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 George Talmadge Bagby

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George Talmadge Bagby

  • Birth 26 Oct 1920 Georgia, USA
  • Death 20 Dec 1991 Fulton County, Georgia, USA
  • Burial Paulding County, Georgia, USA
  • Memorial ID 34323596

Mr. George T. Bagby of Dallas, Ga., a legendary figure in state politics, died December 20, 1991 at Crawford Long Hospital of complications resulting from surgery to amputate his remaining leg. He was 71.
He was appointed to head the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at the age of 26. In addition, he served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 13 years. He was first elected to represent Paulding County in 1947 and served through 1948, then 1955-1960 and 1962-1966. He served as Sergant of Arms in the Georgia Senate in 1961.
He was appointed director of the state Game and Fish Commission in 1967 by Gov. Lester Maddox, and was director of state parks in Gov. Jimmy Carter's administration.
When the Department of Natural Resources was created in 1972, he served as deputy commissioner.
Pataula State Park at Lake Walter F. George was remaned the George T. Bagby State Park in his honor by the Georgia General Assembly in 1973.
After leaving the DNR in 1979, he served as an aide to House Speaker Tom Murphy for 10 years, retiring in 1988. He ran unsuccessfully for sheriff of Paulding County that year, quoting George Bernard Shaw - "I want to be completely used up when I die."
The indefatigable campaigner worked the 1991 session of the Legislature in a wheelchair as a lobbyist for the Coca-Cola Co., his family said.
Mr. Bagby led the battle to stop a proposed channeling of the Alcovy River and draining of wetlands in the 1960s, before wetlands destruction became a national environmental issue, and also fought to stop the mining of phosphate from saltwater marshes at Little Tybee Island, a very significant issue.
" There's no question that he saved those wetlands," DNR Commissioner Joe Tanner said Friday night. "In 1968 the Legislature adopted the Coastal Marshland Protection Act to protect marshes from development, a direct result of Mr. Bagby's advocacy.
" He was also a very funny person," Mr. Tanner said. "He's one of those kind of people who played a lot of practical jokes on friends, even important people like senators and the governor.
" Back in the old days during the Griffin administration, he was called into the governor's office and told if he didn't vote for a bill, his brother would be fired from the State Patrol," Mr. Tanner recalled.
" He got up in the well of the House and gave a famous speech that there is 'bacon in the smokehouse,' that there was plenty of food at his house and his brother might as well just come on home because he wasn't voting for the bill."
Mr. Bagby suffered from diabetes and had already lost one leg to the disease.
George Talmadge Bagby was born Oct. 26, 1921, in Dallas, to Stella and Joel Pinkney Bagby.
Mr. Bagby graduated from Dallas High School, West Georgia College and John Marshall Law School in Atlanta. He put himself through John Marshall and simultaneously worked for a construction company, pumped gas at a service station and worked as a roadman with the Highway Department. He served in the Navy in the South Pacific from 1943 to 1945.
He married the former Ruth Wright of Villa Rica on April 7, 1940.
He is survived by his wife, the former Ruth Wright who he married on April 7, 1940; two sons, Jeff Bagby and Tommy Bagby; his daughter and partner in law, Judy Bagby of Dallas; and two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Mr. Bagby died Dec. 20, 1991 at Crawford Long Hospital of complications resulting from surgery to amputate his remaining leg.


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