SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Mercer University trustee Barbara “Babs” Baugh of San Antonio, Texas, died early this morning following a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease. She was 78.
“The University and I personally have lost a dear friend,” said President William D. Underwood. “I loved Babs. She was funny. She was fun. She cared about important things. She cared about freedom of belief and thought. She cared about the Baptist witness to the world. She cared about making the world a better place. Through her and her family’s incredibly generous support of Mercer On Mission, she made the lame to walk, gave water to the thirsty, and hope to the poor, oppressed and marginalized. Her legacy will extend far beyond her life.”
Baugh was in her third term as a Mercer trustee and served as president of the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation, which was established by her late parents, the founders of Sysco Corp. She also owned and operated a San Antonio travel agency for many years.
The Baugh Foundation has been a strong supporter of Mercer On Mission, investing millions of dollars to enable hundreds of students and faculty to carry out the program’s life-changing work around the world. The foundation also provided a $2.5 million grant in 2012 to establish the Eula Mae and John Baugh Center for Baptist Leadership at Mercer, which is led by former longtime Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Coordinator Dr. Daniel Vestal.
“Babs Baugh was a bright light shining in our world,” Dr. Vestal said. “All of us grieve her death but celebrate the truly beautiful and exuberant life she lived. She was generous, loving and fun. Her influence and legacy for good will extend into future generations. Thanks be to God.”
A longtime supporter of moderate Baptist causes, Baugh served on the boards of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, Christian Ethics Today, and Baptist Child and Family Services. She also was a former member of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Coordinating Council and former president of the Baylor University Alumni Association. She was a Life Member of the Mercer President’s Club.
Baugh attended Baylor and graduated from the University of Maryland. She is survived by spouse John Jarrett; daughters Jackie Baugh Moore, also a Mercer trustee, and Julie Baugh Cloud; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.