Helping group projects like the construction of Fairbank’s first swimming pool which opened in 1969, the restoration of Island Park in 1977 and the fire station in 1986, stand out in the owner’s service record of longtime Fairbanker, Larry Bachman. Larry and his wife, Rosemary, have been named grand marshals of the Fairbank Island Days parade.
The parade is due to leave this Saturday at 10:30 a.m., from Fairbank Elementary, where she served as a substitute paraeducator for a few years after her retirement.
The Bachmans moved to Fairbank from Jesup in May 1966 because Ed Humphrey had just hired Larry, a plumbing and heating specialist, to work for his construction company.
John and Sharon Woods started Fairbank Plumbing and Heating after their 1965 purchase of the former Peters Grocery building east of the funeral home, Sharon told the Fairbank Islander in January. Larry Bachman did some plumbing work for them.
In 1969 Bachman purchased Fairbank Plumbing and Heating from the John Woods family.
The Bachmans – Jesup High graduates Larry in 1963 and Rosemary in 1964 – had been married for less than two years with two young children, Brad and Brenda, when they found a rental home in Fairbank. They built a new house around 1968.
Once their basic needs were met, they began to get involved in the community.
Larry helped build Fairbank’s first swimming pool which opened in 1969, Rosemary said.
By the mid-1970s, Island Park had silted up on all sides and the Little Wapsipinicon River had to be carved around it to make an island, which a committee led in 1977. With Island Days this weekend, it is fitting of note Fairbank Island The restoration committee consisted of Larry Bachman, Jim Curley, Earl Bellis and Marilyn Steggall.
Larry joined the Fairbank Fire Department and remained a member for 37 years.
“The biggest thing that helped was that he (Larry) came into the fire department and we met people through the fire department,” Rosemary said. “It was a big part of our life.”
While at the department, Larry played competitive waterball and involved Rosemary. Larry’s team — with Ted Vorwald, Donnie Brandt and Gene Brandt — was competitive.
So much so that they won the national waterball tournament in 1982.
“When we moved here, we barely knew where Fairbank was,” Rosemary said, noting that they hadn’t yet ventured east from Jesup. “And we have never regretted our decision.
“We think it’s a beautiful city and we’re proud to be part of it,” she said. “Everyone helps when there is a project or a flood.”
They have four children, Brad, Brenda Sickles of Dunkerton, Becky Thurm of Anamosa, Barbara Lorenz of Marion; 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Rosemary, when she was not running a home daycare and raising her own children, helped with the books for the business. When her schedule permitted, she went to work in Waterloo — for Powers Manufacturing for 12 years and GMAC Mortgage customer service for 18 years. After her retirement, she filled in as a paraeducator at Fairbank Elementary for a few years.
Their eldest, Brad, took over ownership of Fairbank Plumbing and Heating seven years ago and operates it with his sons, Adam and Ben.
“It’s been in the family this whole time,” Rosemary said.
They have been married for 57 years, as of August 29.
The Bachmans are active members of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Fairbank.
“We never looked back, we decided it was our calling to be here,” Rosemary said.