Mrs. Carla Bachman Haas

Mrs. Carla Bachman Haas

The Carl O. and Ruth W. Bachman Memorial Scholarship was created in memory of a couple that made a lifelong commitment to education in Jefferson County. The award is given to a student who intends to transfer on to pursue a four-year degree, has demonstrated a dedication to pursuing academic goals and has an appreciation for liberal arts.

Carl O. Bachman, considered one of the county’s most respected and most capable attorneys during his 32 years of practice, served both as chairman of the Jefferson Community College Board of Trustees and as president of the Watertown Board of Education. His wife, Ruth, was an award-winning artist, who taught both from her home and as an adjunct professor for Jefferson Community College.

Carl Bachman “was a great lawyer, a fine gentleman and a swell friend,” George P. McAloon, then president of the Jefferson County Bar Association, said when Mr. Bachman passed away in 1978. “He was an able trail man and good adversary who served his county and state extremely well.” The Supreme Court Judge J. Robert Lynch at the time eulogized Mr. Bachman as “the foremost trial attorney in Northern New York.”

Born in Watertown January 4, 1916, Mr. Bachman was the son of C. Otto and Marie A. Gettings Bachman. He graduated from Watertown High School in 1933 and Syracuse University in 1937, going on to earn his law degree from Columbia Law School in 1940. He was admitted to the New York State Bar on May 22, 1941.

Mr. Bachman worked from 1940 to 1941 as an adjuster with the Utica Mutual Insurance Co. in Utica, NY. And from 1941 to 1943 as an investigator with the United States Civil Service Commission in New York City.

He entered the Army in 1943, serving with the Third Army in France, Luxembourg and Germany in the 91st Chemical Mortar Battalion. He received both the Bronze Star and three battle stars, and achieved the rank of sergeant.

In 1946, Mr. Bachman returned to civilian life, becoming associated with the law firm of Tripp & Dunk. He became a partner in 1952 when the firm changed its name to Dunk, Conboy, McKay and Bachman. It later became Conboy, McKay, Bachman and Kendall.

Attorney Bachman was admitted to the northern district of the U.S. District Court of Appeals in 1960 and the second circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals in 1967. He concentrated his law practice for more than 30 years in the State Supreme Court. Active in the Republican Party, he was a candidate in 1975 for the position of Supreme Court Judge in the Fifth Judicial District.

He was active in many professional organizations, including the county, state and American bar associations, and also was involved in many civic organizations, including the Watertown Community Chest (later the United Way of Jefferson County) and the tri-county Girl Scouts, the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District, March of Dimes, Watertown YMCA and Syracuse University Alumni Association. He was long active in the First Presbyterian Church, and had served both as an elder, trustee, and president of the board of trustees.

Mr. Bachman was elected to the Watertown Board of Education in 1955, and served until 1961. He was elected board president in 1958. In 1961, Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller appointed Mr. Bachman to the first Jefferson Community College board of trustees. He served as its chairman from 1967 to 1970.

Mr. Bachman died on March 14, 1978.

Mrs. Ruth Bachman was born May 30, 1916, in Dayton, Ohio, daughter of John and Evelyn Mayer. She graduated in 1934 from Steele High School in Dayton, and attended the Dayton Art Institute.

She met Mr. Bachman in Dayton, where he and his mother had temporarily moved to live with his aunt while his father was working in the hinterlands of Michigan and Quebec in the pulp and paper industry. She was in the third grade, and he was in the fourth. Although Mr. Bachman and his mother returned to Watertown before he completed grade school, they were back in Dayton again by the time he entered junior high school. Mr. Bachman rekindled his friendship with the future Mrs. Bachman at that time. He returned again to Watertown finishing high school, and their friendship was not reestablished until Mr. Bachman was attending Syracuse University.

In 1934, the former Ruth Mayer had been awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Chicago. Due to the Great Depression, however, she chose to stay home and help support her family. Working as a bookkeeper in the pattern division at the McCall’s Corporation, she was able to support her parents and herself for six years. She left the position when she married Mr. Bachman on Sept. 21, 1940 in Dayton.

Although she was not able to attend the University of Chicago, Mrs. Bachman did complete the sculpture program at the Dayton Art Institute. Mrs. Bachman continued to be an accomplished artist and teacher following the couple’s move to Watertown in 1946. She was a founding member of the North Country Artists Guild, and served in many capacities for that organization throughout the years. Always the “arty” type, her daughter Carla Bachman Haas describes her mother as “a remarkable woman who did well at almost everything she tried.”

She taught art from her home and was also an instructor at Jefferson Community College. She ran a small business from her home as well, incorporating her interest in genealogy with her artistic talents by painting family crests for people.

Mrs. Bachman was also an avid sports fan. She loved baseball, and was a lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan. She had acquired her husband’s love of Syracuse University football, acquiring guest seats at the final S.U. game played at the old Archbold Stadium in return for her consistent and reliable attendance at the Syracuse University home football games.

A supporter of several community organizations, she was a leadership contributor in the Campaign for Jefferson, Jefferson Community College’s first-ever capital campaign.

Mrs. Bachman died July 20, 1997. She left a bequest in her husband’s memory to the Jefferson Community College Foundation.

The Bachmans had one daughter, Mrs. Carla W. Haas of Watertown. Mrs. Haas and her husband, Steven, have been active in their support of Jefferson Community College; Mr. Haas, like his father-in-law, is a past chairman of the College’s board of trustees.

The Jefferson Community College Foundation is grateful to Mrs. Carla Bachman Haas for creating this scholarship.