obit template2018-11-29T12:10:12+00:00

John Bernhardt

Dearly loved and truly missed, John Bach will be remembered fondly for his devotion and dedication to the family he loved and the community he served. With notable artistic talents and solid carpentry skills, John’s occasional works of art have been shared with family and close friends. His love for the outdoors often times found John fishing at every opportunity during his younger years; and gardening and landscaping were also known to bring him great joy. Being surrounded by family, however, was genuinely John’s favorite place to be.

By 1932, America’s economy continued to deteriorate as a result of the Great Depression. Unemployment increased with an astounding 13 million people out of work and many struggled to keep their families fed, a roof over their heads, and a dime in their pockets. As the world of entertainment grew, it came to be a welcome deviation from everyday worries. For Oswald and Thirza (Harrison) Bach, a couple of German descendants, the New Year holiday of 1932 offered promise as they celebrated the January 2nd birth of their only son, John Bernhardt Bach.

John’s father supported his family as a professional studio photographer while his mother looked after their bustling household of five children. As the fourth child, John grew up alongside his sisters, Lorna, Ellen and Carol. Their youngest sister, Margery sadly lost her life to scarlet fever early in her childhood years. The Bach’s made their home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where John was born and raised. During his formative years, music was quite prevalent in his family.

Although he never played an instrument, John thoroughly enjoyed music and was a proud descendant of Christopher Bach who was an icon of Milwaukee music from 1854 to 1927, with family heritage going back to Germany, the home of the great Johann Sebastian Bach.

Having enjoyed a typical childhood for the times, John found his share of adventure as a boy. During his youth, he witnessed the results that the Great Depression left behind which ended with the onset of World War II. It was a trying period for his family as they observed the travesties of this war and worried about extended family who continued to live on German soil. Meanwhile, John attended the area schools, and he later graduated in 1951 from Rufus King High School.

With his education behind him, John joined the 43rd Infantry Division of the U.S. Army in 1952 during the Korean War, serving with the 192nd Field Artillery Battalion in Germany. He enjoyed participating in organized baseball and informal baseball games with his buddies and taking pictures during his years away. Stationed in Germany, it was quite an experience for him to walk the land of his heritage before his honorable discharge in January of 1954. After returning home to Milwaukee, John took on a few jobs before beginning to work in 1957 as a police officer with the Fifth District of the Milwaukee Police Department. Once again, he returned to his love of baseball as he participated in more casual league games during his time on the force. John remained a faithful servant of his community for 37 years prior to retiring from the department in 1992.

As a police officer, John came face to face with a variety of circumstances throughout the years, and had a close call a time or two. More importantly, John formed many good friendships during his time with the MPD. In fact, John met his future wife while on patrol. Having stopped at a local restaurant called the Pig & Whistle for a bite to eat, the carhop serving him was a young lady named Vietta Bishop. The pair soon began to date, and eventually married. As husband and wife, John and Vietta were blessed with five children: Michael, Christopher, Curtis, Lori and Mary.

John and his family enjoyed vacationing in Northern Wisconsin where numerous memorable times were shared. He loved taking the kids fishing, but they had to be at least five years old in order to enjoy this endeavor. John could be stubborn at times, and possessed a pretty strong will. He was also a stickler for detail which he often demonstrated at their family home on Bobolink Avenue in Milwaukee. John spent his free time using his remarkable artistic talents, and involved himself in many projects including landscaping, carpentry, general fix-it projects and woodworking. His attention to detail and perfection was evident in everything he did.

John also enjoyed family get-togethers. He had a passion for making people happy in his home, and did so as a wonderful chef. With his appreciation for music, he enjoyed a good melody and also liked to watch old movies; his particular fondness for Doris Day movies was not a secret. John loved the outdoors, and was especially keen on fishing and working in his yard and gardens. He relished a well-played baseball game and was known to reminisce about the ballgames he played throughout the years he spent serving his country and his community. John was a passionate and spirited fan of the Milwaukee Brewers and the Green Bay Packers; he often adorned their apparel, regardless of the season. Foremost, John was a devoted father to his children, and remained so even after his marriage to Vietta ended in divorce in 1991.

Over the years, John enjoyed the companionship of his loyal pets Cindy, Putzi, Napper, Luna, and Barney. He also was a member of the Henry L. Palmer Masonic Lodge # 301 F&AM of Wisconsin. In time, and the same year he retired, John married his second wife Sharon (Sommers) in 1992. Life was going good for John, but the death of his daughter Lori in 1995 proved to be a very difficult time for him as well as his family. He relied on his artistic abilities to keep himself busy during his time of coping and grief. As always, he enjoyed sharing time with family and was a loving grandfather to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

After 20 years, John’s marriage to Sharon eventually ended in 2012. Although his health began to fail in recent years, John’s love of life, stubbornness and strong will kept him fighting until he could fight no more. On Thursday, July 24, 2014, John sadly lost his battle with life surrounded by the family he dearly loved. Deeply missed, John will always have a special place in the hearts of those who knew and loved him well.

John Bernhardt Bach, age 82, entered into his eternal life on July 24, 2014. The only son of Oswald and Thirza (Harrison) Bach, he was preceded in death by his parents, and his older sisters, Lorna McCanna and Ellen Savasta; his younger sister, Margery Bach; his first wife, Vietta Bach; and his daughter, Lori Bach. John is survived by his sister, Carol Schneider of Menomonee Falls, WI; his sons, Michael (Julie) Bach of Mequon, WI, Christopher Bach of Milwaukee, WI, Curtis (Kara) Bach of Whitefish Bay, WI; and his daughter, Mary (Al) Stick of Oconomowoc, WI. John was the loving grandfather of Jessica, Tricia, Matthew, Ciara, Lauren, Alexis, Izabella, Sophia, Joshua, Amanda, Matt, and Sarah; and also a great-grandfather to Hannah, Noah, and Elijah. John is further survived by many wonderful nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Visitation with John’s family will take place Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at Wisconsin Memorial Park – Chapel of The Chimes, 13235 W. Capitol Drive in Brookfield, WI from 11:00 AM until time of the Funeral Service at 1:00 PM. Interment will follow. His family is being served by the Suminski Life Story Funeral Homes – Suminski/Weiss (414) 276-5122. To share a favorite memory or photo of John and to sign his online guest book, please visit

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