PITTSBURG — To several people, when they heard that Jack Bache was retiring, the joking response was: “sure he is.”
That’s because they’ve known Bache — who was executive director from 1982 to 2018 — has always been fully dedicated to the Pittsburg Family YMCA.
On June 6 at the Wilkinson Alumni Center the YMCA Board of Directors, friends and family, honored Bache with a retirement reception.

There were many surprises for Bache, which included a gift from the board, the announcement of the YMCA Jack Bache Fund for scholarships — starting with a lead gift of $50,000 in Bache’s honor from a friend of his — a proclamation from the City of Pittsburg and he was inducted into the Pittsburg YMCA Hall of Fame.

Bache said it “meant a great deal” for everyone to come together during the reception. He said he still remembers the first day he stepped in after becoming director.
“I thought, that’s something I always wanted to do,” Bache said tearing up, “be involved in recreation and be involved with young people … I remember the first day when I walked into the Y, I felt like the Lord asked me to come in here and make this place better, and so if you could leave something better than started that’s all could be asked of you.”

He always wanted to do more, Bache said, but there never seemed to be enough time to do everything in his vision. The many changes and growth the Y accomplished are credited to the staff at the facility, he said.

Bache started working as the director in 1982 after the current facility was built, but his relationship with YMCA began years before then. Bache participated in Y sports teams when he was a child and was in its programs throughout the years in Oklahoma City. Later, he began supervising at the Y.
When he was a manager at JC Penny’s he was on the board of the Y and was involved in the baseball programs — that’s when the opportunity to become the director came to be.

He applied, and the rest is history.

During the reception previous and current board members and Bache’s colleagues gave a brief speech on his accomplishments and character.

Pittsburg YMCA Board President Brooke Beasley has known Bache for as long as she could remember. She started gymnastics at the YMCA when she was six in the southeast gymnasium at the facility.
“I’m privileged to stand here and talk about Jack because the truth is, just like our Y, you would be hard pressed to find a person in this community that Jack has left an impression on,” Beasley said.

When Beasley first started gymnastics, she and her team had to carry their equipment out  — what she believes is an advantage over other programs as the gymnasts get an extra workout, she joked. “I mention this as one small, yet significant, example of how the Y has advanced and evolved under Jack’s leadership and vision,” she said. “We now have a full, state-of-the-art gymnastics center, the best in the area, without a doubt.”

In addition, there is now a 5,000 square foot fitness center, a women’s fitness center, a plethora of workout classes and dance, gymnastics and volleyball programs that are “second to none.”
“You did that Jack,” Beasley said. “Even more important than Jack’s impact on the physical growth was his devotion to the well being of the community.”

From children who just want to be part of a team, to the seniors who want to swim laps then head out for coffee, she said.

Steve Stockard, previous board director, also has known Bache nearly his entire life.
“He has been a fixture at the YMCA since I was a child,” Stockard said. “I grew up participating in YMCA sports programs and my memories of those times always include Jack.
“Jack’s lifelong commitment to youth sports in this community punctuates his life and the lives of so many who have entered the doors at the Y.”

Bache was Stockard’s coach when he was 14 and on the little league team. They had won the state championship and competed in the regional tournament in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska.
“Every time I entered his office years later I could always see the picture of that team hanging on his wall among many others’ pictures of smiling athletes surrounding Jack,” Stockard said.

Now Stockard’s own children have similar memories of the Y.
“Jack would make the rounds shaking hands and encouraging kids to do their best,” he said.

One of the most rewarding experiences Stockard had partnering with Bache is the development of the YMCA Star Aquila volleyball club, he said.
In November of 2000, tryouts were conducted for the first time for the club. Bache served as the club chief administrative officer and Ibraheem Suberu — who came to Pittsburg in 1999 as head volleyball coach at Pittsburg State University — served as the club director.
“Under Jack’s management, Star Aquila club volleyball has evolved from a burgeoning youth club to a renowned premier club in the HOA region,” Stockard said. “It is through his resolve and passion for his club that our teams have thrived and excelled at every level of competition … countless players reach full potential going on to play at the highest levels of college volleyball.”

During the retirement ceremony, Suberu presented a gift from the board — a rocking chair.
“When they called me and told me that you were retiring ‘oh sure, finally Jack retires,’ I don’t know if he knows how to do retirement,” he said jokingly to Bache during his speech. “For whatever you are going to do, I know you are going to do quality, do great, do exceptional things, you breathe life where there was no life, you will give opportunities where there were none and will see our new generation of leaders come through, thank you for being who you are.”