To the Expositor:
One of Gore Bay’s favorite longtime merchants, Klaus Bach, died from cancer in June, 2011. Legions of Manitoulin people loved this man, as I did. Charming, vibrant, enthusiastic, helpful, and oh so smart, Klaus listened to you, eager to get exactly what you needed, whether it was a health food supplement or dried mangoes. In his sharply pressed old time blue merchant’s coat, he welcomed all to The Island Pantry, the first international and bulk health foods store in Gore Bay.
Klaus Bach was among the core of the community of Gore Bay, sharing knowledge and friendship. He was Donna’s beloved husband and partner for 52 years, the cherished father of Andreas and Stefanie, and grandfather to Markus and Rebecca.
At his Memorial, family and friends told loving, humorous stories about Klaus, a tireless worker, always busy fixing something, eager to learn ways of health and being, mowing the lawn, riding his motorcycle and eager to share what he knew. Childhood friends from Germany told of Klaus’ ability to learn English and love American jazz. Klaus was a fine videographer, sharing travels with Donna and filming family activities.
Twenty years ago, I remember exactly when I entered Island Pantry to buy dried mangoes. It took Klaus ten minutes to call Donna at home: “A New York writer moved to Kagawong; she talks as fast as you!”
Thus began my cherished friendship with the Bach Family. I visited each summer and we explored Manitoulin, sang, swam, attended pow wows and Gore Bay Rotary Fish Dinners. Donna and Klaus often visited me in New York for midwinter breaks, where we attended theatre and heard jazz.
Last summer they moved to Guelph to be near their daughter Stefanie. I was thrilled to assist in hauling out treasures and books for their yard sale, making jokes as more and more was unveiled.
This week I drove into the driveway and looked at the silent, empty Bach house. Immersed in memories of beginnings and endings of friendships, laughter and sorrow, I heard our distant laughter of twenty years. Their unique home in Gore Bay is built into a hill on four acres. It was timely that they moved to Guelph with Klaus beginning to fail.
Now it’s Donna on her own path, maintaining her incredible spirit, strong, able, writing poetry, cooking, sewing, and telling stories to her grandchildren. Donna has given permission to include her address and phone. Write to Donna Bach at 146 Grange Street, Guelph, Ontario, N1E 2V6. Her phone is 226-486-1056.
New York City