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Dr. John R. Bagby Jr. U.S. Veteran

March 3, 1919 - June 11, 2012

Dr. John R. Bagby Jr., 93, of Columbia, S.C., formerly of Jefferson City, died Monday, June 11, 2012, in Columbia, S.C. He was born on March 3, 1919, in Aurora, Mo., the son of the late John Roscoe Bagby Sr., and Grace Elizabeth Seburn Bagby. He was united in marriage on October 17, 1943, in Aurora, Mo., to Billie Hudson, who preceded him in death on May 25, 2009. Dr. Bagby attended Aurora High School graduating in 1935, University of Arkansas graduating in 1953 with a Bachelors degree and a Masters degree in 1956, and finally earned his PhD from Emory University in 1962. Dr. Bagby was a United States Army Air Corps veteran serving during World War II from 1941-1945. He then served in the commissioned corps of the United States Public Health Service from 1946-1969. From 1956-1969 he was a scientist and administrator at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, serving as Deputy Director from 1964-69. He directed the CDC program that eradicated malaria in the United States and initiated smallpox eradication programs in Africa, Asia, and Europe. For 30 years he served as a consultant to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, designing biological containment systems for trips to and from the moon and Mars exploration. Dr. Bagby also served as Chairman and advisor for Energy-Related Epidemiologic Research, chairing a team of scientists who traveled to Chernobyl to study biological effects. In 1969 Dr. Bagby joined the microbiology department of Colorado State Univeristy as director of the Institute of Rural and Environmental Health, newly established by the Kellogg Foundation. He served as chair of the microbiology department until 1974. Dr. Bagby served as director of the Missouri Department of Health for seven years before retiring March 31, 1993. Dr. Bagby was a member of the American Public Health Association, Armed Forces Epidemiologic Board which he chaired, Missouri Public Health Association, National Environmental Health Association, Sigma XI, and the Elks Club. Survivors include: daughter and son-in-law, Caroline and Turner Whitson of Columbia, S.C.; son and daughter-in-law, John and Donna Bagby, Edmonds, Wash.; and son, Tom Bagby, Columbia, S.C. He had six grandchildren, Heather Whitson, Durham, N.C.; Caitlin Bagby, New York, N.Y.; Jillian Bagby, Columbia, S.C.; Colin Bagby, Atlanta, Ga.; Troy Greenfield, Bainbridge Island, Wash.; and Brad Greenfield, Mukilteo, Wash. He also had six great-grandchildren; two siblings, a sister, Betty Ash, Newton, Kan., and brother and sister-in-law, Richard and Shirley Bagby, Lake Ozark, Mo. A memorial service with military honors will be 2 p.m., Friday, July 27, 2012, at Dulle-Trimble Funeral Home. Visitation will be 1-2 p.m. Friday at Dulle-Trimble Funeral Home. Memorials may be sent to the John Bagby Memorial Scholarship at Colorado State University. Those wishing to email tributes or condolences to the family may do so at the www.dulletrimble.com website.

Services Location

Dulle-Trimble Funeral Home JC
  • 3210 North Ten Mile Drive Jefferson City, Mo 65109
  • 573-893-5251
  • Fax 573-893-4409
  • Visit website

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