Tuesday 3 November 2009

A life well-lived

A life-well lived. That’s how one would sum up Marty Baechler’s life. Martin David Baechler was a Goderich boy, the son of Betty and Con Baechler and eldest brother to Darrell, Lynda, Dale and Jeff. He attended public school in Goderich and then GDCI. Marty became interested in music at an early age and began his musical career as a member of “The Four Teens”. After four months of practicing, four local boys formed a band of their own in the late 50s. They played in Seaforth, The Goderich Pavilion, on CKNX-TV and various town functions. From a newspaper article: “The young instrumentalists have no plans for a musical career yet, but think of the group as a hobby, says Marty Baechler, unofficial “leader” of the group.” That did not prove to be true. Marty helped form “The Strato-Tones” in the early 60s and became Jimmy Finch – his stage name. The group got their big break when they were booked into the world famous Peppermint Lounge in New York City and toured the south-eastern US. After that they cut their first record, “Sneakin’ Around”. As a result, fans demanded personal appearances at clubs and on TV. They appeared numerous times on CFTO’s popular teen program ‘After Four’. The Strato-Tones stayed together for over 5 years. Marty went into the booking business for about a year and a half before the formation of the “Oriental Mod Squad”. He had his goal set on Las Vegas and he made it. In 1970, that group played Caesars Palace. Also playing in Nero’s Nook (as the “Oriental Squad”) at the same time was Thelma Houston, while acts such as The 5th Dimension played the main lounge. In August of 1970, Marty and the Oriental Mod Squad made front page news by returning to Goderich for his sister, Lynda’s wedding. Since they were coming to Goderich, they were booked into The Pizza Patio (now The Candlelight). From that Goderich Signal-Star article: “The Pizza Patio was packed for the group’s week long stay. Parking lots overflowed, tables were as scarce as diamonds in a lily pond, even elbow room at the doors was at a premium.” As Ray Allin (Lynda’s husband and Marty’s brother-in-law) remembers, “The place was packed to the rafters.” From that same article: “We feel sure you will agree it’s always nice to hear about a hometown boy making good.”

If Marty thought he’d found success in life by this point, he would come to find his success had just begun. He met Karen Palmer, also a Goderich girl, daughter of Walter Palmer and Eileen Palmer in 1972 and on August 2, 1975 she officially joined him in his journey through life. Marty’s musical accomplishments were eclipsed by his phenomenal relationship with Karen. The pair had a very successful career with the Toronto-based accessories design firm behind the "Karen Palmer" label, which began under the direction of Karen in 1984. Marty had been international vice-president of one of North America’s largest booking agencies until he joined Karen in 1987. They had great success, being featured numerous times in publications such as Women’s Wear Daily in New York, Flare and Chatelaine. You could find “Karen Palmer” accessories in Holt Renfrew and upscale fashion boutiques throughout North America.
Right until the end, Karen was by his side. She was there as he peacefully slipped out of this life on October 24, 2009.

A funeral mass will be held at St. Peter's Church in Goderich on November 7, 2009 at 11 am. Refreshments and a celebration of his life will follow in the church hall.

The family would appreciate your help to establish The Marty Baechler Memorial Scholarship at the Goderich District Collegiate Institute. Donations can be made to the Avon Maitland District School Board, 62 Chalk St. N., Seaforth, On. N0K 1W0

Put together by Jacki Yovanoff
From articles in The Goderich Signal-Star and The London Free Press


Mary Colwell said...

Jacki you sure have a talent with words!! You express things in such an eloquent manner. I hope you also give Karen a copy of this -- I'm sure it would mean so much to her.
(( HUGS ))to you and your family during this sad time.

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