NORTH WATERBORO – Robert C. Bachelder was an intake officer at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, processing inmates coming into and leaving the facility.

Though being a corrections officer was a big part of his life, nothing compared to the love and devotion he had for his wife, Denise Bachelder, and their 4-year-old daughter Libbie.

Mr. Bachelder died Sunday from injuries sustained in an accident as he worked on his car. He was 34.

Every day since, Libbie has released balloons into the air for her father in “heaven,” her mother said.

“He put her to bed every night and read her a story and tucked her in,” his wife said Wednesday. “That was his real job. Libbie called him her best friend. They did everything together. They were two peas in a pod. She was his little sidekick, his pumpkin pie.”

Mr. Bachelder had been a corrections officer in Windham for the past 10 years or so. Scott Burnheimer, superintendent of the correctional center, said Mr. Bachelder was an exceptional officer, respected by both administration and inmates.

“He represented this institution well,” Burnheimer said. “He did a real nice job for us. We will certainly miss him, but we will never forget what he has done for us.”

Mr. Bachelder was the son of Robert and Bonnie Bachelder of Portland. In addition to his parents, he is survived by four sisters and a brother.

Mr. Bachelder spent part of his youth in Dorchester, Mass., and graduated from Cheverus High School in 1994. He was described Wednesday by his father as a jovial and kind-hearted man who loved his family and worked hard.

Robert Bachelder remembered the day his son said he wanted to try out for the Cheverus hockey team. His son wasn’t the most athletic kid, but at the end of the season, he got the most improved award.

“What he lacked in talent, he tried to overcome with hard work,” his father said, noting he applied the same work ethic to his job as a corrections officer.

A couple of hours before a private family wake Wednesday, his father talked openly about the day he learned his son had died.

“You feel everything drain out of you,” he said. “I’m devastated. He is one of my children and this is a void in my life that will never be filled. We always will have the love and memories, but I will never see his face walk through the door again or hear him laugh.”

Mr. Bachelder enjoyed hunting and four-wheeling and playing poker with his friends.

He was married to his wife for seven years. They met during training at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro.

Denise Bachelder recalled Wednesday the moment she knew she would marry him. About two months after they met, her father had open-heart surgery in New Jersey. Mr. Bachelder drove there without her knowing so he could be with her.

“I knew at that moment,” she said. “There was something about him. He loved life. He was someone that everyone loved. We were perfect together. He was my best friend.”

The couple spent Sunday afternoon together. When they returned home, she took a shower and did some things around the house. He worked on his car and was killed when the vehicle rolled onto him. His wife found him and called 911.

“It (felt) like my world was ending,” she said. “I don’t know how I can go on without him, but I know I have to because of Libbie. I don’t know how to be both of us. I’ll miss the way he was with Libbie. I’ll miss his smile and being able to roll over and know that he is there.”

Mr. Bachelder’s services will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. today at St. Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church in Limerick.

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:
[email protected]