Published 10:58 am Tuesday, December 14, 2021
Robert “Bob” Elige Baughman, 91 of Bassfield, died peacefully in his home surrounded by family and loved ones Dec. 4, 2021.
Funeral Services were held Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, at 2 p.m. at Bassfield Baptist Church. Interment was at Bassfield Cemetery. Rev. Ken Roberts officiated.
Saulters-Moore Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Born May 30, 1930, in Columbia, Robert spent his formative years in Marion County and in 1946, at age 16, fibbed about his age and enlisted in the United States Air Army. After basic training, Robert deployed to Okinawa as part of post-WWII occupation of Japan.
After three years in the army as a Military Policeman, Robert was honorably discharged and enlisted in the United States Air Force. His first assignment: Keesler AFB, where on a blind date, he met the love of his life, Edith Courtney. After the date, Robert told his mother, “I just met the woman I am going to marry.” Five weeks later on Feb. 1, 1952, “Bob” and his beloved “Edie” wed and remained happily married for 69 years.
A veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam, Robert served 20 years in the military and for all his many life achievements was most proud of service to his country. Robert served as a crew chief for the Eighth Air Force Strategic Air Command for both KC-135 Tanker and B-52 Bomber wings. In 1963 he was selected Air Force Crew Chief of the year and received two Air Force Commendation Medals along the way.
After retiring from the Air Force, Robert and Edith built a house near Bassfield. Education was very important to Robert and opportunities had been limited earlier in life. Robert enrolled at Pearl River Junior College and received an associates degree. He attended the University of Southern Mississippi where he earned both a B.S. in Industrial Arts and Master’s Degree in Education Administration.
After graduation, Robert served ten years as a high school principal and teacher at Prentiss High School and Petal High School.
After leaving education, Robert became the Jefferson Davis County Director of Vocational Rehabilitation before a career change shifted his focus to banking.
Robert served as the branch manager of the Bassfield bank for the next thirty years with various corporate changes, Walthall Bank in Tylertown, and Citizen’s Bank of Columbia, where he established and managed the Sumrall branch.
After leaving banking and working well into his seventies, Robert retired to his Bassfield home.
Robert’s service was not limited to his occupation. A member of Bassfield Baptist Church for 55 years serving as a deacon, Sunday school teacher and treasurer. He served on the Pearl River Community College Board of Directors and The Mississippi Regional Housing Commission achieving numerous accolades along the way. He was a proud alumnus of The University of Southern Mississippi and devoted follower of Golden Eagle football.
Robert was an avid sportsman who loved to fish, but was most passionate about quail hunting and for many years raised and trained sporting dogs. Robert was a master carpenter, cabinet maker, architect, draftsman, mechanic and talented jack of all trades. Always a capable hand to Edith in the kitchen, he was legendary for his fried chicken and potato salad on Sunday and would fire up his trusty fish fryer and pit barbecue grill on numerous occasions. If it needed doing, “Bob Baughman” was the man to figure it out, which was no secret to members of the community who called on him frequently.
Robert was truly an amazing man with a golden heart who passionately loved his family, friends and community. Endearing to all, he never met a stranger and would strike up a conversation with anyone, inquiring where they were from and more often than not, found people they knew in common.
Generous beyond compare, Robert made sure his family and precious grandchildren were well taken care of.
Robert is preceded in death by his parents, Enoch Elige and Pearl Pope Baughman, his brothers: Prentiss, Edward, and Donald and his sisters, Doris and Mary. He leaves to cherish his memory, his wife of almost 70 years, Edith Irene (Courtney) Baughman of Bassfield, two children, daughter, Debra Pierce (Mike) of Hattiesburg, son, David Baughman (Laurie) of Gulfport, Mississippi, two grandchildren, Lauren Walters (Travis), Caleb Baughman (Orie), three step-grandchildren, Sarah Howell, Spencer Howell, Erin Howell and four great-grandchildren. Bob was lovingly cared for in his last years by Paula Brown, Andrea Daley, Teresa Irizarry, Sherry Walker, Lovey Wilks and Tillis Patterson. The Baughman family will forever be indebted to these individuals who dedicated so much time and service to his care.
Visitation was held Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, from 1 p.m. until service time at Bassfield Baptist Church.
Online condolences and a guest registry are available at www.saultersmoorefuneralhome.com