Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Our hearts are saddened with the loss of Neil Bach, co-founder of our museum along with Dal Estes, and a good friend to all.
This excellent article by Sheila Shelton appeared in the Pontiac Daily Leader on Monday, November 30.
"Neil Bach is being remembered as a strong, caring individual who really believed in working to make Pontiac the best community it could be. Bach, 88, died Thanksgiving Day and his funeral is scheduled for this Thursday at 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Pontiac.
Bach had a long banking career that started in 1949 at the Bank of Pontiac. He remained at the bank until his retirement. He served as president of Pontiac Bancorp from 1977 - 85 and as chairman of the Board of Directors from 1983 - 91.H. Wayne Taylor, president of the bank of Pontiac, said Bach always remained interested in how things were going at the bank. 'Even after his retirement he remained very interested in what the bank was doing and what was happening in the banking business', Taylor said. 'Neil was a very positive, very strong person and very possibly the most positive thinking person I've ever met. He fueled all of these attributes together into a strong support for the community'.
"Neil had so many insights into so many things about business and people and he shared those insights drawing on experience. He was very generous about sharing information and insights and this was all coupled with a wonderful sense of humor. He always maintained the ability to laugh at himself', Tahlor added.
Bach served on the Apollos Camp and Bennet Humiston trust from 1959 until 2006. He had also served on the Floyd and Alta Byrne Trust for many years until retiring from that the same year. In an interview with the Daily Leader in 2006 on the occasion of his retirement from the trusts, Bach talked about why he was making changes. 'Age is the reason I'm leaving. I am 85 years old. I would like to see someone new and more familiar with the business of Pontiac as it exists today serve on the boards of the trusts', said Bach.
Pontiac Realtor Louis Lyons, who served on the trusts with Bach, spoke Sunday about his remembrances of Bach. 'Neil was always just such a kind and honorable person. He was always concerned about the community and serving its best interests' said Lyons. 'Whenever there was a fund drive for a new building in Pontiac Neil was right out there ready to step forward and be counted. He had a great sense of humor and was never afraid to laugh at himself. He was a gentle, gentle, man, a true gentleman.
Bach served in the U.S. Army Air Force from 1942 - 45 where he was assigned to the China/Burma/India Theater. As an air crewmember, he flew 112 missions over "The Hump" (The Himalaya Mountains) and was awarded three battle stars, the Air Medal with cluster and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Veterans were people that Bach never forgot and during the past several years he had volunteered many hours at the Livingston County War Museum. Jack Murphy of Pontiac spoke about Bach and the role he played at the museum. 'Neil was one of the people most responsible for getting the museum off the ground. He worked to make it what it is today',said Murphy. 'He was very supportive of Pontiac and all the veterans from here and a joy to work with and call a friend'.
Betty Estes, whose late husband, Dal, was very involved in the formulation of the museum, spoke about Bach and her thoughts.'Neil was one of the most wonderful, giving, charitable persons I've ever known. He never judged people by what they had or the lack of what they had. I believe there are angels among us and I always felt Neil was one of them', said Estes."