In 1943, the TU campus was much smaller. Where the Old U is now, there was a circle drive that had the library, Tyrell Hall (for music), and the engineering building (currently Phillips Hall).
Behind the library stood Chapman Hall. The campus was so much smaller that a private neighborhood existed between it and Skelly Field.
It was in 1943 that Ray Bachlor started at TU, right after legendary all-American tailback Glenn Dobbs left.
Bachlor, like many today, studied petroleum engineering at TU before being drafted into the army in the summer of 1944.
He was assigned to a paratrooper unit for the invasion of Japan but the army recalled the assignment after America dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In 1948, Bachlor returned to TU to continue his studies, while concurrently staying in the Army Reserve.
In 1950, he was recalled to active duty for the Korean War effort, eventually coming back to Tulsa in 1954 with a wife and two kids in tow.
Bachlor found a job at an engineering firm in town, working on the B-47 bomber. His work turned to research and development on intercontinental ballistic missiles as a viable means for delivering nuclear warheads to the intended target.
Once Sputnik happened, Bachlor’s firm quickly became focused on getting into orbit. In 1960, he graduated with a degree in Physics due to his new focus in life.
Eventually Bachlor became the Program Manager for Special Space Programs with NASA, following his firm’s work on the Delta project that saw him working on a program that launched the first weather satellite, Tiros, into low-earth orbit.
At NASA, Bachlor worked with teams to test, manufacture, design and market third-stage hardware for NASA launch vehicles like the Atlas/Centaur, Atlas/Agena and Thor/Agena.
After NASA, in 1977, Bachlor went to California after purchasing an automobile franchise.
He worked on cars, inspecting, fixing and servicing cars at a time when they were switching away from carburetors and condensers to the chip and computer systems we have in today’s vehicles.
Bachlor eventually became president of the company, managing 200 nation-wide franchises.
This afforded him the unique opportunity to work with a few notable people in marketing and launching products: George Hurst (creator of the Hurst Shifter, for you muscle car aficionados), Al Lapin (founder of IHOP) and Leon Panetta.
Following the car business, Bachlor operated a macadamia nut and avocado grove for 15 years, selling the business in 1996 and leaving California when water rationing hit in 2001.
He currently lives in Tulsa at the Zarrow Pointe Retirement Center, remaining very active in many activities there.
Bachlor conducts a weekly discussion of current events in science, medicine, local and foreign Affairs, conducts a monthly book club and is a member of the Board of Directors.
Bachlor also works to sponsor STEM speakers at local schools and initiated and advised on a residence parking cover/solar cell installation (70 kwh) and two 100 kwh rooftop installations.
He credits his education at TU for much of his success, especially in the areas of geology, physics and engineering.