Barbara Nell “Babs” Baugh, former president of the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation and long-time champion of progressive Baptist causes, died June 14, in San Antonio. She was 78.
Baugh, known in her home state of Texas and nationally for her generosity, positive outlook and musical talent, took charge of the foundation founded by her parents, the late Eula Mae and John Baugh, in 2007.
She and her daughters, Jackie Baugh Moore and Julie Baugh Cloud, subsequently distributed more than $95 million in grants to a wide range of causes and organizations, including the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Central Baptist Theological Seminary and Associated Baptist Press, the predecessor to Baptist News Global.
Like her parents, Baugh’s generosity emanated from her Christian faith and deep convictions about historic Baptist values. Her heritage of family and faith also inspired prolific service to a wide range of faith-based institutions. She served on the boards of Mercer University, B.H. Carroll Theological Seminary, Baptist Joint Committee and Baptist Center for Ethics, among others.
She served Baptist congregations in various leadership roles including deacon, chair of church council and missions committees and as interim music minister.
Her love and talent for music also defined her life.
Recognized for her musical talent at age 4, she pursued that passion through a variety of venues. She studied music at Baylor University and was part of a popular trio that performed at venues throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, including Six Flags over Texas.
After finishing her degree at the University of Maryland while living in Washington, D.C., Baugh returned to Houston where she participated in a professional music-review group, served as an interim music minister and performed as lead singer in the Bob Smith Orchestra.
In 1979 she moved with her two daughters to San Antonio, where she continued to express her passion for music and singing. She formed and led the Made to Order singing group and was a devoted member of the sanctuary choir at Trinity Baptist Church from 1979 to 2005 and then at Woodland Baptist Church in suburban San Antonio.
In 1985 Baugh became director of Woodland’s Sonshine Singers of San Antonio, a senior adult ensemble of more than 100 members that not only performed regularly in area nursing homes and retirement communities, but also traveled domestically and internationally. Drawing from a seemingly endless reservoir of energy, knowledge, enthusiasm, humor and personal concern for each member, she conducted and choreographed the group and planned its repertoire, travel, and other details until her longtime battle with Parkinson’s disease forced her to step down in 2018.
Known also for her love of traveling, Baugh owned and operated a travel agency in Houston and then San Antonio for more than 30 years, specializing in arranging group and individual adventures.
She is survived by her husband of 23 years, John Jarrett: daughter Jackie Baugh Moore and her husband Kim Moore; daughter Julie Baugh Cloud; six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
The family plans a private graveside service on June 20 in Houston. A celebration of life memorial will be held once groups can safely gather within COVID-19 public health guidelines.
Editor’s Note: In October 2017 BNG’s board of directors hosted a dinner celebration in San Antonio honoring Babs Baugh and the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation. Watch the video tribute to Babs produced for that event by Cliff Vaughn of the Baptist Center for Ethics and David Wilkinson of Baptist News Global.