Kenneth Bacheller, ’36, was an airplane engineer before and throughout World War II, while living on both the East and West Coasts. But where he will be most remembered is in sunny south Florida for a career as a builder in the booming real estate business.
“The houses that my sister and I live in, he built them,” said Suzanne Bacheller, one of two daughters who survive him. “He built many houses and condos over the course of lots of years. I’m proud of that. He contributed to a lot of people’s lives.”
Bacheller was born on March 26, 1917, in Lynn, MA. He attended Wentworth and married Ann Jean in 1940 before heading to California to continue work in the aircraft business. Then, in 1947, he and his wife headed to Fort Lauderdale, FL.
“He saw the opportunity and became a builder,” Suzanne said. “He really jumped into it.” Throughout the fifties, sixties, and seventies, Bacheller built houses, hotels, and condominiums.
In 1977, he retired and moved to Delray Beach, enjoying a more leisurely lifestyle of golf and travel throughout the country—especially to Arizona—with his wife. The two were married almost 68 years.
Suzanne remembers his family devotion. “He always said, ‘I just want to take care of my girls,’” Suzanne said. She also recalls how friends and colleagues always turned to him for advice for any problem from business to personal. “He had a very analytical mind,” Suzanne said. “Everybody mentioned that he could calculate anything in his head extremely quickly.”
That mind certainly helped at Wentworth, which Bacheller remembered fondly. As he got older—still a short but powerfully built man, said Suzanne— he thought a lot about his earliest memories. In 1997, he created the Kenneth G. Bacheller Charitable Foundation and included Wentworth in an annual scholarship donation.
“He wanted to do things for people he remembered from his early days, and that was Wentworth,” Suzanne said. Now she and her sister, Kay Bacheller, continue to manage the foundation in the way their father would have wanted.
“The best we can do for him is to fulfill his wishes,” Suzanne said. “We loved him and we miss him.” Bacheller died on February 26, 2012. In addition to his two daughters, Suzanne and Kay, he is survived by his nephew, John Bacheller. —KIMBERLY THORPE