“Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.” Command Pilot, Colonel Jay G. Bachman, USAF (Ret), made his last flight on May 8, 2012.
Jay was born in Eden, Utah on November 19, 1921, the only child of Heber Gainer and Rhea M. Bachman. He attended county public schools and Weber Junior College. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah; his Master’s degree from George Washington University; and was a Distinguished Graduate of the Air War College.
Jay loved the Valley and his many friends and relatives; he left to serve his country at the beginning of World War II. He flew his combat missions as a B-29 pilot, and at the end of the War decided to make the Air Force his career. His service spanned 33 years when he retired in 1975, and had been exciting and fulfilling. He became a member of the exclusive Caterpillar Club, when he bailed out of a crippled aircraft after a mid-air collision and floated to earth under a silk parachute. Later, he was selected to help pilot one of three B-52 aircraft that made the first non-stop jet flight around the world in 45 hours and 19 minutes, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. That flight during the period of January 16 – 18, 1957 also gave him the distinction of being the first native-born Utah pilot to fly around the world non-stop.
He married Nedra Butler of Ogden on January 25, 1947. Their marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake City Temple. She was his constant companion, best friend and quite literally “the wind beneath his wings” for more than 61 years. Nedra passed away in 2008.
They are the parents of four children: Jay S. Bachman (Catherine) of Salt Lake City; Robert G. Bachman (Lenora) of Eden; David B. Bachman (Meg) of Sacramento, California and Margaret A. Wood (Danny) of Walnut Creek, California. There are 11 grandchildren all of whom were loved beyond ability to express: Zachary, Brett, Stephanie, Elizabeth, Eric, Hayley, Russell, Paris, Mason, Stacey, and Preston (Danielle); and one great-grandchild, Boston.Bishop Bachman was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated temple worker, and a student of the scriptures, good books and poetry. He loved sacred music. He treasured the time he spent with his family: the reunions at Sun Valley, the camping and fishing trips at Flaming Gorge, the beach at Waikiki and the visits to the many places the family lived during their service days.
Jay was active in community and civic affairs having been a director in the Eden Irrigation Company and the Eden Waterworks Company. Socially, he was a member of the Hill Air Force Base Officers Club, the Order of Daedalians and the Sons of the Utah Pioneers.Funeral services will be held at the Eden Stake Center, 6450 East 1900 North, Eden, Utah on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 11 a.m. Friends may call at the Larkin & Sons Mortuary, 496 24th Street, Ogden, on Friday, May 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. and at the Stake Center, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Interment, Eden Mountain View Cemetery.
In 2010 I decided to walk the Eden Cemetery and look for my Bachman relatives and take pictures of the headstones. It was early in the morning. I found the cemetery, parked and walked the entire cemetery taking pictures and video of Bachman headstones and thinking about my grandmother, Emma Bachman. All of a sudden I came to the headstone you see at the bottom of this page. Interesting, I thought, this is a live Bachman and he was born the same year as my father. I called my wife and had her look up his address and phone number. As she was doing so she realized that the address was quite near the cemetery. I got in my car and drove up and down the street which adjoins the cemetery and after a few minutes figured that the house overlooking the cemetery was Jay's.
I drove up the driveway and knocked at the door. I introduced myself and was welcomed into the home. Jay said that, that morning he was on his treadmill which faces the cemetery and saw someone walking the cemetery stopping at the Bachman headstones.
I asked if I could video tape him and he said yes. So I spent the next few hours talking to my cousin and remembering my grandmother Emma Bachman. Jay remembered her vividly and told me some stories about Emma, his life, church service, family and travels. After a while he told me he was going to show me something very interesting. We drove to the old homestead where Emma grew up. The following videos are, in part, what I was able to collect.
One day in 1939 the Bachman's had a family reunion. Jay sneaked behind Gainer and put a live firecracker in his back pocket. Lanell laughed at the reaction and thought it was a good idea at the time but now thinks it wasn't.
During his stay in Vietnam he was promoted to a Colonel in Hawaii. From there he was transferred to Hill Air Force Base and was Chief of Staff or second in command. When Rea died Gainer went downhill, Jay and Nedra helped Gainer deal with his loss and loneliness.
It was later in life during his stay in Barksdale, LA, that he was called to an office in the church. At that time Jay and Nedra decided to keep the word of wisdom and become active in the church.
Toward the end of his life he worked for Weber State college as a PR man. His skills worked perfectly for that role and he hired Nedra as his secretary. He served as a sealer in the Logan Temple.