MOUNT GILEAD — Mike Bachelder said he only wanted a small retirement party with his co-workers and a couple friends who had retired a few years ago from the court.
“I didn’t want a big party,” said Bachelder. “I just came here (the municipal court) to help out.”
Bachelder said his first retirement was in 2005 from Probst Supply, a plumbing equipment company in Mansfield and Marion which employed 62 people. He was a manager there for more than 30 years.
He said Judge Lee McClelland called him in 2006 and said he needed a probation officer. It was only supposed to be a temporary position – just for a couple weeks.
“I saw that I had the ability to help people as a probation officer and I enjoyed it,” said Bachelder. It was very different from my work as a manager at Probst where a lot of my work was with numbers.”
Then McClelland needed a bailiff and he did the two jobs together.
“He did it all,” said Tina Barton, one of the deputy clerks who are now retired. “He was probation officer and bailiff and kept things running smoothly.”
Bachelder also took his civic duties seriously and served 12 years on Mount Gilead Village Council and was on the Village Recreation Board for many years before being on council.
On his last day Friday, April 29 his co-workers organized a luncheon party that included barbecue pulled pork by Dave Burnaugh along with macaroni and cheese and cherry pie.
Co-workers Amy Braddock, Dana Clinedinst, Tyler Ison, Jeri Nida, Lindsay Uzunoff and the new Bailiff, John Conn joined in the fun along with retired court employees Vickie Matson and Tina Barton.
There was a lot of good natured teasing and his wife Nancy said they sure wouldn’t miss the 3 a.m. calls he got as a probation officer supervising offenders as ordered by the court.
Judge Jenifer Burnaugh said Bachelder has a good sense of humor and made stressful situations fun.
“One of the fundamental goals of municipal court is to have anyone in court proceedings feel they have been heard,” Burnaugh said. “Mike helps solve problems with license reinstatement and leads people through treatment opportunities.”
“Sometimes he lends an ear so people feel they have been heard,” said Burnaugh. “It’s a gift and something that can be trained. We’ve all benefited from his service to the court and the community.”