A Very Sad Day

Donnajean Bachmayer, my sergeant, coworker, and friend, passed away yesterday afternoon. She was 52 years old.

Donnajean had given nearly thirty years of service to the citizens of Philadelphia, both as a patrol officer and a sergeant. She was tough, but fair, and not everyone liked her style because she – get this – expected her officers and detectives to do their jobs.

Donna was funny and sarcastic, so naturally we hit it off. We didn’t always agree, and we had it out once or twice, but there was always a sense of mutual self-respect. Her favorite term for me was “Freak,” and she would say that every time I muttered something dirty when a pretty girl walked by, or when I would say how much I loved coming to work. The response was always, “Freak!”

Years ago, Donna was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. The doctors gave her six months to a year. Donna fought harder than anyone could imagine and beat the cancer’s ass. The treatments took its toll, and a few months ago, she was told her T-cells were being “rewritten.” (Sorry, I don’t know the science.) The doctors said the only way to fight it was with blood transfusions every other day. Donna was reacting well to that, and she called me a week ago, saying she thought she could beat this, too.

She thanked me for all I did at work and for helping her through the bad days. She thanked me for being her friend, and said if she ever got too down, that I was to tell her to stop complaining, get up, and fight. It was the last time I would ever speak to her.

The only minor bright spot is she will be reunited with her father, a former Philly police officer, in Heaven. She always said her dad was her hero.

Donna leaves behind two children, a boy and a girl, both under the age of 25. I cannot imagine how they will cope with their mother’s loss at such a young age.

Goodbye Donnajean. Rest in peace. I am proud to say your were my friend.

19 thoughts on “A Very Sad Day

  1. I hate your tear jerker stories because they are… tear jerkers. That said, she sounded like a terrific human being and you be glad to have been a good friend. I’m sorry for your loss and the loss to her family.


  2. Ronni – Thanks. She was a good person, and always treated me well. I’ll miss her barbs at work.

    Jim – Thank you. Fifty-two is far too soon to be leaving this mortal coil.


  3. William – I think the worst part is not knowing how long someone has left. I would have called if I thought she was so close to leaving. It’s just frustrating that you’ll never get to speak to someone again.


  4. Sorry for both your loss & the kids loss. I hope she does reunite with her father And tells him about that “Freak” from work.


  5. MelP – She’ll say, “Yeah, the guy’s a clown.”

    Sully – Thank you. The services are on Monday, and I’m off, but I may also be enroute to Dallas to pick up the boy. Not sure if they’re going to close school yet, but that’s the rumor.


  6. Words don’t make the hurt go away, but knowing you made a big difference in her life is something that will always be with you. You done good, Wyatt.


  7. Thank you so much for your posting. Donna Jean and I go way back…1983 to be exact. Grew up in the same neighborhood (Academy Gardens), hung out almost every day/weekend. Graduated highschool same year. We lost touch around 2002 and then reunited in 2010 thanks to FaceBook. Took our daughters to the Taylor Swift concert in 2013. If you were her friend she was a Great friend, but could come off a bit tough if you didn’t know her..LOL….The biggest Michael Jackson fan ever! I could tell you stories! And yes “FREAK” was one of her favorite expressions.
    I will hold her forever in my heart, my DJ


  8. Mike – Not sure I made a difference, but we always got along well.

    Eileen – Same here. It’s so sad for her kids, as DJ was looking forward to retiring in Tennessee.


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