The Lord in his mercy called Richard Thomas Bagwell from labor to reward on Friday April 28, 2023. Richard was born in Accomac, Virginia, on November 8, 1938. He was the second of six children born to Rev. Isaiah D. Bagwell and Luvenia O. (Justis) Bagwell. From his early childhood he was known as his daddy’s little “buddy". Hence, he was lovingly called Buddy by his siblings and family his entire life. Although a soft-spoken man of few words, his life spoke volumes.
Richard’s formal education began in the Virginia public schools. However, several years after the untimely death of his mother and his youngest sibling, his father, Rev. Bagwell, remarried and the family relocated to Asbury Park New Jersey. The family was blended with their stepmother, Phoebe O. (Pryor) Bagwell. Sometime after their move, Richard became “the man of the family" with the death of his father. He attended Asbury Park High School and worked after school. With the well-being of his family in mind, he enlisted in the United States Army. He served until he was honorably discharged in 1963.
Richard was joined in matrimony to Ruth Ann Goodman on June 20, 1963. They were blessed with two healthy children, Richard Clayton and Robin Teresa. Their relationship didn't come without challenges. Ruth suffered a stroke in 2008 which caused Vascular Dementia. He became her caregiver until he himself began to have health challenges. At the suggestion of their son in-law Clarence and daughter Robin, they relocated to Dover, DE in December 2018 and lived with their family until his departure. He was elated to finally move to Delaware. He loved family and enjoyed the intimate time he got to spend with his grandsons: Immanuel, Samuel, and Josiah, especially on Sundays at church and dinnertime. Brielle (bonus grandaughter) played an intricate role in his care, often assisting whenever or wherever needed. He also cherished time with granddaughter, ShaRhonda, on their trips to one of his favorite spots, Goodwill.
Richard had an impeccable work ethic. He was employed in various capacities in several upscale retail stores including Steinbach’s in Eatontown, Pix Shoes in Asbury Park and later in the Waterford Crystal Outlet. He was honored for decades of service with perfect attendance.
Richard gave his life to the Lord at an early age. He was dedicated to serving the Lord, His Church, and His people. He was a lifelong member of Shiloh United Holy Church. When his daughter was sent out to Pastor by Bishop Ralph L. Dennis, he became a foundational member of Kingdom Worship Center, Dover, De under the leadership of his daughter, Pastor Robin. He became head of the Deacons’ Board under Bishop Mark White. Deacon Bagwell was unwavering in his commitment to maintaining the house of God. Even after his health and eyesight began to fail and he was no longer able to drive, he could be seen walking unsteadily to and from the church to make certain nothing was left undone. After relocating to Delaware, he became a member of New Hope UHC, under the pastorate of Elder Sarah E. Stevens.
Richard loved flea markets and yard sales and it became a family ritual. His primary interest was to look for board games. He was said to have the world’s most extensive collection. His nephew, Curtis J. Moreland, who predeceased him, had begun the process to have Richard’s collection authenticated by Guinness Book of World Records. He was also an avid collector of African art and artifacts.
Richard was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia in February of 2021. As a result, his health began to decline rapidly, and his care became more challenging. His son Richard moved to Delaware in 2022 to assist with the care of his parents. Richard got the opportunity to spend quality time with all of his grandchildren and extended family. Affectionately known as Poppie to many, he gained bonus children: Joann Reeves (Paul), Charise, Jackie and Stephanie, over the course of his life.
In addition to his parents, Richard was predeceased by his older sister Gloria Grace and baby brother Alfred Lewis.
Surviving to cherish his memory and continue his legacy of love are his wife of 60 years, Ruth Ann Bagwell (Goodman), his son, Richard Clayton and daughter, Robin T. Patterson (Clarence), Dover, DE, three sisters: Dr. M. Monica Sweeney, Brooklyn, NY, Jane M. Moreland (Curtis) Long branch, NJ and Hazel F. Samuels, Tinton Falls, NJ, 11 grandchildren (all who assisted in his care), 13 great-grandchildren along with a host of nieces, nephews and cousins. He is also survived by Tucker, his devoted and very protective 4-legged friend and bodyguard.
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