Elyda Carole Bagby, 86


Elyda Carole (Allely) Bagby passed away on Feb. 27th, 2022. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, June 25, 2022, at 10 a.m., at First United Methodist Church in Blair, with burial to follow at the Blair Cemetery. A celebration of life gathering honoring Carole and her late husband Chuck (Doc) Bagby will be held at Ralph Steyer Park in Blair following the burial, approximately 12 p.m. Lunch will be served.

Carole was born in 1936 in Curtis, on January 4th – her mother’s birthday. Sharing both birthday and first name with her mother Elyda, she went by her middle name, Carole. The family soon moved to Tekamah, where her father George served as the town dentist. Growing up, Carole was inspired, and teased, by her two adored older brothers, Don and John, and at age 9, was overjoyed at the birth of her sister, Genie.

Carole enrolled at Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1954, in pre-nursing. In 1959 she earned a dual Bachelor of Science from Wesleyan and an R.N. from Methodist Hospital School of Nursing in Omaha.

While at Wesleyan, Carole met Kenneth Charles Bagby in her Intro to Biology class. They were seated alphabetically from the back of the room, where they had the opportunity to share glances, and partner in dissecting a dead frog. Carole often remarked that she was baffled by this upper-classman's interest in her, but her friends would keep her posted on “Chuck sightings” so she could conveniently bump into him around campus.

Carole and Chuck were married on Dec. 18, 1956, and lived in Omaha where Chuck was finishing medical school. Carole worked as a staff nurse at Nebraska Methodist Hospital, and as a summer replacement at medical offices in Omaha and hospitals in Oakland and Blair.

Their first son David was born in 1959, and the small family moved to Greeley, Colo., where Chuck joined a medical practice with Carole’s uncle Jim. In response to the building of the Berlin Wall, Chuck was drafted into the U.S. Army in fall 1961, shortly before 2nd son Rick was born. After living on the army base at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, Carole and the boys moved back to Tekamah, across the street from her parents, while Chuck deployed to South Korea for 8 months. After his discharge, they moved to Omaha in 1963 for a residency in family practice at UNMC.

Their nomadic life ended in 1964 when they found their forever home in Blair, where Chuck joined the Blair Medical Group with Drs. Rudy Sievers, Cliff Howard, and Les Grace. Rick and David enjoyed the adventures they found in Blair, and the family joyfully welcomed two more kids - son Jeff in 1967, and daughter Kathleen in 1970.

Carole enjoyed the chaos and energy her kids provided, and loved to gather with other neighborhood moms while their kids played out in the neighborhood (yes, there was a cowbell to call them home for supper). She enjoyed the intellectual discussions over coffee, which fueled her energy for caring for her children.

Carole was also passionate about serving the Blair community, and she stepped into several leadership roles in health activities, emergency services, and civic organizations.

She was a strong advocate for community healthcare volunteer organizations. In 1964 she joined the Blair Memorial Community Hospital Auxiliary, now the Burt-Washington County Medical Association Alliance, and served as its President in the early 1980s. Carole worked to organize the first three health fairs ever held in Washington County in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Carole initiated and led “Baby Think It Over,” a local teen-pregnancy prevention program of the American Medical Association Alliance, presented in Burt and Washington County schools. As President of the Washington County Nurses Association in the 1970s, Carole helped found and teach the first childbirth education classes and the first continuing education classes for nurses in the county.

Carole helped develop and sustain a local 24-hour crisis line and information and referral service, Family and Children’s Emergency Services (FACES), long before such services became commonly available.

Beginning in the early 1970s, Carole participated in the founding and promotion of the Black Elk-Neihardt Park in Blair, and fundraising for construction of the Tower of the Four Winds, dedicated in 1987 at the top of the hill above Dana College. Carole served with the BE-NP board from its beginning, and as president from 1989 to 2007.

Other civic work included serving on the Board of Directors of the John Neihardt Foundation in Bancroft; and the Board of Directors of Crowell Memorial Home, where she also worked as a nurse for many years. A member of Blair First United Methodist Church since 1964, she served with Blair Methodist Women, taught Sunday School for 13 years, and was a Cub Scout Den Leader.

Carole and Chuck always considered themselves as partners in all that they accomplished; they were honored with the Dana College Community Service Award in 1999 and the Blair Area Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award in 2000.

As Chuck and Carole reflected upon their life’s achievements during their later years, they thoroughly enjoyed being surrounded by their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren – all of whom they considered their crowning achievement. “We did good,” they would say.

Carole is preceded in death by her husband Chuck; her parents, George and Elyda (Kennedy) Allely; brother Don Allely of Greeley; brother John and wife Shirley (Magill) Allely of Elkhorn; and sister Genie Allely of Tekamah.

She is survived by son David of Lincoln; son Richard of Lincoln and his family, grandson Brandon Mullen-Bagby and his wife Melissa Lee, and great-granddaughter Ruby Lee of Silverton, Ore., and granddaughter Kerstin Mullen-Bagby of Lincoln; son Jeff and his wife Melanie of Cloverdale, Calif.; daughter Kathleen Coate and her husband Paul, and grandchildren Genevieve and TJ Coate of Bloomington, Minn.; and sister-in-law Joyce (Johnson) Allely of Greeley.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to: Blair First United Methodist Church Foundation, Blair Memorial Community Hospital Foundation, or Washington County Community Foundation; consider directing it to Black Elk-Neihardt Park.

Services by Campbell Aman Funeral Home.