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Long-time Alabama Baptist Convention leader dies in Montgomery after extend


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP)–George E. Bagley Sr., 83, who was executive secretary-treasurer of the Alabama Baptist State Convention from 1963 to 1983, died at home on Easter Sunday, April 12, after an extended illness.
Bagley served the convention in various positions for 38 years. Moving from the pastorate of Avoca Baptist Church in Indiana, he was employed in the state Training Union department in 1945. After one year as an associate, he was named the department director for the next eight and one-half years.
In 1955, Bagley was elected manager of Shocco Springs Baptist Assembly in Talladega and assistant to then-executive secretary-treasurer A. Hamilton Reid. After becoming Reid’s full﷓time assistant, he succeeded Reid following Reid’s 1962 retirement.
Bagley was born into a farm family on Dec. 15, 1914, in Cornersville, Tenn. When he was four, his parents moved to Nashville in search of work. A year later they moved to Bessemer, then Fairfield, where Bagley grew up.
At First Baptist Church, Fairfield, Bagley was ordained a deacon at age 21 and became involved in Baptist Young People’s Union — the forerunner of Training Union, now Discipleship Training. While attending Training Union Assembly Week at Ridgecrest in 1937, he made a public decision to enter vocational Christian service. In pursuit of that calling, he enrolled in Howard College — now Samford University — later that year and graduated in 1942.
As a student in 1941, Bagley was called as pastor of two “half-time” churches — First Baptist, Stevenson, and another congregation out in the county. His commute from Birmingham was 150 miles.
Upon graduating from Howard, Bagley entered Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. While there, he met Helen Marie Smith of Atlanta, who was attending the Woman’s Missionary Union Training School. They were married at Kirkwood Baptist Church, Atlanta, on July 5, 1944.
In addition to his service to Alabama Baptists, Bagley also was involved in state and civic affairs. He served as a member and chairman of the State of Alabama Ethics Commission, and on the State Bar Committee appointed to study Alabama’s penal system.
In 1990, the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions conferred on Bagley the title of executive secretary emeritus.
In addition to his wife, Bagley is survived by three children: G. Edwin Bagley Jr. of Monroe, N.C., James C. Bagley of Montgomery, Ala., and Annelle Bagley Reed of Tuscaloosa, Ala.; a sister, Helen McKinney of Fairfield, Ala.; and eight grandchildren.
The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Cloverdale Baptist Church in Montgomery. Burial will follow at Greenwood Cemetery in Montgomery.