Babs Baugh, former Carroll governor, dies; leaves legacy of support and service to Baptist causes

June 16, 2020
IRVING, Texas (June 15, 2020)—Barbara Nell “Babs” Baugh, a former member of the board of governors at B. H. Carroll Theological Institute and president of the Eula Mae & John Baugh Foundation, died June 14 after a lengthy illness. She was 78.

A well-known philanthropist who supported numerous Baptist colleges and seminaries, as well as causes related to the defense of separation of church and state, Baugh was involved with B. H. Carroll from its inception. She also served as secretary on the board.

Gifts from the Baugh Foundation, established by her parents after their departure from the Sysco Corporation, have since been instrumental in the success and continued operation of the Institute. Bruce Corley, B. H. Carroll’s first president and one of four founding senior fellows, said the Institute had lost “a remarkable and faithful friend,” but “heaven has gained a jewel.”

“In the Baptist orbit and beyond, whether in local churches, world missions, or academic institutions, few people are known by a single, short name, but she was—‘Babs.’ What a bundle of joy and a ray of sunshine in so many lives! She entered the life of Carroll Institute at a tipping point, serving as one of our governors, standing with us in the hour of need. I told her at one of our meetings, ‘You have us in your heart.’ She displayed that love time after time,” Corley said.

Corley said a trip to see ‘Babs’ was “always an adventure.” In one meeting, he reminded her that her father, John, had made the first major financial gift to B. H. Carroll.

“With a twinkle in her eye, she replied, ‘It won’t be the last!’ So it was—across our 17-year history the financial gifts we have received from the Baugh Foundation have been essential to the success of the school. I express the heartfelt thanks of all the folks from Carroll—students, staff, faculty, governors, and patrons—for the incredible support and encouragement Babs gave.”

B. H. Carroll Distinguished Fellow Budd Smith, another of the founding senior fellows, said Baugh was a champion of Kingdom and Baptist causes. She carried on the legacy of her parents, Smith said, investing her life and resources in organizations she believed carried on the traditional Baptist witness.

“She leaves a great continuing legacy for her children and grandchildren,” Smith said. “From the very beginning Babs caught the vision and mission of Carroll Institute and soon became a member of our board of governors. Early on, her love of travel and her vision for the educational value of travel caused her to invest in Carroll’s Oxford Study tours, which became life changing events for our students as they studied Baptist heritage.  Also she quickly caught the vision of Carroll for training a great host of Christian leaders all around the world, in their own location and in their own language.”

Smith said Baugh’s “bubbly personality and never-ending encouragement” to stay the course will be missed.

“Finishing strong is what she did,” Smith said. “Like Paul said, she ‘fought the good fight.’”

Baugh, in addition to being known for her love of Baptist studies and international travel, was also a gifted musician. She studied music at Baylor University and there later endowed numerous scholarships in Baylor’s School of Music. She also traveled with a choral group and enjoyed being a blessing to others through music, said Jim Spivey, also a founding senior fellow of the B. H. Carroll Institute.

“She was a true ‘church person’ who was passionately committed to serving the people of God and reaching her community for Christ,” Spivey said. “Most of all, she was a friend and a constant supporter of theological educators committed to training ministers in healthy, well-balanced biblical study and gospel proclamation.”

B. H. Carroll President Gene Wilkes told the Baptist Standard, which Baugh also supported through Foundation gifts, that Baugh had been with the Institute from the beginning, “supporting us through days when we wondered if we would make it any further.”

“She was an answer to our prayers on many occasions. But she wasn’t just a philanthropist. She was a friend. Any startup, independent enterprise has to have friends. That’s why we loved her so much.  She and John Jarrett (her husband) were a great team, and we always felt cared for by John as much as by Babs. She welcomed us into her home and into her family, as if we were one of her own.”

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