Duane R. Bach


April 5, 1947 – August 26, 2016


Dad at Work

Duane R Bach

From the family farm in Fairbury, IL; to becoming a highly accomplished CPA in Rockford, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; then savvy business man and wine lover, Duane never lost sight of where he came from, the value of a hard day’s work, or the willingness to lend a helping hand.

He was born on April 5, 1947 in Fairbury, Illinois son of Reuben and Louise Bach.   As a youth he took pride in having read every single book in the local library and following every pitch of the Milwaukee Braves and his favorite player Eddie Mathews.

Duane married Barbara Winterland in June of 1970.   It was love at first sight when she stole his car keys.  The rest of their story was written across the next 46 years.

Duane received his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois and his Masters in Tax from DePaul University.  In addition, he was bestowed with the Elijah Watt Sells award of excellence.

He began work at Coopers & Lybrand in 1973 and later became tax partner in Rockford Illinois and then in Milwaukee Wisconsin.  Seeking a change in 1992, he returned to Rockford Illinois and became a vital link at Anderson Enterprises/Spring Creek Partners.  Over the years Duane had the privilege to serve on the boards of Lutheran Social Services, Anderson Japanese Gardens, YMCA, Rockford Art Museum, and the Rockford Health System.

He was not one for the spot light, he referred to himself as, “The wizard behind the curtain.”  This wizard was able to say more with only a few words or a simple facial expression, than a man who had a 1000 words at his disposal.

Duane loved to travel, enjoyed the endless pursuit of knowledge, and possessed remarkable charisma drawing in all around him, making Dad and his loveeveryone around him better for having known him.

Duane’s endless thirst for life allowed him to traverse the globe with his wife and family seeking out new life experiences and culinary adventures, not to mention world class wines!  Upon retirement in 2014 his life’s passion became a reality.   After moving to Seattle he immediately enrolled in the winemaking program at South Seattle University.  Simultaneously, they both took new full-time jobs as global travelers, fine wine lovers, and their passion for each other.

Unfortunately, this chapter of his life was ended sooner than expected.  In May of 2015 while traveling in Italy Duane suffered a stroke.  After a year of hard work and daily therapy he was making great progress.  In May 2016 he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.   Duane always strived to catch the big wave and enjoyed life to its fullest.  We can all be confident he is with each and every one of us.  He has influenced all of our lives.

Dad at PlayHe is survived by wife, Barb, daughter, Jennifer (Seattle, Washington), son Michael (Palatine, Illinois) and sister, Bonnie Bach (Peoria, Illinois)

In Lieu of flowers memorials can be made to Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Mercy Rockford Health System or the National Stroke Association.

Please pay tribute to Duane in your own personal way. There will be no service at this time







Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief, o dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-Robert Frost


…We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals 

that deep inside us something is valuable, 

worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. 

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder,  

spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit…

-e.e. cummings


 “Anybody can learn to think, or believe, or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel… the moment you feel, you’re nobody ― but-yourself ― in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else ― means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.”

-e.e. comings



40 Responses to “Duane R. Bach”

  • Char Dietz says:

    Bonnie, Barb, Michael & Jennifer — My thoughts and prayers have been with you dear ones these past days and months. You have my deepest sympathy and prayers. May God be your comfort in this time of great sorrow.

    Love, Char Dietz

  • Jon Cumpton says:

    I had the privilege to work with Duane in Rockford for several years. He was a great business advisor and a great man. I was glad to be able to visit him one last time this summer. He was fortunate to be in Barb’s wonderful care and spend his last days in a beautiful place. Rest in peace.

  • James B says:

    To the Bach Family: I am sorry to hear about Duane’s death. It is obvious that Duane was well loved which makes losing him even more painful. May you gain comfort from God’s promise to bring back to life many our loved ones who have fallen asleep in death (Acts 24:15).

  • Cheryl Herrmann says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of sorrow.

  • Brian Kobischka says:

    Duane was one of the most gifted CPA’s that I ever encountered. It was a great privilege to have worked with and learned from Duane. He had the incredible ability to distill complex matters and explain them in a few words of clarity. He was truly a master of his craft.

  • Charlie and Pat Campbell says:

    To Barb, Jennifer, Michael, and Bonnie, What a moving tribute to Duane this collection of stories, photos, and poems this is! It captures the Duane that we came to love since your arrival to Seattle as our next-door neighbors. We wish you every strength in going forward, keeping the brightness and joy that Duane projected in your hearts. We will miss him. We’re grateful for the Bach family in our lives.

  • Mary Jo says:

    Barb and family: I feel so honored to have worked in the presence of such a “brilliant ” man for several years. He reminded me to laugh when a situation was funny and to learn from error yet appreciate all experiences as diverse as they would be. My heart is very sorry for your loss, yet I know his spirit will live with you forever! My deepest condolences!

  • Dianne Sparks says:

    Barb and family, so very sorry to hear of Duane’s passing. What a valiant effort was made by him to recover from his stroke. We all know it was his love for you Barb, and your children that give him that drive. Not to mention his wanting to get back to the business of wine making and traveling. Peace to you all.

  • Cleve and Kathleen Klopfenstein says:

    We extend our deep sympathy and prayers. May God provide comfort in your great loss.

  • Judy Witzig says:

    Dear Barb, Jennifer, Michael, and Bonnie,
    Learned of Duane’s passing in church today from someone who had seen the obit in the PJS. What a beautiful obituary on this site. I have good memories of Duane when we traveled together in Europe so many years ago. You have all been in my prayers since his stroke and now continue to be in my prayers. May your memories help keep him close to your hearts. God be with you all.

  • Doug Anderson says:

    Sincere condolences to Barb and the family.

    I worked with Duane (aka “the favorite son of Fairbury, Illinois”) at C&L’s Rockford office and had some contacts with him after he returned to Rockford.

    His spontaneous quips were frequently so insightful, even if it was the next day before I fully appreciated the depth and breadth of his insight.

    For anyone who was never in one of Duane’s offices, he epitomized the adage that “creative people are seldom tidy.” However, he would frequently surprise you by quickly pulling the relevant document from one of the many stacks on his desk, credenza, or the floor.

    The world has lost a true “renaissance man.” Rest in Peace my friend.

  • Brenda & Jerry Brockett says:

    We first met Duane and Barb in 1975 when Jerry joined him at Coopers & Lybrand after graduation. As a professional, Duane provided a career-long example of insightful thought and integrity. It is said that “the best way to sound like you know what you are talking about is to know what you are talking about” and Duane exemplified that philosophy while having little tolerance for those who would try to take an easier path.

    On a personal basis, the four of us immediately became fast friends- the kind who could finish each other’s sentences even after having been long separated by both time and geography. To draw from the e.e. cummings words, we always found Duane to be “truly valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust” and most definitely nobody but himself. Then there is the part about “spontaneous delight”. We can never forget the time we tired of being on a bus tour in Europe and so broke away and rented a car to drive on the German autobahn. Duane and Jerry had ear-to-ear smiles as they shared driving, but were disappointed that the rental car would not go over 135 mph (downhill) so we could not spend enough time in the fast lane. Later, there was a trip where we hired a car to go wine tasting in the Napa Valley and the chauffer introduced himself by the name of James- the cliché was too much for Duane to resist, so he proceeded to require that the man produce his driver’s license as proof!

    We were fortunate to visit Duane, Barb and Jennifer this past July to recall fond memories and share good wine. Rest in peace, Dear Friend and our thoughts, prayers and love are with you Barbara, Jennifer, Michael and Bonnie.

  • Marianne Culich says:

    I was fortunate enough to run into Duane and Barb at the Anderson Gardens Tuesday night concerts before they moved to Seattle. I remember how they were always surrounded by family or friends, good food and wine and enjoying themselves. Duane was always so nice and friendly. Many of us were awestruck with his brilliance, but I doubt he knew that.
    My deepest and sincerest sympathy to Barb and family.

  • Dave & Teresa (Waibel) Pratt says:

    To the Bach Family–we have appreciated the regular updates as we have joined you in prayer through this. Duane will be remembered for his wit, generosity, & love for his family. God’s comfort & peace to you all.

  • Ron Gieseke says:

    Dear Barb and Family,
    We were saddened to learn of Duane’s passing and pray for God’s comfort to you during this difficult time. Many fond memories of working with Duane in Rockford for so many years and marveling at his ability to understand complex tax regulations. He was truly blessed to have such a loving family.
    Ron and Dolly Gieseke

  • Mary Jane Streitmatter says:

    Dear Bonnie, Barb & family
    With my deepest sympathy at this time of loss, you are and have been in my thoughts and prayers. May God be ever near.
    Love, Mary Jane Streitmatter

  • Bill and Lisa Hughes says:

    Barb, Jennifer and Michael…Duane was quick of wit and had a heart of gold. We were blessed to sit on many a bleacher at LHS with you and our friendship grew from there. We will always remember your kindness in Sonoma and celebrating your 40th at Iron Horse with you. And then there’s the fountain at Seghesio and the smoke alarm! Rest in peace our friend. Barb, you are a true inspiration to love and commitment. You’re in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Ray and Kelly Wilson says:

    Duane was a wonderful human being. I learned so much from him. I will always cherish and remember his infectious smile and laugh. Our deepest sympathies to the entire family.

  • Ed and Jeanne Rudnicki says:

    I had the privilege of working closely with Duane for many years at Coopers and appreciated his talents and wit. Jeanne and I express our heartfelt condolences to Barb and family on the loss of a truly fine man


    Known Duane, Barb & Family, Including both side parents and their families, for 35 years, we were considered “part of Bach Family”.. Every personal occasion, Thanksgiving, Christmas, January 1st, labor day , all were celebrated in one of our homes the two families together.
    Had the pleasure of going on weeks vacation each time with “The Bachs” to Portland/Oregon, Seattle, Vancouver, within two years before Duane got ill, & had wonderful time & thousands of photos together. Saw our beloved friend last, about two months ago when we visited to say “Goodbye”, still enjoyed the stay.
    If I begin to tell our thoughts about this great man whom we consider as our brother, there will not be enough space in this letter. Even at the end of a tiring day, he always had a smile ,great humor & kind words to us. We are glad, God blessed us to be able to go through life on this earth with this great human being, enjoying time together. God came down & took him by his hand to his kingdom, to his new home, & our friend DUANE BACH is with our creator, free of pain smiling down looking at us. Duane, If they serve good wine up where you are, keep a stool for us. God Bless you ,our friend & we will miss you in our rest of journey through this earth.


    Addition to message above, —— Once on a Labor day weekend, we lost electricity to the whole street & the zone, for two days; was not able to use our bathrooms in either of our homes. Repeated pleas to Commonwealth Edison had no affect. Duane Bach wanted to rent a “Porta-Potty” & place it on top of Aberdeen Road & put a sign saying “With Compliments Of Com Ed”, This was this Brilliant Man’s Humor. I have ten other stories. Rest in Peace, our friend.

  • Diane (Solon) Aaby says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Duane was a wonderful person and will be missed by all. My prayers are with you and your family.

  • Leanne Goulding says:

    Dear Barb & Family,

    My condolences. Duane fought the good fight these past couple of years. I know he will be greatly missed.

  • Gary Davenport says:

    Dear Barb and family: Condolences to all of you for this tremendous loss. Duane was always an outstanding professional, mentor and friend. Being around him made us all better, both at that moment in time and in our future development in life. He was respected by everyone he dealt with at any level as his intelligence and concern for people was obvious in has actions and words. His humor and enthusiasm for life was contagious. He will be greatly missed by all.

    Gary and Chris Davenport

  • Paul Flint says:

    As a classmate of Duane’s from high school in Fairbury, it is humbling to read of his accomplishments. I was very fortunate to be in several classes with Duane many years ago. He had a great life, ended too soon. God Bless his family!

  • FAYE MARCUS says:

    I remember Duane and his friendship and professional interest with my late husband, Fred. He was always very kind and thoughtful. May his memory be for a blessing.

  • annie & dorie widmer says:

    Bonnie – just read the obituary of your brother Duane.

    we want to extend our sympathy in your loss.

    Our love & prayers to you and family

  • Joann Zehr says:

    Bonnie, Barb and family – My deepest sympathy to all of you. I have nice memories of the day that Bonnie took me and a few others up to Rockford and we visited the gardens around Duane’s office, met Duane, and spent time with Barb and also went to their home. May God you feel God’s comfort in the days to come.

  • Sam shisler says:

    To the bach family. Sorry for your loss. Big popa duane was the man and I will never forget hanging with duane, him putting up with our shenanigans and being an all around cool guy. When I think of duane I think of pure laughter happiness and good times. Rip duane! See you on the other side. With love
    Sam shisler

  • Dan Parod says:

    I had the privilege of getting to know Duane and learning from him as a Board Member for Rockford Health System. He was a dedicated and valuable Board leader who was always quick to offer his smile, insight, support, and humor. He was a great friend to Rockford Health System.

  • Abby Eagleson says:

    It was an honor to work with and laugh with Duane. I knew him when he certainly used those facial expressions when the words would not come. I am honored and blessed to have gotten to know him for the short time we worked together and cherish our discussions of wine. Love to Barb and the rest of the family, you have been had a long journey, and my heart is with you.

  • Pat Morrow says:

    I had the privilege of working with Duane over many years on Anderson family projects. I have so much respect for how he conducted business and led his life. The earlier comment about his office is classic Duane. When at Tuesday at the Gardens, I will always have a vision of seeing Duane with his site all set up with cheese cut and wine flowing. Cheers to a life well lived and condolences to family.

  • Mike & Brenda Moore says:

    Dear Barb & Family

    I can hardly add to the many words expressed above. I started with Duane at Lybrands in 1973 and always knew that if I wanted the correct response to a question I could go to Duane. Through the years it was always a pleasure to run in to Duane and renew our acquaintance. He will be missed.

  • Elaine Sampson says:

    My words will only echo those of the multitude of friends and business associates of Duane who have sent condolences to Barb and family. To me, though, he was also the friend and advisor who walked me through the financial channels of life without Roger. My hope for Barb is that she find the same gentle kindness and support from friends as Duane gave to me. His brilliance was overshadowed only by his sense of humor in all things.

    Sincere condolences from the Sampson family.
    Elaine Sampson, Edina, Mn.

  • Rod and Kathy Fogarty says:

    Our thoughts and prayers have been with you Barb and your family. Duane was taken too soon from all of you, but he enjoyed his life to the fullest when he was here and that you can be thankful for.

    God Bless you and your family.
    Rod and Kathy Fogarty

  • Jim & Sue Regnier says:

    Dear Barb, Jennifer and Michael:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. We are so sorry to hear of Duane’s passing, but know he is no longer suffering. He must be helping with the “new wine” up in heaven. We had such fun times when you were here in Belvidere. I would have loved to make 1 more key lime pie for him.
    Peace be with all of you, we will be praying for you.

  • Justine and Dave Collins says:

    Dave and I had the amazing pleasure of meeting the Bach family a couple of years ago while they were in Tucson. I remember sitting with them at lunch and listening to his life’s adventures and marveling at how full his life was, how much he loved his family, and how happy he was to be a ‘student’ again. It brings a smile to my face just thinking about it! May God bless you and bring you peace filled with beautiful memories of an amazing man. xoxo

  • Lisa and Bob Lindemann says:

    We are truly so very sorry for the loss of your father at such a young age. The memories that you have shared are a testament and celebration of a wonderful man who had a very full life. Our thoughts are prayers are with you and your entire family. Please know that we are here to support in anyway. Our love.

  • Mindi b says:

    I have only known Duane a short while, and only after his stroke, but I could tell that he was a man with a good and true heart. He always gave his all to his therapy sessions, as I imagine he did in the rest of his life as well.

  • Shane & Olga Rai says:

    As briefly as I knew Duane from the wine class in South Seattle CC, he was certainly a person that exuded charisma, sincere warmth and genuine curiosity from the very start. Over many wine classes and wine tasting events, I got to hear some of Duane’s and Barb’s global travel stories. It’s wonderful to hear he lived such a fulfilling and meaningful life. Our deepest condolences go out to the family in these tough times.

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