In some respects, Carl Bachman was the wizard of Valentine's Day, a working man's Cupid who commanded an impressive fleet of vehicles to make sure every order taken by his family floral company, Bachman's, made it to the right address at the right time on one of its busiest days of the year.
A grandson of the company founder and a member of the third Bachman generation to run the company, Carl Bachman was the operations brain before he retired in 1989. He took care of building maintenance, including greenhouses, and construction in new locations for a company that started business in 1885 growing vegetables in what is now south Minneapolis.
But it was Valentine's Day that was Carl Bachman's biggest logistical challenge, with upward of 11,000 home and office deliveries in a single day, said cousin Stan Bachman.
"We used our own vehicles and hired 100 taxicabs to get the packages out," Stan Bachman recalled. "Carl was a doer. He was a very hard worker and dependable. Long hours didn't bother him at all. He would work from 3:30 in the morning until 11 at night when it was necessary."
Carl Bachman was 89 and living in Friendship Village in Bloomington when he died on June 29.
Stan Bachman said he and Carl were just six months apart in age and used to play in the family greenhouses during the winter and on the farm in the summer when they were kids. Chores included herding the Bachmans' three cows to and from a nearby pasture, and looking after chickens, geese and ducks for the family. They also trapped gophers, the scourge of any farming business.
After graduating from Washburn High School, Carl Bachman enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a tank commander in Germany during World War II.
When his service was completed, Carl Bachman returned to the family business with five other third-generation members of the family.
"The business was very small then and our generation built it up," Stan Bachman said. "We knew that if six of us wanted to make a living out of the business, we would have to grow it."
And grow it they did with new garden center locations, retail floral stores in Byerly's and Lund's grocery stores, and a greatly expanded nursery and greenhouse facility in Farmington.
Was Carl easygoing? "In a way. But he was all business. There's wasn't much fooling around with him," Stan Bachman said.
But when Carl Bachman relaxed, a lot of his entertainment involved the outdoors. He was a boating enthusiast, a water skier, snowmobiler and a fisherman. He also liked to travel.
"He was well rounded," Stan Bachman said.
He is survived by son Craig Bachman, daughter Martha (Mark) Baker, two grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and sister Luella Brucciani. He was preceded in death by his wife, Doris, brother Arthur Bachman Jr., sister Adeline Meine, one grandson and one great grandson.
Services have been held.