John T. Bagwell, Jr., 82, passed away on February 26, 2021 in Spokane, WA due to COVID-19 pneumonia with his wife holding his hand. A celebration of life service is scheduled for late spring at the Sandpoint United Methodist Church.
Born in 1938 to college teachers in Montevallo, Alabama, John became a Boy Scout fascinated by mathematics and astronomy. Beloved brothers Wayne and David soon arrived. The family moved around then settled in Montgomery. The boys sang with daddy and listened to mama recite poetry. John played tuba, devoured SciFi books, and loved classical, jazz, and gospel.
Starting in college, John embraced the foods and cultures of other nationalities. He learned phrases in multiple languages and explored word origins. John tested out of several courses, 96th percentile for mathematics, at University of Chicago. At University of Alabama, John obtained a B.S. and M.A. in mathematics. He concentrated on computers following an I.B.M. internship in NYC. At University of Illinois, John pursued a doctorate. He sang bass at Wesley UMC where he met his future wife, Alice.
Married in 1965, they moved to California. He worked as FORTRAN compiler and language developer at Computer Sciences Corporation. They had two daughters: Barbara and Shari. The family enjoyed road trips and church activities. John cheered the girl’s musical performances. He shared his love of languages, international foods, and appreciation of diverse cultures with his daughters. John and Alice divorced after 25 years. He resettled in El Segundo and advanced to Senior Computer Scientist.
After meeting online and courting in person, John married Donna LeBaron-Currier in 1998 with four daughters and one grandson attending. The SoCal girls spent many weekends cooking and laughing at their parents’ home in Buena Park. In 2011, Nancy, Donna’s youngest, died and was mourned by many.
At retirement, after 34+ years at CSC, John’s boss announced they don’t make them like John then praised his intelligence and witty puns. Donna teased not to encourage the puns.
In 2005, the happy couple retired to Idaho to revel in mountain views. Donna continued her rubber stamping business. John solved crossword puzzles in ink, sang in the UMC choir, took up birdwatching, and developed his website: GuessWhoThisIs.com. They enjoyed memorable vacations and remained madly in love. John earned a new lease on life after heart surgery, despite reduced mobility from other health issues.
John shared his positive outlook during his battle with COVID-19. Heaven gained a kind man and incredible singer when he passed.
John leaves behind his loving wife Donna who mourns his loss with daughters Margaret LeBaron (Idaho), Barbara Bagwell (California), and Shari Bagwell (Oregon); brothers: Wayne and David Bagwell (Alabama); and two grandsons: David Wilson and Tilmon Elliott.