LOMA LINDA, Calif. – Lothar Bachmann of Auburn, born on June 10, 1942, in Ahlhorn, Germany, passed gently away to heaven at 2:48 p.m. on Oct. 8, at Loma Linda University Medical Center. At his bedside were with his wife, Holly, daughter, Susie, brother Ekkehard, and sister-in-law Massie, singing and praying for him.
Lothar had battled for 4 years of miraculous effort a long illness from causes still being researched, but with two types of confirmed Lyme disease. Symptoms were medically classified as myelodysplastic syndrome, which then transitioned in June of 2007, to acute myeloid leukemia. Both medical classifications have no confirmed causes in Lothar’s case (typically chemotherapy, radiation, diesel exhaust and/or benzene poisoning can cause these conditions but Lothar had mostly no prior exposure to these). Symptoms are typically severe anemia and resultant affects.
He and his wife, Holly, worked heavily into researching his health condition, and eventually found Lyme disease as a possible issue. Unbeknownst to them at the time, 70% of tick bites do not produce the “rash” and even up to 10 different types of infection can come from one tick bite. The Bachmanns have since pushed for grass roots activism against Lyme disease and to promote the education, prevention and thorough treatment in the field.
It was also discovered later in the process of Lothar’s disease that “gram positive cocci in clusters” (a name given to the old “staph” infection, staphylococcus aureus, the microbe lately all over the news) was a common issue for Lothar, as effective white blood counts degenerated and his ability to fight off opportunistic diseases waned.
Injections of “G-CSF” Neupogen were used as medicine and helped give Lothar continued life extension, but because it is typically not used for leukemia, once the MDS transitioned into leukemia, the Bachmanns had to push for the right and amount of this medicine to be used. Possibly similar to how a diabetic needs insulin, in Lothar’s case, his leukemia needed G-CSF and EPO, which are growth factors to help him produce the necessary blood count levels to stay alive.
He was originally given 6 to 9 months to live but through determination, courage and inventive integrative medicine with research from all over the world, especially in Germany, he was able to live an excellent quality of life for a remarkable 4 additional years. He enjoyed travel and was an avid explorer and hiker of his beloved European Alps and native White Mountains.
Lothar’s mother was Hermine Schumacher, born in northern Germany, and father, Ernst Otto Max Bachmann born in Kiel, Germany. Lothar had four brothers, two deceased, Otto and Werner, and two surviving, Guenter of Ahlhorn, Germany, and Ekkehard of Montreal, Canada. Lothar had 3 sisters, Marie Louise Schwott, deceased and Erika Hattensaur, residing in Langweid, Germany, and Hildegard, residing in Troisdorf, Germany.
After graduating from Oldenburg Technical Schools in the 1950s, he was sponsored by his oldest sister, Marie Lousie, to immigrate to Canada, where career opportunities were much better than in Germany at the time. In 1960, he immigrated to Canada and continued engineering and language studies in Montreal. He also married, Lise Jette, in 1962, and had his first dear daughter, Susanne Bachmann, on June 6, 1963.
In the 1960s, he worked in mechanical engineering and design in the custom engineered metal fabrication field as well as for major mining companies in Canada. One of his favorite custom engineered projects was a complicated manned diving bell; one of the first with the ability to stay submerged for lengthy periods of time. He excelled in whatever he did and soon became the works manager of Stemac Ltd, a custom engineered products fabrication facility in Montreal.
Stemac was partially owned by a resident of the state of Maine, USA, who also owned another factory in Auburn, Maine. The management decided to move Lothar to the U.S. to work with the U.S. division.
Lothar moved to Maine in the early 1970s and proceeded to travel around New England coming up with solution oriented custom designed products for pulp and paper plants and other custom metal fabrications. He was also involved in the formation of Tuboflex when he signed license agreements with an expansion joint company in Germany. Soon supply to Allis Chalmers of Milwaukee for their steam turbine expansion joint systems and to other expansion joint customers commenced adding to the product line. A product line of non-metallic expansion joints was also added as well as a complete product line of dampers and large valve systems.
It was also around this time that Lothar’s brother, Ekkehard, from Montreal, joined him in his efforts and a factory in Montreal was added to the corporations.
Eventually factories and facilities in the Twin Cities of Lewiston and Auburn resulted in an expanded and comprehensive product line into custom engineered expansion joints and dampers, and other flow control devices for industrial and utility plants worldwide.
Lothar was named to the “Who’s Who of American Inventors” of 1991 and had past membership activities in Maine Association of Engineers, Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Institute, American Iron and Steel Engineering Association and other technical associations.
Lothar married Holly Lynn Smith, the daughter of David W. Smith and Christine A. Smith of Mechanic Falls, Maine, on February 11, 1984, and was married for 23 wonderful years. They shared the joy of working together and loving life in Maine, while traveling extensively on business to globally expand the operations as well as for the sheer pleasure of exploring different cultures and lands. Lothar was an avid, life-long student of history and humanities as well.
Lothar’s inventive ideas and ability to solve problems for customers gained him a world renowned reputation of an industrious and creative inventor. Eventually he achieved 22 patents in his lifetime, mostly related to flow control in air pollution abatement projects for utility and industrial plants.
Lothar’s patent awards include: “Double Louver Damper,” “Dampers with Leaf Spring Seals,” “Composite Blade for Dampers for Ducts of Large Cross Sectional Areas,” “Gas Flow Diverter,” “Valves for Use in Controlling the Flow of a Gas Stream Through Ducts of Large Cross Sectional Areas,” “Guillotine Damper,” “Flap Gate Assembly,” “Vertically Reciprocable Gates for the Control of a Liquid Media,” “Single Louver Damper with Double Seal,” “Expansion Joint” (captive angle type), “Fabric Expansion Joint for Exhaust Systems of Gas Turbines,” “Device for Sealing a Conduit Against the Flow of Liquid,” “Guillotine Dampers with Blade Sealing Means Accommodative of Thermal Expansion Forces.”
Lothar won the Small Business Administration’s Maine Businessman of the Year Award for the state of Maine in 1986 and went to Washington, D.C., to receive the honored award.
Lothar was an entrepreneurial force behind several companies in his career and the Bachmanns sold the first companies to San Diego Gas and Electric in 1990 and then retired for a brief period of time. During this first retirement, Lothar continued to travel with Holly, and generally enjoyed his life. Also during this time, the second dear daughter, Annalyn, was born on August 14, 1994.
Other business ventures were initiated over time and quickly became very successful, Phoenix Holdings, renamed later to Bachmann Industries Inc. This time, even larger engineered components and comprehensive full-scope systems, were supplied for utility and industrial flow control applications. This company also did very well and resulted in an acquisition by an Austrian engineering group, which then was re-acquired by a German company. Lothar became the director of several of the group’s companies.
Lothar’s talent for innovation and problem-solving saves millions of dollars for utility and industrial plants around the world still to this day, helping the earth in air pollution control and flow control applications. Bachmann (trademark held by Bachmann Industries Inc.) equipment is recognized worldwide for its quality and efficiency of operation.
He was always one to mentor and shepherd other individuals and helped support many individuals and their families in Maine and around the world. He was always very thankful of the efforts of the individual person, and promoted and mentored many individuals in the global community, including his dear and fun brother, Ekkehard Bachmann of Montreal, Canada, his future wife, Holly Smith of Mechanic Falls, Maine, his friends and colleagues, W. Fred Koch of Auburn, Maine, Michael Sellinger of Auburn, Maine, Luis Pino of Spain and Montreal, Walter Muzyka (deceased) of Lisbon Falls, Maine, and his entire family who all worked for Bachmann at one time or another, Alberto Salvato of Melbourne, Australia, John Honka of Montreal, Canada, Alfred Hassdenteufel of Kettwig, Germany, Priya Misra of Atlanta, Ga., Valerie Harmon of Brunswick, Maine, Roger Woodward of Dubai, Barry Pomerleau of Maine, Dan Kates of Manchester, Maine, and Ed Chan of Portland, Maine, Brad Hilton of Auburn, Maine, Reginald Gammon of Turner, Maine, Helen Zhao of Shanghai, China, Mr. Ubhi of India, as well as numerous others.
Lothar was a very loving father, husband, brother, uncle, colleague and friend to many. His hobbies included all outdoor sports and cooking, which the family gatherings truly enjoyed. One of his favorite relatives was Aunt Evie, Evangeline Smith of Auburn, who helped the Bachmanns with the kitties, home and details while traveling. During his illness, the efforts of Valerie Harmon, Pauline Quimby and Veronika Rodrigues as well as Aunt Robin, Uncle Bruce, Aunt Ann and Uncle Tom and Mimi (grandmother) enabled the Bachmanns to work and travel on Lothar’s health program. Neighbors Celine and Gerry Nadeau, Ed and Charlene Chapman, Sharon and Paul Raczynski, Sharon Moses were all great support and help through the battle. Special friends, Dr. Ray and nurse Janet Psonak also helped Lothar with his struggle. Bernd and Sabine Poppel of Hamburg, Germany, also helped with support during the struggle. Close friends Randy, Kim and Olivia Jackson of Auburn, and Laura and Rebekah Jett of Norway were great support for the Bachmanns.
The Bachmann family sincerely thanks these people and numerous others for their kindness, compassion and care. Special thanks also to Paul Brower and John King and the dedicated teachers and staff at Hebron Academy.
Lothar’s oldest daughter, Susie, was also so instrumental in his end-of-life care through her deep love and dedication for Dad while in California and helped enable the youngest daughter to stay in school in Maine, which was one of Lothar’s last and dearest wishes. Youngest daughter, Annie, continued to maintain her maturity and great attitude which was a huge support and source of happiness for Dad.
In his career, Lothar’s sacrifice of time and his extreme hard-working effort, his dedication to innovative technology in his field, and his attention to detail and quality, led to him being recognized and respected in the top of his field and as an industry leader.
However, it was very sad to note that his career was cut short starting in July of 2003, when he was found to have severe anemia and was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome and later discovered his Lyme disease. He did well fighting his illness by being open to new integrative medicine, including hyperthermia and innovative immune boosting programs from the St. Georg Klinik, and Dr. Friedrich Douwes of Bad Aibling, Germany, who the family dearly thanks and loves. Lothar’s health program also used targeted nutrition to fight off the disease.
Lothar had honor and courage to the very end. His patience toward the end for the long duration of hospital stay of 14 weeks at the Loma Linda University Medical Center under the care of world renowned, Dr. Chen, was remarkable. Lothar loved to discuss history, politics and world events with his dear extended family at the hospital.
His innovative contributions to humanity will continue to live on as his legacy and the family takes true comfort in his “majestic soul,” healthy and hiking again in the trails in heaven.
Lothar Bachmann’s legacy lives on also in the memories of all who knew this remarkable person. His life was a tribute to the idea of what one person can do to help the world and his memory, ideas and accomplishments will continue to inspire and influence current and future generations across the globe.