Following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s, Pierre L. “Pete” Bacheller passed away Sunday, September 14, 2008 at St. John’s Lutheran Home. Although diminished by disease, Pete remained, to the end, the charming, loving, and loveable man that he was throughout his life time.
Pete was born April 22, 1921 in Aberdeen, South Dakota, to Frank and Jean Bacheller. Jean was widowed before Pete’s birth and remarried Fred Huntington, the staid and proper man Pete always knew as “Dad”.
Pete was raised in Billings, Montana where he attended Billings Senior High School. Shortly after his graduation, upon the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor, Pete enlisted in the United States Army, where he served in the European Theater in the Air Corps Intelligence. Although he was stationed in active operation areas in Italy, Egypt, and England, he always modestly referred to his service as “paragraph trooper in the chair corps”.
Following his honorable discharge, Pete met the blonde-haired, blue- eyed woman who stole his heart for a lifetime. Pete married Bonnie Lou Cassidy in 1946. They had three children, Annette, Pete, and Melissa. Pete worked in the tire business as a salesman ultimately starting his own business, Interstate Tire Treads.
Over the years, Pete gave fully of himself to his family, friends, and community. He was a man who never met a stranger, and Pete was forever waving hellos, wishing a good day to, or stopping to visit with any passerby. Pete loved to golf and was a member of both the Hilands Golf Club and Yellowstone Country Club. Pete also loved to fish, especially on the stretch of the Stillwater River near Beehive, where he spent his summers as a boy.
Pete was also a member of the Al Bedoo Shrine and Ashlar Lodge Number 29 of Billings. While working long hours to nurture his business and spending wonderful time with family and friends were gratifying to Pete, he was most proud of his appointed service on the Montana Highway Commission, where he worked diligently to improve Montana’s Highway System.
Pete was a generous, gregarious, optimistic and infectiously enthusiastic man. He loved his life; he loved his family; he loved living in Montana and all loved him back. His passing leaves us all diminished.
Pete was preceded in death by his wife Bonnie, brother Frank, and sister Nancy. He is survived by his children, Annette Bacheller of Billings, Pete Bacheller of Billings, Melissa Smith (David) of Fort Collins, Colorado, and granddaughter Anna Daron Bacheller of Billings. Any mention of survivors would be incomplete without the inclusion of daughter-in-law JoAnn Corson Bacheller of Billings, whom he adored.
Cremation has taken place. Memorial Services will be held at 10:00 A.M., Thursday, September 18, at Kathy Lillis Chapel on the Campus of St. John’s Lutheran Ministries.
Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Cottage Program at St. John’s Lutheran Home or the Charity of one’s choice.
Our special regards to all the family, Rad, Loree and Virginia Payne. Mom (Virginia) told Loree and me that Pete taught her to dance at her parents home on Clark when she was in high school. Pete was a very close friend of Virginia’s brother, Dick Schaal,as they were in high school together. Our thoughts are with you all.
Annette, Pete and Melissa,
I was saddened to hear about the death of your Dad. I have special memories of your Dad as I was growing up on Mariposa. I especially remember ironing his and Pete’s shirts so I could hang out with you Annette. Having lost my own father, I know the hole it leaves in your heart. May God bless all of you and you are all in my heart and prayers.
Joan (Rydberg) Cross