Burton Kreidler ... Principal at Belfair Elementary school

from September 1945 - to May 1949

Burton Kreidler was dismissed from his job as superintendent, principal, school board clerk, transportation officer among other roles. The school board had dismissed Kreidler with the simple statement that "it was for the good of the community". Which in itself was contrary to the "State Statute", which required reasons. .

My dad carried the school board for nearly 3 years. They trusted him and his excellent managing abilities were used to relieve the school board of their community obligations. The school board was very happy with the situation. It was why bother? Kreidler has everything under control.

The driving forces on the school board at that time were Rex Crossen, avid deer hunter, owner of the Belfair Builders Supply, and A.E. Bard owner of Belfair's only grocery store.

The Shelton court hearings were at times very heated, the court room standing room only. In Belfair sides were built. First by Rex C. and his buddy Bard, who started a signed petition for my dad's firing. It was said they threatened their customers with "either sign or buy in Bremerton". Kreidler fans then started their petition. As I remember the for and against were said to be a close 50/50 by late summer. Most of the South Shore was for, the North against a dismissal.

On October 8th 1949 A recall election involving Kreidler's dismissal was held. Citizens had the opportunity to vote on a proposal to recall Rex P. Crossen, clerk of the school board and A.E. Bard, board chairman. They were charged with misfeasance and malfeasance in office. The proposal was rejected by a 3 to 1 majority. A case of too little too late.

At the time few knew the "REAL REASON" for the Kreidler dismissal. Had they... the issue would have never make that Shelton court room.

If you are interested in the hearing that followed my dad's petition for rehiring go to the SHELTON MASON COUNTY JOURNAL archives web site. .

An interesting part of the "Kreidler dismissal" was that after hearing of such, 7 of the 8 then school teachers declined to renew their contracts for the coming school year 1949-50. Whether they later renewed or moved on is beyond my knowledge. Perhaps some moved to Port Orchard where the new East Port Orchard (EPO) opened its doors in September 1949. Dad taught the 5th grade there for 2 years before his final 2 years as a 7th grade teacher. Among other students his last class of 1954 included classmates Jack Gaudette, Dale Mangles, Liz Root and Jerry Hargrove.

Dad moved on to the new Marcus Whitman JH the next year as it's woodshop teacher. Half way through his 2nd year at MW he lost a leg to bone cancer. Being the fighter, he returned to his woodshop the following school year. By November cancer had spread. All efforts to save him were to no avail. He continued to lose weight. Pain was a constant unwanted companion. Death was a relief when it came. Dad died December 29th 1958, he was only 56.


The Real Story:

WHY Burton D. Kreidler was dismissed as principal of the Belfair Elementary School as told to me in the summer of 1954 on your last "Summer working vacation", while commercial fishing at Neah Bay.

by Brad Kreidler, 10 August 2017

Deer season in Mason County 1948 - Dad got a call from Rex P. Crossen asking him to join him, A.E Bard and three other school board flunkies/members on their deer hunting jaunt. Dad agreed. They set out under a foggy, high 30 degrees, overcast sky early Saturday morning, before daylight, traveled in two vehicles, a car and pick-up truck.

Their destination was a spot north of the Tahuya area, way past the very popular small trout lakes. The only way in was over old partly over grown logging roads. The hunting party split up at the top of a canyon. Rex directed - first my Dad, near the top, on the right side of the canyon, 100 yard further down, to the left, Rex. 100 yards even further down, on the right side of the canyon A.E. Bard was assigned his stand.

Meanwhile the remaining three members drove the pick-up about 1 1/2 miles down towards the Canal on a very rough road that parallel our narrow hunting canyon. Two were to drive any game up the draw into the range of the three waiting rifle men, while the third (designated driver) drove back the way he came, to the head of the canyon and waited, warm and dry in the pick -up.

It was about 10:30 am when a heavy Western Washington State drizzle set in, hampering vision, making sitting still a freezing torture. Around noon three doe's and their yearling hurried past dad. About 10 minutes later a shot was fired from deep in the canyon. A short time later Dad said he heard something big coming his way. The animal made so much noise, charging through the brush, that he thought it was a wounded bear. But, lo and behold, less that 40 yards from his stand- out pop's a magnificent animal, a 10 point buck full of spit and vinegar. A twitch of dads trigger finger and the buck hit the ground 5 yards from where it was hit. Struck in the heart, the creature didn't know what hit him.

By the time the rifle smoke had vanished and Dad had reached the downed buck, he could hear the rest of the team jabbering as they made their way up the canyon, through the canyons thick underbrush. Rex was the nearest, and of course first on the scene. The first thing he said when he saw the deer was - I knew I got him. Dad replied - What do you mean?... I knew I shot him... Rex, a deer doesn't run a 100 yards after being shot in the heart. I shot him, he's mine not yours, my 30/06 bullet entered, as you can plainly see, from the buck's left side. There is no exit wound. My stand was on the right side of the canyon, yours on the left. If that buck managed to run some 100 yards with a bullet in its heart (which is impossible) your bullet wound would be on its right side.... Right? Or was the buck running down hill, towards the drivers, when you shot him? Then reversed direction to die at my feet? Don't be ridiculous Rex. Rex still continued to ignore the facts, calming it was his kill.

Rex felt strengthen when his buddy A.E. entered the scene and blindly backed him. As Rex became louder and very obnoxious. Dad calmly gutted his prize and ignore the ranting and raving of insults in his direction. All this time Rex's other "Buddies" ignore the situation refusing to take sides. The driver told dad that Rex had pulled the same stunt on at least 1 guy he knew.

It seems that old Rex was obsessed with his hunting trophies. His house, on the North Shore Road, about a 100 yards from Mission Creek, was full of antlers, at least 40 decorated his house and garage front.

As you see - The REAL reason for the dismissal was so childish & ridiculous that neither party dared mentioning the "Deer Hunt That Went Bad".

Mom was disappointed when she saw the deer. For her it was too old for anything but stew. She preferred 2 to 4 year old venison. After she heard Dad's story she was very disappointed over Dad's decision. She always said "Intelligence makes compromises - stupidly never".

It caused pain not only to our family by splitting the community for many following years. At the time a compromise would have worked wonders. Rex might have been appeased with the bucks antlers.

Before we moved to Port Orchard Dad sawed the 10 point antlers into small pieces and trash them. Why? Perhaps as a poor substitute for revenge? Who knows how or what thick headed men with huge egos and too much pride think?