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Bernard C. Trueschler, retired BGE chairman who oversaw conception and construction of Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant, dies

Bernard C. Trueschler was BGE's CEO from 1980 to 1987. Here, Baltimore Mayor William D. Schaefer, in hard hat, accepts a $52,000 check from Mr. Trueschler to help fund a weatherization program to insulate about 100 homes in West Baltimore. The business grant was part of the $500,000 Blue Chip-in program, in which businesses sponsor financially strapped city agency projects. William H. Mortimer/Baltimore Sun 1981
Bernard C. Trueschler was BGE's CEO from 1980 to 1987. Here, Baltimore Mayor William D. Schaefer, in hard hat, accepts a $52,000 check from Mr. Trueschler to help fund a weatherization program to insulate about 100 homes in West Baltimore. The business grant was part of the $500,000 Blue Chip-in program, in which businesses sponsor financially strapped city agency projects. William H. Mortimer/Baltimore Sun 1981 (WILLIAM H. MORTIMER / Baltimore Sun)

Bernard C. Trueschler, retired chairman of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. who championed during the 1970s the construction of the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby, the state’s only such facility, died April 7 of leukemia at his home in the Hampton neighborhood of Baltimore County.

He was 98.

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Bernard Charles Trueschler, son of Philip Joseph Trueschler, a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad worker, and his wife, Gertrude Cecilia Trueschler, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised on Echodale Avenue in Hamilton.

After his mother’s death when he was 7, Mr. Trueschler spent the next five years living at St. Vincent’s Orphanage in Baltimore.

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After graduating in 1941 from Mount Saint Joseph High School in Irvington, he began his college studies at the Johns Hopkins University, until leaving to serve in the Army from 1944 to 1946, when he returned to Hopkins where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1947 in chemistry. In 1952, he obtained his law degree from the University of Maryland, and was a member of the Maryland bar.

The College of Notre Dame celebrated the inauguration of its new president with a gala at Baltimore Country Club in April 1998. Left to right, Mildred Otenasek, Dr. Hugh Hicks, Sister Kathleen Feeley and Bernard C. Trueschler. Tiffany H. House/Baltimore Sun 1998
The College of Notre Dame celebrated the inauguration of its new president with a gala at Baltimore Country Club in April 1998. Left to right, Mildred Otenasek, Dr. Hugh Hicks, Sister Kathleen Feeley and Bernard C. Trueschler. Tiffany H. House/Baltimore Sun 1998 (TIFFANY H. HOUSE / XX)

Mr. Trueschler began his BGE career in 1948, and after serving in a number of capacities was appointed in 1956 to superintendent of gas engineering. After a three-year rotation period among various departments in the gas division, he was appointed manager in 1968 of the gas construction department, the position he held when he was named vice president in 1966.

In 1980, he was appointed CEO of BGE, a position he held until retiring in 1987.

Perhaps the crowning achievement of his career with the utility was the conception and construction of the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Calvert County that began in 1968, with Unit 1 going online in 1975, and two years later, Unit 2, which has safely delivered low-cost energy to Maryland for decades.

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In the wake of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission suspending operations in the mid-1980s at Philadelphia Electric Power Co.’s Peach Bottom nuclear-generating plant in Delta, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles from Baltimore, at BGS’ annual meeting, a stockholder raised the question: “What are we doing to see this doesn’t happen here?”

“Anything’s possible, but we don’t think it’s at all likely with us. It is not a true danger,” Mr. Trueschler answered, The Sun reported. “The two units at Calvert Cliffs are on line more than any in the United States. You don’t get that kind of performance if people are asleep.”

Jane L. Boerner started working for Mr. Trueschler in 1974 and remained with him when he was named CEO and chairman of the board in 1980.

“I thought he was great and I learned so much from him and he was such a great teacher and mentor,” Mrs. Boerner said. “He was a tremendous person to work for but he knew what he wanted. He also cared deeply about the employees from the lineman right up to the executives. He didn’t forget the little guy.”

Mr. Trueschler had the common touch, Mrs. Boerner said.

“He was well-respected throughout the company. He loved touring our offices and saying, ‘Hi, I’m Bernie Trueschler.’ He was such a joy to work for.”

When Mr. Trueschler retired, Mrs. Boerner continued working for him as his private secretary.

“I worked for him 46 years until retiring in 2020,” Mrs. Boerner said.

In addition to his utility work, Mr. Trueschler was a major adviser to the Baltimore mayoral administration of William Donald Schaefer. “He worked hard for the city and I can’t begin to tell you how many commissions he was on during the Schaefer administration,” Mrs. Boerner said.

Civically, his board memberships ranged from business to the cultural, and medical to education.

He had served on the boards of Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland, Monumental Corp. and Monumental Life Insurance Co., the old Union Trust Bancorp and Union Trust Co., the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medal Center, Franklin Square Medical Center, the Johns Hopkins University, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and what is now Notre Dame of Maryland University.

In his eulogy for his father-in-law, John Z. Windsor Jr. commented on Mr. Trueschler’s modesty.

“In fact, he was a confident man but a humble man,” Mr. Windsor said. “He lived his life like a friend told me, that if you hit home runs, you do not need to tell the coach to put you in the game.”

Another piece of wisdom that Mr. Trueschler embodied, Mr. Windsor said, was the value of a personal reputation: “He’d say, ‘At the end of the day all you have is your reputation.’”

In 1959, Mr. Trueschler and his wife, the former Helen Rita Golley, whom he married in 1956, moved into their Hampton home, where he crafted stone walls and perfected gardens around a stream that coursed through his yard.

“He built retaining walls along the stream and worked in his garden for 50 years,” Mr. Windsor said in a telephone interview of the home that became the centerpiece of many family gatherings.

Mrs. Trueschler died in 2009.

Mr. Trueschler was an inveterate golfer and was a member of Baltimore Country Club and Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills. He was also a fan of old Westerns and classic Hollywood films.

He attended Mass at St. Mary’s Seminary & University and the Carmelite Monastery.

A Mass of Christian Burial was offered April 17 at the Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier in Hunt Valley.

In addition to Mr. Windsor, survivors include two sons, John Trueschler and Paul Trueschler, both of Towson; two daughters, Jeanne Windsor of Hampton and Mary Kathryn Lowe of Jacksonville in Baltimore County; two sisters, Gertrude Davis of Jacksonville in Baltimore County and Josephine Trueschler of Baltimore; 14 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

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