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Albert Bachand, 88

February 26, 2003

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Albert Bachand, 88, of 48 Champagne Ave., The Spruces, a longtime area businessman and founder of The Spruces Mobile Home Park, died Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2003, at Sweet Brook Care Centers, where he was admitted Nov. 12, 1998.

Mr. Bachand was a self-made millionaire, world traveler and inventor. During his lifetime, he claimed to have founded more than 30 businesses, from selling government surplus and producing concrete drainage pipes to making grandfathers' clocks and designing and selling construction office trailers.

Best known for establishing The Spruces retirement community on the North Adams-Williamstown town line in 1954, he built several attractions there, including a windmill, lighthouse, recreation building, lion gates and a 102-foot-long covered bridge. In the 1960s, he operated the "Whispering Fountains" in the lighthouse pond, which with 1,500 water jets, was one of the largest water displays of its type in the country.

He owned numerous properties, including the nearby barn on Route 2 that became the former Country Peddlar store. He started World Travelogues Co., Dating Service of Prestige and the Courtesy Club of America, and became the first snowmobile dealer in the area.

"I started a business and quit to start a bigger one," Bachand told The Eagle in 1980. He said his only failure was the Houghton School, which he purchased from the city of North Adams to sell to a private investor to fund a tourist tower near Witt's Ledge in the city. But the school was eventually demolished, the tower never built.

Mr. Bachand left school at the age 14 to begin working in the former Hoosac Cotton Mills. A $50 loan started him on his first venture, a junk business, at age 21. He joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933 as a forester and worked on the Mount Greylock campground, and opened an Indian Cycle Shop in North Adams in the 1940s.

His enthusiasm to try new things covered a wide range. In 1942, he made a one-day canoe trip down the Hoosac River from North Adams to the Hudson River in New York. He took a 48-state tour on an Indian motorcycle in 1948 as a promotion for the former manufacturer, completing the trip in 45 days. He became interested in spelunking, and claimed to have explored every known cave within 50 miles and was cited in Clay Perry's book "Underground New England."

Mr. Bachand fulfilled his prediction to retire at age 50 in 1965 by "retiring" from active business. He sold The Spruces in 1968 and, over the next several years, toured more than 160 countries, making narrated slide travelogues that he showed to area groups. He later donated more than 300 mementos from his trips to the North Adams Public Library.

Born in Adams on Feb. 8, 1915, son of Albert and Albina Cyr Bachand, he moved to North Adams as a child with his family and attended the former Notre Dame School. Mostly self-educated, he later attended 15 years of evening classes at Drury High School, taking courses in drafting and human relations and other subjects, and graduated from four Dale Carnegie courses, the Reppert School of Auctioneering, the Weber School of Hypnotism and the American Institute of Hypnosis. He was an avid reader.

He joined the Navy Seabees in 1943 as a petty officer, first class with a machinist's mate rating. He was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines, and took courses through the Armed Forces Institute in typing, psychology and business administration.

He established the Berkshire Motorcycle Club and originated the Phantom Tire Hunt, an annual event of the Fall Foliage Festival. He also made a narrated slide history of the city of North Adams for the festival.

In 1963, he took U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy to the top of Mount Greylock so he and his guide could ski down the Thunderbolt Trail. He followed them on a snowmobile in case of problems. He promoted snowmobile racing up Mount Greylock in the early 1960s, and later advocated for a tramway and skyline trail along the Hoosac Mountain range.

He enjoyed genealogy, tracing his family back to the 1600s in France and was a well-known contributor to the "Letters to the Editor" section of The North Adams Transcript.

Mr. Bachand belonged to numerous organizations, including the North Adams Kiwanis Club, Mohawk Trail Association, Williamstown Board of Trade, North Adams Chamber of Commerce, and the Steering Committee of the New England Mobile Home Association. He was appointed to two terms as a Massachusetts Mobile Home commissioner by former Gov. John Volpe and was a 45-year member of the Williamstown Grange. He spent a short time as a volunteer officer with the Williamstown Police Department and was a member of the American Legion, VFW, Founders Club of Assumption College and several travel clubs.

His first wife, the former Beatrice Champagne, died in the early 1940s.

He leaves four daughters from his marriage to Theresa Champagne Bachand Roberts of North Adams, Nancy Roy and Alice Vigna, both of North Adams, Celeste Daniels of Heath and Annette Dudley of Succasunna, N.J.; a sister, Malvina Jolin of Williamstown; nine grandchildren, Stephen Roy and Laurie Palmer of North Adams, Matthew Vigna of Brattleboro, Vt., Gregory Vigna of Williamstown, Sarah Alves of Adams, Jacob and Jonathon Daniels of Heath and Benjamin and Julie Dudley of Succasunna; four great-grandchildren, Toby and Timothy Alves of Adams, and Olivia and Isaac Palmer of North Adams.

Two brothers, Alcide and Noel Bachand, and three sisters, Edna Charron, Delina Hickey and Lorianna Richards, predeceased him.

FUNERAL NOTICE — The funeral for Mr. Bachand will be Saturday, March 1, at 10 at AUGE-SAN SOUCIE-SIMMONS FUNERAL HOME, 46 North Church St., North Adams. A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 in Our Lady of Mercy Church, North Adams. Burial will follow in Southview Cemetery, North Adams.

Calling hours at the funeral home will be Friday from 5 to 8. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in his memory be made to the activities program at Sweet Brook Care Center through the funeral home.


Recollections & Sympathy For the Family
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I met Albert Bachand at the Spruces in 1993 We talked about his adventures. I never met a man like Albert Bachand, he has been to so many places and seen so much.I enjoy his company and will never forget him.Before leaving he gave me his book and signed it. He was a good man
Nicholas Augello

PS If anyone would like to contact me they can reach me at my wife email address joanneaugello@yahoo.com


from: nicholas augelloon: 01-01-2013

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