Thank you for the support and kindness during these difficult days. We are devastated by the loss of this gentle man who said so much with so few words.
It is with great sadness that the family of Gary Edward Bachers, 74, announces his passing on August 15 at his home in New Boston, Texas. He shared fifty years of marriage with his wife Gabrielle and defied all odds to create a new path for himself as an artist after a catastrophic stroke left him disabled at age 38.
Born in Winnipeg, Canada, he was the son of John and Marguerite. He graduated from the University of Manitoba, winning the prestigious gold medal for science as an undergraduate, and going on to earn a master’s degree in organic chemistry, and a medical degree. Following graduation, he was recruited by New Boston General Hospital as a family practice physician in 1977 and moved to New Boston with his wife and their first two children.
After only ten years as a popular doctor in New Boston, he suffered a massive stroke at age 38. Left with expressive aphasia and paralysis on the right side of his body, he was forced to retire from medicine.
In the final three decades of his life, he transcended his disability and created a new career for himself as an independent professional artist, a skill he discovered during stroke rehabilitation and mastered over several years. After winning multiple best-of-show awards at the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council juried art exhibition in the 1990s, he began traveling with his wife around the country to art shows and festivals, where he won top awards for his intricate wax-pencil drawings which usually feature the motif of a full moon. His exhibitions were called “Silent Conversations,” referring in part to his aphasia following the stroke, and to his discovery of a new visual language of art.
Family and friends will fondly remember him for his love of the piano, which he played daily since childhood, almost choosing the path of concert pianist while in college. Among his passions were his koi pond filled with tropical water lilies, the novels of Iris Murdoch, Gary Larson cartoons, and Converse All-Stars.
Gary is survived by loved ones who will miss him dearly.
As I was preparing for an upcoming show I had to fill out some forms. Funny how it seems perfectly natural now to write Gary and Gabrielle Bachers .....we come as a package deal. Gary lost the ability to converse or to put his thoughts into written word when he had his stroke.....really hard to understand or make sense of. Expressive aphasia is frustrating and limiting on so many levels and he has lived like this for 34 years.
His incredible patience in dealing with his losses always amazes me.
His art has become his language.
I posted this on social media a few months go and just wanted it to save it in this new blog as well.
A portrait of the artist and his "voice."
Many of you that follow Gary's work on social media may not know that I am Gabrielle.......his voice for the past 34 years.......and you'll always find me beside Gary ...... I speak for him and I write for him.
When there is a post by Gary....... it's me.
When you get an email from Gary.....it's me
In 1987 ...... in a matter of seconds his life changed.
He could not speak and he could not write...he was isolated.
He could not communicate.
He had a hemorrhagic stroke.
Very slowly he learned a new language that gave him a voice.....the language of art.
Today, he continues his art and I continue to be his voice.
This morning as I'm framing Gary's work for a show next week, my mind keeps wandering back over the past 34 years . This journey of our life in retrospect is nothing we planned for or imagined. It's been a struggle, challenging and exasperating at times......lonely and isolated at times. Gary, from the beginning, was determined and very much committed to perfecting his style. His struggle in the initial years after his debilitating stroke were especially challenging, but more about that later.
Welcome to this little blog ... the backside of our life.