Philadephia-Area Builder Bernard Drueding, Jr. Dies at 86
Bernard J. Drueding, Jr., of Radnor, Pa., an award-winning builder for 40 years who helped establish a program for homeless women and children after he retired, died of a pulmonary embolism on Feb. 27 at Bryn Mawr Hospital near Philadelphia. He was 86.
Drueding worked for a Lower Merion Township builder for 10 years before starting his own firm, B.J. Drueding Realtors in Penn Wynne. He built homes in Lower Merion and Radnor Townships for 30 years.
He was past president of the Main Line Builders Association; director on the Main Line Board of Realtors®; and was active with the Second Haverford Corp., a group of builders who collaborated on development projects.
After retiring, Drueding helped establish Drueding Center/Project Rainbow, a transitional-housing program in Kensington. The center had previously been an infirmary for employees of the leather and chamois processing factory his family operated in the 1930s and 1940s.
When the factory closed, the infirmary became a nursing home run by the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer with support from the Drueding Family Foundation. In the mid-1980s, the home became transitional housing for homeless women and their children. Drueding became an adviser to the center and helped raise more than $1 million to convert an adjacent warehouse into an after-care program to help the women maintain self-sufficiency.
In 2002, Drueding received the Hearthstone Builder Lifetime Public Service Award from NAHB for his commitment to Drueding Center/Project Rainbow.
Drueding graduated from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. During World War II, he served in the Navy aboard the destroyer escort in the Pacific theater.
Drueding is survived by his wife of 60 years, Catherine Drennan Drueding; sons Bernard, II and Edward; daughters Karen Rinaldi, Marianne Cornely, Patricia Stokes and Jane Ryan; a sister; 17 grandchildren; and a great-grandson.