His primary task was maintaining the small craft for use by midshipmen training at the Annapolis Naval Academy. Before being discharged from the Navy in 1955, he married Beatrice at the base Navy chapel.
The Bagbys had four sons and shared their early years in the Chicago area where John endured the 1967 Chicago blizzard as a milk delivery man. Beatrice remembers how dedicated her husband was to his work, leaving home to make his route on Thursday and not returning until Saturday just so he could get milk to families in a city brought to a standstill.
Champaign residents since 1970, the Bagbys now receive companionship visits and caregiver respite from volunteers in the Carle Hospice program as John battles congestive heart failure and dementia. Though it has been many years, John’s service to his country was recently recognized not only by his family but also Carle Hospice volunteers who presented him with a veterans pin of recognition, a thank you card and a lap quilt.
John Bagby is the first veteran in the hospice program recognized in 2023. In 2022, eight veterans received recognition, Marty Johnson, Hospice Volunteer Coordinator at Carle said.
“We have an opportunity to honor the patient while they are still with us,” he said. “They are so thankful and many in attendance shed tears.”
Johnson is quick to point out the recognition of John Bagby included not only family and friends but also about 40 neighbors who live in Carriage Crossings assisted living in Champaign.
Beatrice Bagby describes her husband as having a great sense of humor. She said, “It was a fun experience and people there enjoyed it. Laughter flowed into the hallway as we reminisced.”
Auxiliary volunteers make the quilts for the veterans in hospice and Carle Health Center for Philanthropy provides the veteran pins for the pinning, Johnson said.
One inexhaustible quilt maker for the program and other areas at Carle is Kathy Menzies. She said she started sewing out of necessity when she was a heavy child and needed to alter clothes to fit. Over time she grew to love it and, at 76, she is on her third Singer sewing machine. She started making quilts for her church in the San Francisco Bay Area but moved to Champaign a couple of years ago and found a quilt making opportunity through Volunteer Services at Carle.
“I respect the vets. They go out there and fight like tigers. We need to appreciate them,” Menzies said.