OR 


From Coach Beidler's online guest book 
November 8, 2016


I was Captain of his 1960 Nutmeg Bowl team played in New Britain, which ended in a 8-8 tie. He helped me and several other Hartford Area student athletes get a great start in life at Linfield College in Oregon. This was the only chance for college for most of us. He pioneered the "Storied Hartford Connection" at Linfield as a pipeline for athletes who could have been left behind. The Hartford student athletes prospered at Linfield and in their life endeavors because he went above and beyond the call of duty to help us. We are all eternally grateful for his efforts.

He was a great coach but he was an even better man. He will be missed by all those he helped.

Peter Dengenis, Seattle, WA 


Sent to Beidler family March 20, 2018

Greetings to the Beidler Family:

Unfortunately, Mike Stelman and I cannot attend your parent’s service because of previous long-standing family commitments. I talked to some of the “Hartford Connection” athletes to inform them of the celebration of life for your parents. All of them said how grateful they were for your Dad’s help in getting accepted to Linfield with an athletic scholarship. Also, they also mentioned lifelong relationships established and positive experiences while they were students at Linfield.

I wrote this summary about your Dad and the “Hartford Connection” because Linfield folks still remember and on occasion stories are written in the Oregon newspapers about the Hartford athletes, especially when one is inducted into the Linfield Hall of Fame.

The family can file this as part of your parent’s memoirs. At your option, this can also be read at their celebration of life. Your Dad did a tremendous amount of good for many athletes during the long course of his teaching and coaching career.

With much gratitude and

On behalf of the “Hartford Connection,”

Pete Dengenis
San Diego, California
March, 2018

A Tribute to Joe and Ruth Beidler

My name is Pete Dengenis, a 1960 graduate of Bulkeley High School. Coach Beidler was the head coach of the East squad in the Connecticut East West All-Star Nutmeg Bowl football game played in New Britain in August of 1960. I was one of the East squad game captains. The heavily favored West was loaded with first team all-state players destined for NCAA football powerhouses. The East team consisted of small college prospects. As a consequence of Beidler’s coaching and brilliant game strategy, the final score was an 8-8 tie game.

Coach Beidler was the pioneer of the storied “Hartford Connection” at Linfield College in Oregon. He and his wife, Ruth, became lifelong friends with Linfield coaches Paul Durham and Roy Helser and their families while he was a highly successful baseball and football coach from 1949-1955 at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Eventually he returned to Hartford to teach and coach at Weaver High School. He recommended many Greater Hartford athletes to the Linfield coaches. The local athletes, who were overlooked by the big time athletic schools, were awarded athletic scholarships and blossomed academically. His word was golden with his long time Linfield friends so the athletes were accepted solely based on his recommendation. The “Hartford Connection” was born and thrived from the late 1950’s to the 1970’s. 

Many stories were written and are still ongoing over the years in Pacific Northwest newspapers about the achievements of the “Hartford Connection” athletes. Several “Hartford Connection” athletes are in the Linfield Hall of Fame. John Lee, Pete Dengenis, Bob Sullivan, and Bob Raffalo have been inducted as athletes into the Linfield Hall of Fame. Coach Beidler and Ruth were present at the induction ceremony when “Hartford Connection athletes” Mike Stelman, Bernie Grant, and Pete Dengenis were inducted into the Linfield Hall of Fame in 2005 as members of the 1961 Camellia Bowl Team that played for the national championship in Sacramento, California. 

Curtis Manns, a Beidler coached Weaver football player, was the first recruit to attend Linfield from the Hartford pipeline. In November of 2017, Manns posthumously received the Gene Forman Inspirational Award at the annual Linfield Hall of Fame banquet for his outstanding courage when faced with adversity during his time at the college in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.

 Many of us owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to Coach Beidler for giving us a great start in our adult lives. Many thanks Joe and Ruthfor all your time and effort over the years on behalf of all of the “Hartford Connection” players whose accomplishments in life include successful businessmen (Mike Stelman, Bernie Grant, and Ron Rudo), college professors and administrators with doctoral degrees (Curtis Manns and Rick Turner), along with high school teachers, coaches, and administrators (Tony Ragazzi, Bob Raffalo, Bob Sullivan, John Lee, and Ed Griffin). His help was instrumental in changing the course of our lives in a positive direction. R.I.P. 

With much gratitude on behalf of the “Hartford Connection,”

Pete Dengenis
March 2018
San Diego, California

Ruth Beidler

Hartford Courant, March 23, 2018

Ruth H. Beidler, 97, slipped off to Heaven on Saturday, March 3, 2018, from the quiet comfort of her daughter's home. She was predeceased by her adoring husband and "best boyfriend" Coach Joe Beidler. Her passing leaves an enormous void in the life and heart of her daughter, her friend, Nancee (Ray Torns) who cared for Ruth in her home for the last several years. She is also survived by her daughter JoAnn Schaaf, her son Robert Beidler, her only granddaughter, Brandy Caban, three grandsons Kalua, Kama and Kahoa McKeague and her special great-granddaughter Kiana Caban. Ruth was passionate about music, acting and being a good friend to all she met. Starting in high school Ruth relished her time on stage. She often talked about her many roles through the years and a special performance with the Trinity Jesters opposite the then unknown playwright Edward Albee. Singing was an integral part of her life. From high school to the days of the Schola Cantorum at Hartt School of Music and performances with the Hartford Symphony to the music of her retirement group The Notables. She gave 100% to the arts that filled her heart with gladness. At the end of her life she sang daily with her daughter, Nan and her caregiver Beata. "You are My Sunshine", "Amazing Grace" and "You've Got a Friend" are just a few of the tunes you could hear wafting through the house. Ruth was a great friend to all who came into her life through music, acting, work and church organizations. Her friends often spoke of her caring and concern for their life situations. Ruthie was a lover of chocolate, watermelon, and Michael Buble, whose videos she was always happy to watch on Youtube! During her life she was a Girl Scout Leader extraordinaire, a precise Medical Secretary at UCONN Health, adept at crewel work, an inspiring Devotions leader for her church life, a creative floral arranger at home and at church, an avid Bridge player, and a Mom who was the number one fan for her three children! Every football and baseball game for husband or son, every concert, every play, every Pops 'N Jazz show, Mom was there, cheering for us! Forever encouraging us to be our very best. She was in love with all that life had to offer and her "best boyfriend" Coach Joe Beidler, her husband of nearly 75 years. They meant everything to each other in this life and now they are together again for all eternity. Nancee wishes to extend heartfelt gratitude to caregivers Beata, Maddy, Ewa and Francine, who gave Ruth exceptional care and love. A Memorial Service for Ruth and Coach Beidler will be held on Saturday, April 7th at 2:30pm in the Trinity College Chapel at 300 Summit St. in Hartford. Due to extremely limited parking on campus guests will use the rear parking lot at St. Lawrence O'Toole Church on 494 New Britain Ave. in Hartford. A shuttle will be provided to and from the Trinity Chapel. Please visit our guestbook at