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Robert Bagwell

Robert Elmo Bagwell, 89, of Hazlehurst, died May 30, 2021, in Jackson. He was born Oct. 12, 1931, near Dimmitt, Texas, to Jim and Robertha (Wood) Bagwell. He attended his early school years in the Bethel Community School until the family moved to a farm and ranch near Amistad, N.M., in 1944. There he attended grades eight through 10, then graduated from Clayton High School in Clayton, N.M., in 1949. He went on to attend New Mexico A&M in Las Cruces, N.M., where he participated in the ROTC program.
While in college, Robert spent one summer in India, having been selected to go by the International Farm Youth Exchange program (IFYE). He and the other young men who had been chosen all returned to the U.S. on the Queen Mary. The entire experience was an eye-opening event for a farm boy. He enjoyed sharing those experiences with the family through the years and always appreciated having been given that opportunity. Another summer, he spent several weeks on a range management tour as part of a college course requirement, visiting ranches all over New Mexico. At that time, he expected to spend his life as a farmer and rancher.
Robert (his college friends soon called him Bob) joined the Air Force after college. His last year of service was spent in Korea, during the Korean War, in charge of a radio unit. He shared some harrowing stories of their experiences in the mountains of Korea with the snow and extreme cold temperatures. At the end of his tour, as he was heading back to the U.S. to be discharged, he went to Japan, where he purchased yardage of beautiful silk fabrics to take home for his mother and his three sisters.
After his discharge, he drove to Mississippi on the way back to New Mexico to visit his best friend from college who was living there. While there, he was introduced to a girl named Billye Faye Wade.
Falling in love with Billye Faye, Robert moved to Mississippi, where he and his love were married in 1956. The marriage produced two wonderful children, Michael and Donna; and two beautiful grandchildren, Riley and Kyla.
For several years, he worked as a carpenter and because of his exceptional skills and leadership ability, he was hired as the superintendent for Jones and Thompson Construction Company in Jackson. He loved working with beautiful woods and began making cabinets on weekends.
As a boy, he always loved to create things with his hands. He continued that interest as he created a variety of beautiful things to share with his family. He learned to turn bowls and made them from a variety of exotic woods. He was a member of the Craftsman’s Guild of Jackson.
He enjoyed doing for others, especially if it involved his creativity. And, the most important thing in his life was family. Parents, siblings, nephews and nieces, along with aunts, uncles, and cousins always came first.
A graveside service was held at Center Point Methodist Church Cemetery June 4, conducted by Rev. Stuart Givens, minister of Sylvarena Baptist Church in Wesson. An American flag was presented to the family, and “Taps” was played by an Air Force honor guard.
Robert is survived by his son, Mike Bagwell, of Hazlehurst; daughter, Donna Smith; granddaughters, Riley and Kyla Smith, of Wesson; sister, LaTrelle Bagwell, of Marble Falls, Texas; as well as nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was predeceased by his wife, Billye Faye; his parents; sisters, Christine Bell, Grace Marie Holland; brothers-in-law, Ray McEntire, Orlan Bell, Dudley Holland; brother, J.A. Bagwell; sisters-in law, Edywna Bagwell, Janice Dalton; and nephew, Brian Stillings.