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August 10, 2013

UGA professor, demographer Douglas Bachtel dies

ATHENS, Ga. — Douglas C. Bachtel, a University of Georgia professor and demographer who helped leaders across Georgia make critical decisions about their communities, has died. He was 68.

Bachtel, a professor emeritus in the College of Family and Consumer Science, died Thursday after a long battle with multiple sclerosis, according to a statement from the university. As editor of the Georgia County Guide, Bachtel compiled statistics on the state’s agriculture industry, economy, education, crime, demographics, health and other information.

“There are many Georgians for whom the Georgia County Guide was their most vital link to research and analysis from the University of Georgia, and Doug Bachtel was the heart and soul of that and so many other public service endeavors,” said Libby Morris, interim senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “He was tireless in his outreach to the state.”

Bachtel spent 33 years at the university, retiring June 30. Over his career at UGA, Bachtel secured nearly $3 million in grant funding and more than $200,000 in contract research, the university said.

He also edited the Georgia Municipal Guide and the Georgia Housing Guide, gathering comprehensive data on all 159 of the state’s counties and its 534 cities. Decision-makers in government, business, health and education use the guides on a daily basis to improve the quality of life throughout Georgia, according to the university.

“Doug Bachtel made sense of demographics and was forthright in helping decision-makers understand what was going on in Georgia,” said Linda Fox, dean of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “He did what a good state extension specialist is supposed to do—serve the public.”

Over the years, Bachtel became one of UGA’s best-known and respected researchers.

A funeral has been scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 17 at Lord and Stephens Funeral Home in Bogart. 

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