— John Raymond Baccki passed away on August 1st, 2018 at the Albany NY Medical Center. He was 67.
On May 30, 1951, John came into the world in an ordinary manner. John then proceeded to spend the next sixty-seven years being anything but ordinary. He was kicked out of high school and church for his long hair, earring, and outlandish clothing. But confrontation with authority didn’t dampen his unique spirit. John spent his entire life blazing his own path and flipping off the world’s injustices
John Raymond Baccki married his teenage sweetheart Linda Orff in 1969, and together they relocated to Arlington, VT, with their young children, Dawn and Keith. The couple loved the peace and tranquility of the mountains, finding it the ideal place to raise their children. John immersed himself in his new environment, developing a deepening love for the outdoors. Over the years John went out on many excursions with friends and family-hunting and fishing with son Keith, George Albro, Billy McClellan , Uncle Frank, Little Frankie, brother-in-law Russ, and nephews Chris and Jason. John could often be found at five AM with his fly fishing rod on the banks and in the water of the Battenkill River. Very early into their new life, the family endured a house fire that nearly took the lives of John and his two children. Thanks to the barking of their Brittany Spaniel, Frankie, John was able to save Dawn and Keith that day, but the family lost everything else. Financially, the loss was devastating, but as always, John and Linda stayed strong in the face of great challenge and adversity. John and Linda’s attributes of strong character, hard work, and perseverance would be passed down to their children and grandchildren.
John Raymond Baccki inherited a keen interest in playing music and singing from his mother, Nancy Baccki, and grandmother, Hilda Toppan. Writing and performing music played a major part of his life over many decades. As a teenager, he played in bands such as the Bad Seed in New Haven, and later was a member of the Dave Brooks Orchestra in Manchester and the Larry Clayton Band. While working in Connecticut, he was the bass player for the Five Satins for over a year. John maintained these artistic relationships throughout his life. John Raymond Baccki was inspired by the great bands and musical acts of the time, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Sly Stone, Leon Russell, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and Joe Cocker. In his early adulthood, inspired by the mountains and streams of Vermont, John embarked on a decades-long endeavor to write and record the many songs and melodies constantly running through his mind. His own songwriting and co-writing with friends such as Ayessa Rodies Rourke, Mark Okerman, and Mark Burke resulted in an extensive catalog of original material. John would often include his son, Keith, in his musical endeavors, having Keith play drums on several recordings and in various bands and impromptu jam sessions.
Although John stopped playing music later in life, that creative spirit never left him. He continued writing poetry and spent his last years writing about the people and places of his childhood. He hoped to compile this material into a book called The Ghosts of New Haven.
John Raymond Baccki’s talents extended beyond music. An artist, a craftsman, and a self-taught engineer, he loved to draw and make things with his hands, and he put the effort of a perfectionist into everything he did. Without a high school diploma or any architectural training, John spent his spare time after the house fire sketching out a blueprint of the home that he would eventually build with his own hands. With a few simple tools and hundreds of hours of hard work, John turned lines on a large piece of poster board into the beautiful, one-of-a-kind, fairytale home that they would live in for years to come. John could write a song or a poem in the morning, draw up a blueprint sketch for a new staircase in the afternoon, and swap out the transmission on his daughter’s ’72 BMW 2002 before the sun set. John did not dither on what he wanted to do, what needed to be done, and especially what would benefit others the most. Always the life of the party, John liked to be the center of attention, but for the best of reasons “ to make people laugh.” No quip, prop, or gag was too ridiculous if it meant bringing a smile to the faces of the people he loved. He didn’t let the fact that he didn’t know how to play the old trombone he’d found get in the way of providing the evening entertainment. He was also particularly fond of the kazoo, much to the laughing chagrin of family and friends. He loved cooking elaborate dinners, and a meal with John Baccki was never less than memorable.
An ardent lover of animals, John enjoyed the company of many pets, including Blue, Slick, Jimmy, Big Tweet, Miss Kitty, the mallards, countless fish, Bugle, China, Jazz, Woody, Julia, and his most recent companion, Lucy.
Family is Number One
But the biggest part of his heart was saved for his family. He remained a loyal son to his mom through her last years, and had an unshakable belief in and love for his children, Dawn and Keith. He felt tremendous pride in his three grandchildren, Clay, Chase, and Veronica, whom he taught to ride bicycles, build the perfect snowman, skip rocks on the river, and fly kites. These were the simple things that he cherished. Above all was his abiding love and devotion for Linda, his wife of 49 years.
In addition to his immediate family, John Raymond Baccki leaves behind sisters Cindy Griffith (Russell) and Lori Taft (David), father-in-law Arvine Orff and sister-in-law Rosemary Bourne (Richard) of Branford,CT, daughter-in-law Deborah Mead, son-in-law Fred Hoyt, adoring nephews and nieces, as well as many good friends. He was big brother John to Cindy and Lori, funny Uncle John to a lucky few, and loyal friend Johnny to many.
Make any donations, in lieu of flowers, to The Second Chance Animal Shelter OR Dorset Equine Rescue c/o Hanson Walbridge & Shea Funeral Home, P.O. Box 957 Bennington, VT 05201
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