Donald L. Bachelder Jr.
Donald L. ‘Speck’ Bachelder Jr., age 89, of Mount Gilead, died peacefully Tuesday afternoon, August 21, 2012, at the Community Healthcare Center in Marion following many years of illnesses.
On June 8, 1923, Don was born in Morrow County, Ohio, the eldest son of two children of the late Donald Sr. and Hazel (Campbell) Bachelder. At the young age of 10, he earned his nickname of ‘Speck’ for his uniquely smaller shaped glasses that stuck throughout his entire life. He graduated from Mount Gilead High School in the Class of 1942, where he excelled in basketball.
Shortly following graduation, Don had to rush marrying his high school sweetheart, E. Virginia O’Shaughnassy, because he had been drafted to serve in World War II. They were married on Halloween, October 31, 1942, at the First Presbyterian Church with Rev. Dr. Harry Finney officiating. They have cherished their nearly 70 years together.
Soon after their wedding, Don joined the U. S. Army Air Corps as a member of the 9th Air Force, serving as a rifleman and auto repairman. His unit was one of the many who fought bravely in the Normandy Invasion in Northern France, where he was also badly injured. His injuries were so extensive he spent several years in hospitals, until he recovered enough to return home.
Upon his honorable discharge, Don returned to Virginia in Mount Gilead, where he quickly joined the H.P.M. Corporation, working as an engineer. He was a dedicated worker for them for over 40 years, and served as a member of the H.P.M. Management Club and Society of Engineers. He was forced to retire at the age of 62 due to his health.
Believing in the value of education, Don was a part of the area Vocational boards, namely the Mar-Va-Tech, Gateway and then Tri-Rivers. ‘He worked diligently year after year to make a vocational school a reality, and the completion of Tri-Rivers Vocational School in Marion was a dream come true to him’. He served as their only president for 19 years until his retirement. He also served for 5 terms on the Mount Gilead School Board, and had served as their president, vice president and chaired many committees. He ‘was a strong supportive pillar for Education and worked year after year for bond issues for both schools and towards improvements and better schools and education at all levels’.
In September of 1980, Don was honored to receive the Central Ohio Regions All School Boards Award, and was elected to the executive committee for the Central Region, representing 15 counties and 113 school districts.
A man of deep faith, Don was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Mount Gilead, where was a former adult Sunday School Teacher and along with his wife Virginia, they served 10 years as youth advisors. They also gave part of their summer vacations each year to be camp counselors for young people at Geneva Hills Presbyterian Church Camp, south of Lancaster. He also served as an ordained elder, deacon, and trustee of their church.
Taking pride in his home, Don could always be found outside tending to his pristine lawn and flowers.
With a love for sports, one of Don’s favorite pastimes was golfing, and he enjoyed golfing in the H.P.M. leagues for many years.
Finding the hobby of stained glass later in life, Don enjoyed making stained glass gifts to share with his family and friends. He made everything from lamp shades and window pieces, to OSU memorabilia and Mount Gilead pen sets.
Having a great sense of humor, Don was a joy to be around and he kept you entertained with his ornery and fun loving personality. He also will be remembered for his perseverance, as he kept a great attitude and overcame being in poor health for over 20 years of his life.
He will be dearly missed by his beloved wife, Virginia Bachelder of Mount Gilead; three children: Michael (Nancy) Bachelder of Mount Gilead, Nicklos (Pam) Bachelder of Bradenton, Florida, and Bonnie Sue (Dr. Max) Heimlich of the Woodlands, Texas; four grandchildren: Kirsten and Kohle Heimlich, and Nichlos and Haley Bachelder; one great-grandchild, Wesley Bachelder; a brother-in-law, John (Alice) O’Shaughnessy of Orient, North Carolina; and several nieces and nephews.
Including his parents, Don was preceded in death by his sister, Maxine Hiltabiddle; and two sisters-in-law: Mary Jane George and Betty Burton.
His family will greet friends from 1 — 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 25, 2012, at the Snyder Funeral Home, Craven Chapel, 67 N. Main St., Mount Gilead. Services honoring his life will follow at 2:00 p.m. with the interim pastor from the First Presbyterian Church, Rev. Dr. Thomas J. Mori officiating. Burial with military honors provided by the V.F.W. Post 8054 and AmVets Post 87 will follow in Rivercliff Cemetery in Mount Gilead.
Memorial Contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church, 55 N. Cherry St., Mount Gilead, OH 43338.