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William Lachemann Still Providing Inspiration for Sons

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The news came an hour before game time. Sue Lachemann phoned her husband, Marcel, to tell him that his father had died, and suddenly a baseball game didn’t seem so important.

Shaken but unwilling to leave the Angels in the hands of others, Lachemann went right to work.

If nothing else, William Lachemann taught his sons, Marcel, Bill and Rene, the value of a hard day’s work. Marcel knew what he had to do when he learned of his father’s death Thursday. He was 95.

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“He taught us when you have a job to do, you do your job,” Lachemann said before the Angels played Oakland Friday at Anaheim Stadium.

William Lachemann worked 18 hours a day, often seven days a week for 30 years as a chef at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

Later, when Marcel and his brothers were old enough, they worked alongside their father in the Biltmore kitchen during the summers. They arrived at 6 a.m. and worked until 2 p.m. William drove the boys home, then returned to work at the hotel until midnight.

“We were worn out and he’d go back to work,” Marcel said.

As the Lachemann boys grew to men and excelled in baseball, William found time when he could to watch them play and later coach and manage.

“The hours I put in now are nothing compared to what he did,” Lachemann said. “He had an old-country upbringing. He made a great life for us. He taught us you don’t get anything for nothing. You get what you earn. And you didn’t cry about what you didn’t get. He made a lot of sacrifices for us.”

Sundays were a big day in the Lachemann household. William took the family to church, went to work for a few hours and then returned to cook Sunday dinner.

In the 1950s and ‘60s, the Biltmore played host to visiting teams in town to play the Dodgers. The Lachemann brothers were naturally more excited than their father, who favored soccer and handball.

Bill Lachemann was the one who got the boys involved in baseball, taking his younger brothers along for games at a park near the family’s L.A. home.

Late in his life, William was thrilled to see Marcel managing and Bill coaching with the Angels and Rene managing the Florida Marlins.

“He probably took [losing] worse than we did,” Marcel said. “He was always afraid we were going to get fired.

“The last four years, he didn’t come to the park because he couldn’t handle the stairs . . . He probably had the best seat in the house [Thursday] night.”


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