On July 3, 2018 the avid reader Susie Rebecca Seagraves Baugh wrote the ending to her 93 -year epic novel.
Her story began on September 15, 1924 when she entered the world to join her half-siblings and her Mother and Father in their home on Poplar Street in Athens, Georgia. As proud she was of her father Harvey Lee (Bob) Seagraves, she loved the fact that her name was modeled after that of her mother, Susie Reba Winn Seagraves, and fashioned herself as something of a mother’s girl. She loved to play with dolls and was overjoyed when she returned from a trip to the grocery store with her father to find she had been gifted with a real-life baby doll in the form of her sister Barbara Ann. She was also happy to add the later gifts of brothers Donald Winn and David Hartford Seagraves and a dog named Bozo.
While her siblings ventured into sports and extra-curricular activities as they aged, Rebecca preferred to stay close to home with family pets and her books. Interests outside the home generally centered around church and school – two areas in which she remained passionate about all her life.
Even in the confines of her reclusive environment she found the need to be rescued and gave her life over to Her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and thus began a relationship that would add depth, meaning and adventure to her life story.
As she grew up in East Athens Baptist Church, so did her responsibilities grow there. She taught Sunday School for a variety of ages and groups, served on numerous committees and sang in the choir. Later in life she and her husband wrote a history of the church. Her love of education led her graduation from Athens High School and the University of Georgia (with multiple degrees), then to teaching positions in Grantville, Marietta and back to Athens High School, where she later served as guidance counselor.
Romance was introduced late into Rebecca’s storyline in the form of a fellow coffee-making teacher, Herman Crawford Baugh. Although obviously mutually smitten, she delayed responding to her beau’s initial requests – and her mother’s frequent urging that she wed because she wanted to be a June bride. And so, on June 19, 1966 they walked down the aisle to officially begin a fairytale romance that lasted almost 43 years.
The couple never had biological children, but by opening the doors of their home to hosts of nieces and nephews, college students, church family, foreign students and their families, missionaries and a menagerie of dogs and cats they instilled a lot of love, faith and wisdom into future generations.
Together the two traveled and were active in the community through volunteering (and singing) at the local nursing homes, service in the local hospital and membership in various organizations including the Athens Civitan Club and the Golden K Kiwanis Club in Oxford, Alabama. After moving to Anniston, Alabama they joined Meadowbrook Baptist Church.
Rebecca carried on as best she could after Herman’s death in 2009. She continued to be the great spiritual prayer warrior she had been for all of her family and extended family members. She remained a popular and well-loved resident at the Birmingham, Alabama retirement home to which she and her husband had moved in 2001 even as her Parkinson’s disease progressed. She was proceeded in death by her parents, half-siblings Lillian Gaynelle Seagraves Farr Wansley, Harvey Hill, Frank Edward, Nelson Hardy and Harold Lee Seagraves, her brother Donald Winn Seagraves, nephew Donald Winn Seagraves Junior, sisters -in law Melissa Seagraves, Pauline Boddie, Joyce and Shirley Hughes and brothers in law Elmer, Arthur and Hoyt Baugh and Goss R. Tiller and pets BW, Baby, Denny, Murphy and Lulu. Survivors include sister Barbara Ann Seagraves Tiller Carter, brother David Hartford (Trixie) Seagraves, niece and caregiver Ann Rebecca Tiller Harrison (Steve), Barbara Elizabeth Tiller Umbarger (Ellis), Pati Tiller (David H. Montgomery) , Kathryn Hope Seagraves Austin (Wayne), Lacy Marie Seagraves Boatfield (Michael) and David “Skip” Hartford Seagraves Jr. (Sharon) and a host of loving great and great-great nieces, nephews, cousins and “foster” children.
Rebecca’s earthly story officially concluded with a funeral service at Lord & Stephens East on July 6, 2018. Pallbearers were Wayne Austin, Drew Austin, Nash Austin, Skip Seagraves, Freddie Seagraves and David Montgomery. The service was officiated by the Rev. Michael Boatfield, and included comments from those who loved her. Memorials to honor her may be made to a local church body or pet rescue group of your choosing. Her body was interred at Oconee Hill Cemetery, but we know her spirit is working on her sequel in Heaven.