Obituary for Jane Bachman Wulf (Bachman)
Jane Bachman Wulf, groundbreaking magazine journalist, mother of four, doting daughter, attentive sister, and devoted wife, died peacefully in her bed surrounded by loved ones on Saturday, June 10, in Larchmont, NY. Bambi, as she is better known, was also an explorer, an antiquer, a teacher, a Christmas tree hoarder, a tireless baker, an impassioned sports fan, especially when it came to her children's various athletic pursuits, and the world’s greatest gift giver. In short, she was a walking example of a life well-lived.
Bambi is survived by her husband of 32 years, Steve Wulf, their four children, Bo, John, and twins Elizabeth and Eve, two beloved daughters-in-law, Rachel and Abigail, her parents Elizabeth and Robert Bachman, her three younger brothers, John, Robert and Peter, eight nieces and nephews, and her best friend Eva Nies. She will long be remembered by the people she worked with at Sports Illustrated (1977-1998) and Time magazine (1999-2009), and by the dear friends she made along the way.
Born on July 2, 1954, in Boston and raised in Wellesley, Mass., Bambi enjoyed what she described as a “magical” childhood, spoiled throughout as the only granddaughter on both sides of the family. She liked to joke that she "peaked in high school," having won the 1972 Wellesley High School Senior Cup. She majored in French at Mount Holyoke College, spent an enchanting year abroad in Paris that set the tone for her lifelong wanderlust, and graduated in 1976. A year later, she landed an entry-level job as a copy clerk in the news bureau of SI. She quickly rose from “ditto girl” to reporter, a position that required both fact-checking acumen and reporting skills. For several years, she covered professional golf with the legendary writer Dan Jenkins.
Her love of travel came in handy not only on the golf beat, but also on assignments to cover the Kentucky Derby, the World Series, the Super Bowl, and both Winter and Summer Olympics. After becoming SI’s Chief of Reporters in the early 1980s, she quickly demonstrated a keen eye for talent: her first hire was Armen Keteyian, who would go on to a successful career in sports television with ABC, HBO, and CBS. She discovered and nurtured writers and editors Steve Rushin, Ivan Maisel, Austin Murphy, Grant Wahl, Jeff Pearlman, Jon Wertheim, Chad Millman, John B. Morris, and Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Nutt, among countless others.
Bambi moved to Time magazine in 1999 as Chief of Reporters and rose to Assistant Managing Editor, continuing her professional ascent in a male-dominated industry. In that role, she marshalled a staff of more than 200 to cover such momentous events as 9/11, the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion, and Hurricane Katrina.
At home, she was a five-tool Mom – throwing the best parties, running the children from activity to activity, wearing out her oven mitt in a ceaseless production of cookies and cupcakes, hitting unsuspecting loved ones with the occasional acerbic one-liner, all while powering through the demands of breaking news and overnight deadlines. And she loved, loved, holidays.
When she retired in 2009, she went back to school to learn how to become an elementary school teacher. Three years ago, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which only strengthened her resolve to live life to its fullest. And so, an already accomplished traveler set out to spread her unique brand of love and curiosity across the world. In the time since her “silly illness” entered her body, Bambi traveled to Machu Picchu, the Galapagos, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Norway, St. Martin, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and back to France. She also completed the “Bam Slam,” attending four golf majors in a row, from Oakmont, to Royal Troon, to Baltusrol, and down to Augusta.
In the months before she passed, Bambi was able to celebrate a series of life events – a second straight Middlebury Women's Ice Hockey NESCAC championship for daughter (and center) Elizabeth, the college graduation of daughter Eve from Bucknell University, the news that son Bo would be a father, and the picture-perfect wedding of son John.
As for herself, she received an MA in Education from Manhattanville College. Thus, after schooling us all on how to live for so long, she made it official.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, June 16, at 4 PM at the Larchmont Avenue Presbyterian Church (60 Forest Park Ave.).
At the request of her family and in lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in memory of Jane Bachman Wulf to Mount Holyoke College via www.mtholyoke.edu/go/mhcgive or mailed to the Mount Holyoke Office of Advancement, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075. Donations will support a journalism internship in Bambi’s name.