Ellen Bachman, nee Anderson, passed away October 12, 2013. She and her twin sister were born in Los Angeles, Calif. the youngest two of eight children and the only two children of Elmer and Ella Anderson to be born in a hospital. From the start Ellen was fiercely independent, being born a couple minutes before midnight on January 5, 1924, while leaving her twin, Betty, to emerge on January 6, 1924. They spent their first four years on a farm in Zelzah (now Northridge), Calif. before their family moved to a 40 acre farm near Merced, Calif. The twins swam in the irrigation ditches, filched watermelons from neighboring farms, picked and wrapped tomatoes, went shopping with their father once a year for English walking shoes, listened to their father's radio, and were the lucky recipients of their mother's talents as a seamstress and a no-nonsense farm cook.
Ellen graduated from Merced High School in 1942. Ellen exhibited a talent for leading people and served as a supervisor in a number of work settings in southern California, this in a time when women were not frequently promoted to such roles. She married John Bachman in 1948 and they raised their daughter, Janet Cook (nee Richmond) in Hollydale, Calif. Her Hollydale backyard was the venue for many family reunions, centered on celebrating the birthday of her beautiful mother.
In 1982 she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis; understanding that exercise might deter the progression of that condition, Ellen became an ardent walker. After her retirement in 1985, she began organizing tours throughout the U.S. for seniors; those tours filled quickly because of her knack for organization and fun. In 1993, after building their retirement home, she and Johnny moved to Medford, Ore. Ellen had begun taking art classes while still in California, but once she arrived in Medford, she devoted herself to mastering watercolors and oils; she delighted in teaching her step-granddaughters how to paint; she tried her luck at Seven Feathers where she and her twin celebrated a number of birthdays. When she was widowed, she continued her art and gardening, growing roses for her still life compositions and watching the birds flock to her feeders.
In 2005, she moved to Royal Oak Retirement Community, where at age 83, she met the love of her life, L. Austin Hegarty. They delighted in sharing their artistic projects, organizing activities for their fellow residents, including bean bag baseball and appearances by an Elvis impersonator, and editing the newsletter. They shared a deep concern for current events and found the Democratic Party to be the hope of the future. A statuesque platinum blond, she developed a presence and sense of style that dazzled any room she entered.
Ellen was preceded in death by her devoted husband, Johnny Bachman; her parents, Elmer and Ella (nee Hamann) Anderson; and her seven siblings. She is survived by her loving daughter and son-in-law, Janet and Paul Cook of Medford, Ore.; her sons, Richard Winnor of Bethany Beach, Del. and Martin Hitt of Hemet, Calif., whom she gave up for adoption in 1946, the single act of her life that brought her the deepest regret. Other survivors dear to her are three grandchildren, Kristin Winnor, Todd Winnor, and Heather (Winnor) Nalls; seven step-grandchildren, including Deborah (Patrick) Smith of Central Point, Ore., Brenda (Clark) Messmer of Jacksonville, Ore., and Carl (Christal) Cook of Ridgefield, Wash.; seven step-great-grandchildren, including Michelle, Kimmie and Madison; 14 nieces and nephews; beau coup great-nieces and nephews; and a growing brood of great-great-nieces and nephews.
A funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m., Sunday, October 20, 2013, at Perl Funeral Home, 2100 Siskiyou Blvd., Medford, OR followed by a graveside service at Perl Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Multiple Sclerosis Society or the charity of one's choice.