Dallie Durwood Baggett, 92, Contemplation Garden at NHC Arboretum dedicated to his work

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Durwood Baggett

Dallie Durwood Baggett, 92, of Wilmington, died peacefully on Aug. 2, 2015, at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. He was 92.

Durwood was born and grew up in Sampson County in the Mingo Community near Spivey’s Corner and was the son of the late Dallie Casper Baggett and Myrtice Bass Baggett. He was a North Carolina State alumnus (class of 1943), a proud WWII veteran, a Bronze Star recipient and a retired major from the U.S. Army Reserve.

In addition, he was a longtime New Hanover County Farm Bureau director, an active member of the Wilmington Lions Club, a Shriner and a longtime member and elder emeritus of Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Durwood joined the Army in August 1943 and was assigned to the 94th Division at Fort Bragg. After training he was shipped to Europe where the 94th Division fought as part of General George Patton’s Third Army. With the 94th Division, Durwood was sent to the front where he saw heavy fighting during the Battle of the Bulge and then continued to fight at the front until the end of WWII. After the war ended Durwood was sent with the 94th Division to Pisen, Czechoslovakia, to prevent the Russian Army from taking any more Czech ground.

After his discharge from the Army, Durwood became the assistant county agent in Burnsville, where he met and later married his first wife, Doris Brown Baggett. They were married for 54 years until her death in 2003. In 1950 they moved to Wilmington where Durwood became New Hanover County’s extension chairman (later county extension director), a position he held until his retirement in 1978.

For more than 40 years, Durwood and Doris lived at the corner of North 15th and Rankin Streets. Their home was known for its beautiful yard and especially the stunning caladiums that he grew and planted in the yard every summer, and it was there that he enjoyed working in his greenhouses and running 5-D Nursery, where he grew tomatoes, peppers and ornamental shrubs.

Durwood was a vibrant and dynamic man who loved life and lived it with passion and unwavering optimism. He eagerly anticipated every day and the opportunities it would bring. He loved his family, his friends and his community. He was an avid traveler, gardener and reader with a keen interest in current events, politics and history. He was an engaging conversationalist who always had a compelling story to share. He lived a life of service with a strong sense of gratitude.

He was always keenly aware of his blessings and was frequently heard to say that he was “a lucky old man.”

Durwood is survived by his second wife, Mary Mobley Baggett; children, Debra Baggett, of Norman, Oklahoma, David Baggett, of Raleigh, and Dudley Baggett, of Wake Forest; sister, Elsie Baggett Jackson, of Dunn; sisters-in-law, Mary Jo Brown Smith, of Greenville, South Carolina, and Emily Ezzell and Charlotte Dexter, both of Wilmington; grandchildren, Ross and Shannon Albert, of Norman, Oklahoma, and Jonathon, Elliot and Cameron Baggett, of Wake Forest; many loving nieces and nephews; and many wonderful friends.

In addition to his parents and first wife, Durwood was preceded in death by his sister, Hawtense Baggett.

The family will receive friends from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, at Andrews Mortuary on Market Street. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, at St. Andrew’s-on-the-Sound Episcopal Church with the Rev. Richard Elliott and the Rev. David McDonald officiating. Burial with military honors will follow at Oakdale Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Durwood Baggett Contemplation Garden at the New Hanover County Arboretum, c/o Friends of the Arboretum, 6206 Oleander Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403.

The New Hanover County Arboretum is constructing the Contemplation Garden to honor the five branches of the military and is being dedicated to Bronze Star Army veteran and past county extension agent, Durwood Baggett.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Andrews Mortuary.

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