Frank John Bacholzky was born April 1, 1928 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigaan to Frank J. Bachholzky (1907-1995) and Clara Yost Bachholzky (1909-1939). He was followed by sisters Barbara Jean Bachholzky and Katherine “Kitty” Bachholzky, and brother, Robert Bachholzky.
When Frank was eleven years old, his mother died in child birth and the baby did not survive. Frank’s father had a difficult time performing his job at Chrysler, raising four young children, and dealing with the death of his wife. Frank’s grandparents, John and Katherine Bachholzky had moved from Cincinnati to a farm on Gould Road in Berlin Township in St. Clair County in May of 1908. The four children were taken to live with their grandparents and Frank Sr. remained working at Chrysler in Detroit.
Note the difference in the spelling of the last name—two “h’s” instead of one. When Frank’s dad signed up for Social Security at Chrysler, his name was misspelled with only one “h” and his dad never corrected the error. Frank having just learned to spell and write his name altered the spelling to have only one “h.” By the time Frank’s brother Bob was ready to start school, the children were living with their grandparents, who spelled the name with two “h’s.” Bob learned to spell and write his name to match his grandparent’s spelling. Neither of the boys ever made the decision to change the way they spelled their name.
With the move to the farm on Gould Road, located between Allenton and Berville, Frank’s neighborhood playmates would grow up and go to school in Armada. Frank went to the one-room school house in Allenton and then to high school in Almont. He would graduate in 1945.
In high school, Frank was a star athlete. His senior year (1944-1945), the football, basketball, and baseball teams all won undefeated league championships. The 1944 football team was inducted into the Almont High School Athletic Hall of Fame in September 2017. They finished the season with seven wins, no losses, and one tie. Frank was a star halfback.
The 1944-1945 basketball team was inducted into the Almont High School Athletic Hall of Fame in the Halls’ initial class in February 2016. They went all the way to the state semi-finals before losing. Frank was a shooting guard.
His senior year, the baseball team had a 10 win and 2 loss season. Frank and Morris “Buck” Bannister each pitched six games. Frank’s record was four wins and two losses. The first loss (in the second game of a doubleheader) was on April 17 to Romeo, 2 to 5, but the Raider defense committed five errors. Buck won all his games. On May 6, Buck won against Imlay City. Buck threw a no-hitter and struck out 12. The Imlay City pitcher, Dietrich, almost matched Buck pitch for pitch. Dietrich only allowed one hit. That one hit was by Frank. Frank then stole second base, went to third on a wild pitch and scored the only run of the game on a passed ball for a final score 1
Frank was still athletically active into his sixties. He would play basketball on Sunday afternoons against men who were young enough to be his grandchildren. After three hours, the young guys were exhausted and wanted to go home. Frank was still the “Energizer Bunny” and ready to go, go, go.
On December 23, 1947, Frank’s father, Frank J. Bachholzky married for a second time. He married Regina H. “Virginia” Skop and they would have four more children, a boy and three girls— Donna Bacholzky, Patty Bacholzky, Richard Bacholzky, and Virginia Bacholzky.
In 1948 in Highland Park, Michigan, Frank married Barbara “Boots” Bowman (1929-2009). “Boots” was the daughter of Harry F. Bowman (1886-1952) and Trenna Belle Killam Bowman (1889-1964) of Almont. Daughter Carol Ann was born on December 16, 1948 and the twins, Frank and John were born in August 1950.
In August 1951, just after the twin’s first birthday, Boots and Frank moved into the tenant house on George Hoyt’s farm at 7666 Bordman Road. Frank tended bar at “Dutch’s” in Capac, and Boots was a stay at home mom. At that time, my family was living with my grandpa Hoyt on the farm. We now had built in play pals. For the next seven years, the six of us played and grew up together.
In the summer of 1958, Boots and Frank moved the family into town. Carol and the twins were among the few “country kids” that became “town kids.” They moved into the old parsonage for the Methodist Episcopal Church, built circa 1867, which is located on the southwest corner of Cherry Street and West St. Clair Street, across the street to the west of the library.
In 1960, Boots and Frank enrolled at Michigan State’s Oakland Branch in the charter class for what is now Oakland University to pursue finishing their teaching degrees. Mrs. Mary Spangler, the Almont Elementary School Principal, had encouraged them. Once they received their degrees, Mrs. Spangler hired them to teach in the elementary. Boots completed her degree in 1963 and was hired to teach third grade. Frank completed his degree in 1964 and was hired to teach fifth grade. Both Boots and Frank would get their master’s degree in teaching from Michigan State in 1969.
When Mrs. Spangler and the fourth grade teachers sat down to assign the fourth grade students to their fifth grade teacher, the students that were discipline problems were assigned to Frank. He was the first male teacher that any of these students had ever had.
Boots’s mother, Trenna Belle Killam Bowman (1889-1964), died in 1964 and Boots and Frank moved into the Bowman House at 322 South Main Street.
Beginning in 1965, Frank began coaching football and basketball at the high school. He kept the books or ran the clock for varsity basketball games.
By 1973, Carol, John, and Frank had graduated from college. Boots and Frank began a summer ritual. They would take a road trip each summer. Each year they would take a different route and see the country as they went to their time-share in Las Vegas. They would stay in Las Vegas a week or two. They would take in shows and do some gambling. Frank was pretty lucky. They would take a different route home doing more sightseeing.
In the mid-1980s, the principal position at the elementary had become a revolving door. No one stayed very long. Quality education requires stable leadership. In 1987, with the position open again, Frank applied for the position and was hired. In part, Frank took the principal’s job because he was becoming burned out constantly having the discipline problem children in his classroom.
In 1990, Boots and Frank retired. A large retirement party was thrown for them in Flint.
Though retired, Frank and Boots now had grandchildren who were playing sports, so they would still attend many of the school’s sporting events. They were there giving encouragement. Frank would come to practices and give the grandkids individual instruction. They watched two of their grandsons become state champions in the 800 meter run—John in 1995 and Nick in 1997.
Boots was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and lingered until October 6, 2008 and died at home. Frank seemed lost without her. He found it difficult to keep himself busy enough to not dwell on her absence. Frank passed away on March 18, 2011 in Rochester Hills. Both Boots and Frank were laid to rest in Hough Cemetery in Almont.
Copies of the Almont Historical Society’s various books can be purchased by contacting Jim Wade at 810-796-3355 or firstname.lastname@example.org or stopping by the museum on Saturdays from 1-4 p.m.