Pete Baugh –“The Judge” was both mother and father to me. What a huge challenge to raise two young sons while in the midst of building his law practice and dealing with numerous personal trials. My dad managed to pull it all off in his own inimitable style.
Yet even as a young boy I recognized the heavy burden of stress my dad carried. I started praying back then and never stopped that the man I loved more than anything else in the world would be blessed with a long life and a great marriage to a beautiful lady.
I am always grateful that my prayers and then some –were so awesomely answered. I especially ponder these miracles today.
For this Saturday, on his 80th birthday my father passed. Dad lived a very full life and had the love of many. In my eyes and theirs, he was a great man.
Even though in declining health these last few years, he still wanted to contribute and remained an active judge. Much of the credit for this goes to his dedicated wife of thirty years, Clarice Baugh, an angel on earth.
Clarice took wonderful care of a proud Southern Judge who did not take a hankering to having to depend on anyone. Hell hath no furor like the Judge having to give up one iota of independence. I thank Clarice with all my heart, though there are not enough thanks worthy for what she did for my dad. She literally kept him going and the beauty of it all, even as difficult as my father could be –he appreciated it. He loved her very much.
Dad blessed me with endless wonderful and profound memories. Starting as a little boy listening to him preaching to our Methodist congregation, to my teen years sitting in on one of his hearings first as an attorney, then later as Judge.
My passion for boating and fishing comes from Dad. That it turned into a lifelong profession I love is in large part due to him. He was there at the beginning as co-founder and CEO of Jim Baugh Outdoors TV. We traveled together, spending great times on the water filming and fishing. I am forever grateful for his guidance, leadership, and advice. Without his support, our fledging program would not have survived and I would not be celebrating its 25th year.
My dad always told me, “Jimmy, you can grow up and be anything you want to be, anything, even a ditch digger. But just make sure of one thing –you are the best dam ditch digger to ever be!”
It stuck with me. Whether with my music, producing, writing, raising kids, cooking, whatever, I remembered his words to give it your all. A simple but profound lesson, it helped me through tough times.
Compassion for others was something the Judge also taught me and in quite an amazing way. As a young boy, my dad took my brother and I Christmas shopping to pick out things that we liked. He then loaded all the toys in the car and we hit the grocery store. When we got home, we wrapped all the presents. I was thinking this was all a little weird, now we knew what we are getting for Christmas!
After baking the Christmas turkey, Dad told us to get all the presents and help load the car with the food too. I did not understand what the heck was going on but you don’t question the Judge. We arrived at a tiny, dismal house. The three of us walked up and rang the doorbell. A woman with five kids hovering around her waist answered the door. She was shocked to see us. Dad instructed us to get all the food and presents out of the car and bring them inside.
The presents and turkey were not for us but for a destitute family who had no food, and no Christmas, until Judge Baugh showed up. What a lesson in helping others. What a GREAT father!
Dad was also an Eagle Scout so he recognized the important lessons scouting taught boys. Pete was proud of all his grandchildren and especially happy when my son Ben Baugh achieved Eagle Scout. His funeral instructions asked that instead of flowers folks might consider donating to the Boy Scouts of America.
I want to give a special thanks to Ms. Donna. Saturday we were getting ready to leave the
Eastern Shore and
head over to see Dad and Clarice for his birthday when we got the call I always
dreaded. Donna has been a Godsend in helping me through this difficult time.
During my six-hour walk on the beach Saturday, I realized that the good Lord took my father on one of the most beautiful of days. In true Judge-style, Dad made a notable departure on the morning of his 80th. It was a graceful exit from his beloved home on “The River” and his dear Clarice with him. Instead of mounting health problems, pain and suffering, my dad now knows only peace and joy.
He dearly missed the many friends and family that passed before him. Now, he is joined by his father (my grandfather) also a Southern Judge –Emerson Daniel Baugh, my grandmother Maggie Lee, Uncle Tom, Pierce, and “The Crew” that I grew up with on the docks of Sara’s Creek. Surely, they’re all in heaven causing quite a ruckus.
Shout out to Pete:
Dad, you, and “The Crew” try to stay out of trouble up there! When it is my turn to come see you, I promise I will bring that sailor sandwich from Chioccas. Sorry, you left before we had a chance to go back. It will be the ultimate “To Go” box.
Thanks for being the best Dad a son could ever pray for in this world. Your family and friends, we already miss you terribly. No one can ever replace you.
With great love and affection –your son always,
For Donations Boy Scouts
Heart of Virginia Council (Formally Robert E. Lee Council)