Those that knew or worked with the late Bob Bagshaw said the Hillsboro businessman had many facets to his personality, not the least of which was the pursuit of the American Dream.
But chasing the American Dream didn’t cloud his love for his family, friends or the community of Hillsboro, and his daughter, Jeanine Bagshaw-Rosselot, shared that she has heard from many who told her that they can trace the beginnings of their career paths to his entrepreneurial spirit.
In May 1972, she said her parents opened the Hillsboro Kentucky Fried Chicken location and later expanded ownership to more than 30 restaurants.
“Working as a union assembly line worker at Ford in Louisville, Ky. really shaped how he looked at business,” she said. “Dad was always a big dreamer. He encouraged others to dream big and he had a creative way in how he saw things.”
She said her father, who celebrated his 80th birthday in June, was one of whom NBC journalist Tom Brokaw referred to as “The Greatest Generation,” whose childhood was tempered by the close of the Great Depression and the ravages of a world war and another in Korea.
But she said what shaped him more was his humble roots in a town she said most resembled Leesburg or Lynchburg, Ohio or the mythical Mayberry, N.C., and coming from a family of nine children.
Two other strong influences was a girl named Anne from Norway he met while stationed in Paris when serving in the U.S. Air Force. When his hitch in the service ended, he and his new bride moved back to small-town Indiana in the early 1960s where another Henryville native, Colonel Harlan Sanders, was recruiting franchisees for his fried chicken restaurants.
“We always joked that chicken ran in our blood,” said Bob’s son, Bruce Bagshaw. “But it afforded us the chance to work with and partner with so many wonderful people like Keith and Carol Chambers, Lisa Middleton and Bob Widder over the years, along with many members of the Hillsboro business community.”
There are no instructions for living life or raising a family, and the siblings said at times the words “cantankerous” and “ornery” would creep into the family vocabulary.
“We don’t want to paint a picture that he was a saint, because he wasn’t and none of us are, but his family and his friends were very important to him — he came from that era where some men had those big, strong, stubborn personalities,” Bruce Bagshaw said.
Bob Bagshaw passed peacefully, Jeanine said, leaving the dinner table last Tuesday evening to go outside to feed his birds, enjoying the out of doors that he had come to love over the years since leaving that small town in southern Indiana.
The family hopes that the legacy he will leave are the personal and business influences he made on those he worked with, the economic impact his efforts as an entrepreneur had on the region, and his philanthropic desires to make the community a little bit better than when he found it, such as funding the construction of the new Highland County Courthouse Square Fountain that was announced in late June.
He held every child he met close to his heart and the community as well, his family said. To support those passions, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to SATH/Kamp Dovetail, c/o Linda Allen, 5350 W. New Market Rd., Hillsboro, Ohio 45133, or online at Kamp Dovetail; or Grow! Highland County, P.O. Box 184, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133.
According to his wishes, services were private.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.