Raymond "Ray" H. Bachtelle
1926 - 2021
On October 28, 2021, a long, happy, wild ride came to an end. Our dad, gramps, great gramps, great great gramps, Ray Bachtelle, passed away quietly, and went to find his beloved wife, Marcelle. We will miss him terribly, but we know he is out there meeting up with his precious great grandson, Beau, and playing jokes on gram together.
Ray was born January 23, 1926, in Whittier, California, the fifth child of Daniel and Mattie Mae (Cash) Bachtelle. He spoke often of growing up near Signal Hill in Long Beach, playing baseball with his dad and brothers, living a life of mischief and fun. In 1942 Ray and Marcelle moved from being friends in the neighborhood, to dating, and after WWII came to an end, they married. They would have celebrated their 75 wedding anniversary in September of this year.
In 1943 Ray enlisted in the Navy, although he was only 17. His oldest brother had been shot down over Germany and was in a prisoner of war camp, and Ray felt he was needed to get the war over, and his brother home. The next three years were spent aboard the USS Bracken, a troop carrier, as the radioman translating and broadcasting all communications for the ship. One of his prized possessions is the original copy of the communication he translated and gave to his ship's captain, telling him the war was over and Japan had surrendered.
Toward the end of his life, Ray spoke more openly about his war experiences. Although he loved every minute of his time in the Navy, he had gone through times that were extremely difficult to explain to his family. During the typhoon season of 1944-45, his ship was caught in an historic storm off of the Philippines. He told how the ship rolled so badly that he and his fellow radioman had to tie their chairs to the bulkhead in order to keep sending and receiving. His companion during this time remained his good friend through all the years of their lives. In the final days of the war, Ray's ship came under frequent attack by kamikaze pilots with Japanese war planes crashing into the waters surrounding his ship.
After the war, Ray came home and married Marcelle. To this union were born three children, Karen (Ron) Njirich, Scott (Gina) Bachtelle and Marcelle Bachtelle. He took great pride in his nine grandchildren, Matthew, Nathan, Elisabeth, Phillip, Jeffrey, Amy, Gina, Amanda and Katie, his 12 great grandchildren, Alexandra, Beau, Isabella, Brittany, Blake, Marcus, Raymond, Gus, Max, Isaac, Leon and Zoe, and finally the two great-great-grandchildren, Luke and Madison Marcelle.
Ray returned to school after the war and acquired a degree in electrical engineering. He spent his career in the fire service working his way up to fire chief, and building a program for fire safety and prevention that won awards at the state level. He took early retirement and spent the second half of his professional life as a fire, arson and explosion investigator, expert witness and teacher of many college level classes across the state of California. He took particular pride in being an early part of the Fire Academy at Columbia College and built many lasting friendships with students who attended his classes.
Marcelle and Ray spent five happy years living in Hilo, Hawaii, but returned to Tuolumne because they missed their family. During this time, Ray's love of collecting Reyn Spooner Hawaiian shirts came into full bloom, with him looking forward to the new Christmas version that came out every year.
Ray was preceded in death by his wife, Marcelle Lawrence Bachtelle, on January 6, 2019, and by his beloved great grandson, Beau Bachtelle, on June 1, 2021. He was the last member of his generation in his family, outliving his parents, brothers and sister and, with his passing, an era comes to a gentle close. We will miss your jokes, your Hawaiian shirts and loving presence in our lives, it's time to move on to the next great thing.
A private family graveside celebration was held on November 5, 2021, with the Tuolumne County Veterans Honor Guard performing the flag ceremony and 21-gun salute. Arrangements were handled by Terzich and Wilson.
Published by Sonora Union Democrat from Nov. 12 to Nov. 13, 2021.
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2 Entries
I treasure the many times I spent with Ray and Marcelle in weekly bible study meetings and family gatherings! Ray made sure there was never a dull moment!
Pat Miller
November 20, 2021
Ray taught several classes for me At Chabot College. He was a real true asset to the Fire Service and a great person overall. RIP my friend.
Glenn Bass
November 14, 2021
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