Marvin Bachrad, a radio broadcaster who called harness horse races, died on Nov. 30. He was 82.
During his life, he worked at radio stations in South Carolina, Norristown and Philadelphia. He was the first rink announcer for the Philadelphia Flyers and publicity director for Atlantic City Raceway, Brandywine Raceway in Wilmington, Del., and Dover Downs in Dover, Del. He was also inducted into harness racing’s Communicators Hall of Fame, the Norristown High School Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
“He was very, very modest,” younger brother Ronald Bachrad said. “He never bragged. He never did anything to make himself out to be a big shot.”
His family was surprised when attendees at his funeral shared story after story of how Marvin Bachrad had mentored them or changed their lives.
Ronald Bachrad recalled one woman telling a story of how Bachrad offered her a position at the Dover Downs when she desperately need a job. After her father passed away, the woman asked Bachrad to walk her down the aisle.
Bachrad’s family couldn’t believe it. There was so much about his life they had never known.
“There was so many stories,” Ronald Bachrad said. “I’m sure there are many stories untold.”
Bachrad, who was born in 1935, was a lifelong sports aficionado. In high school, he would head to Philadelphia from Norristown to try to stump the “genius bar” staff on a sports trivia radio program. He eventually became one of the show’s sports geniuses when he was just a teenager.
He would take his two younger brothers Ronald and Allen out with him to Philadelphia, where he would get records and then buy the two younger boys a milkshakes, Allen Bachrad recalled.
“He could talk to anybody really,” Allen Bachrad said. “He was loved by everybody.”
Marvin Bachrad also always had aspirations of becoming a radio broadcaster. During his time in the army, he ran the Armed Forces Radio service station WFJX in Fort Jackson in South Carolina.
After his service, he worked as a radio announcer and music director at WNAR in Norristown and started a radio call-in sports talk show. He also reported on sports for KYW and WCAU in Philadelphia.
Much of his career focused on harness horse racing. He consulted on court cases on harness horse lineage. He was also a past president of the United States Harness Writers Association.
He was the publicity director for Atlantic City Raceway until it burned down. He called harness horse races at Brandywine Raceway and Liberty Bell Park in Philadelphia. He retired in June, after 20 years at Dover Downs.
His career is studded with accomplishments, but what Ronald Bachrad most appreciated about his older brother is how he took care of their mother in her old age. His two brothers lived in other parts of the country, and Marvin Bachrad took on that responsibility quietly, like so much else he did.
“He was there and he was most devoted,” Ronald Bachrad said. “He was a fabulous son as well as brother.”
Marvin Bachrad is survived by brothers Allen (Marci) Bachrad of Phoenix and Ronald (Ellen) Bachrad of Boca Raton, Fla., four nephews and six grand-nieces and nephews. Donations in his honor may be made to the Mitzvah Circle, 1561 Gehman Road, Harleysville.