Recent Bret Harte gym honoree, onetime Calaveras athlete Bach dies

Bob Bach

Former Bret Harte High School administrator and Calaveras High School graduate Bob Bach died Sunday. He was 81.

Bach spent the majority of his life in Calaveras County. His family moved to Melones from Tennessee when he was a young child. Following the death of his mother and his father leaving town, Bach and his siblings were put up for adoption and he was eventually adopted by Fred and Hannah Bach of San Andreas.

Bach attended San Andreas Elementary School and then Calaveras High School. In high school, Bach was a multi-sport athlete, but excelled in football. After high school, he attended North Park University in Chicago. While in college, Bach continued to play sports. He played baseball and was a running back for the football team. In 2001, Bach was inducted into the North Park University Athletic Hall of Fame.

After graduating college, Bach met his future wife, Marlene, while working a summer job at Mission Springs Christian Camp and Conference Center in Scotts Valley near Santa Cruz. After two years of dating, the two married and were wed for 57 years. Bach and Marlene had four children: Dave, Dan, Mindi and Dusty.

Bach returned to Calaveras High School to teach and coach football. He stayed there until 1972, when he was offered a position at Bret Harte as a counselor and later as the director of instruction. In 1975, he became Bret Harte’s principal.

In 1977, Bach was named as the superintendent of the Bret Harte Union High School District and held the title for over a decade. In 1990, he was elected Calaveras County Superintendent of schools and was re-elected in 1994. Bach retired in 1998.

In Oct. 2020, the Bret Harte High School gymnasium was dedicated to Bach. During the ceremony, Bach said, “You know someone is only as successful as he is because of the people around him. And all of you have contributed to my life in so many ways and I thank you for that. And I want to wish that God bless all of you and your families. I want you to stay safe and healthy, especially in these weird times that we were having and that we all will ride it out in a safe manner. And so, thank you so much for coming and God bless you all. And keep your families safe and secure. Thank you so very much. And so, I thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. That you came here. You became part of it. You became part of me and I thank you so much.”

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