On May 20, 2022 this world lost a gem, but heaven gained another star.
Benjamin Charles Baugh was born in London England on January 26, 1928. His life was impacted by both World Wars, losing his grandfather in the first, and lived through the bombing, terror, and near hopelessness of the second. He was a mere boy, faced with the trauma of war and the very real potential of not seeing adulthood. He was uprooted from his home and relocated to the coast for safety and trained to be a glider pilot with the Royal Air Force air training corps, all before he reached his 16th birthday. These experiences would have shattered most men, but not Ben. They only focused him more to do whatever it took to survive and prosper, a trait that would serve him well.
At his aunt’s birthday party in 1944, Ben met her young co-worker and his soulmate, Rosina. They courted and married in England on June 25th, 1949, but set their sights on America, the land of opportunity. Ben had already begun to lay the ground work, having corresponded with the Mayor of Wichita, KS (a town chosen pretty much at random) about job prospects, housing, etc. So, with a little over $400 dollars in their pocket, Ben and Rosina set out for America.
Their story was truly an “American Success Story.” Ben and Rosina settled in Wichita, had 4 children Roger Baugh in 1952, Bradley in 1953, Sherry in 1961 and Susan in 1963. Ben and Rosina became US citizens in January of 1958. After holding a number of positions at a few design firms. Ben opened the predecessor to Baugh Designs in 1967. He was the principal driving force of the business, (with Rosina’s help of course) until he “retired” in 1992. They did design work for companies like Coleman (where he holds the patent for the Coleman Water jug), Cessna, Learjet, Timex, Hilti, Xerox and Koch to name a few. He continued to do small jobs from his basement office into his 80’s. Ben’s innate ability to see how things work, how they were used (ergonomics) and his artistic flair made him the “go to guy” for these companies. His influence can still be seen in these companies’ products and logos.
Ben and Rosina shared their love for the US with others, sponsoring many families and friends from England to immigrate to the US, forever changing their lives and the lives of their children.
Ben was a car enthusiast, owning several sports cars over the years. As he grew older, he settled for sedans and ultimately purchased a Genesis G80 at the age of 90! Ben and Rosina enjoyed traveling, taking dozens of cruises and untold number of road trips. Ben was renowned for his detailed trip planning, how far to travel, where to eat, where to sleep, what to see both along the way, and when you get there. His family benefited for these adventures and structure.
Ben and Rosina’s life wasn’t all happy times, they also dealt with tragedy. In 1976, they lost their son Bradley in a car accident, changing the family forever. Ben and Rosina, once again, steeled themselves and carried on. Ben lost Rosina in May of 2021. This was the greatest challenge of his life, his partner of nearly 77 years, his best friend was now gone. However, even with this tragic loss, Ben still persevered. He had been primary caregiver for several years, since his dear Rosie’s health had deteriorated. He continued to live by himself in their 2-story house of 50+ years doing all the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. His daughter finally convinced him to come live with her in Kansas City in November of 2021.
Ben was well liked by all who met him. They were fascinated by his stories of his life, his work, his travels and his general outlook on the world. He ALWAYS dressed for success! Even to the extent of wearing a tie to mow the grass in his younger days. He boasted that he had never worn short pants as an adult, which was easy to believe. In his later years he was an easily recognizable figure with his Serengeti Aviators and his driving cap.
Ben and Rosina’s legacy is carried on by their children: Roger (Jackie) in Wichita, KS; Sherry (Steve) in Kansas City, MO; Susan in Morgan Hill, CA; 3 grandchildren; Dr. Travis Smoot (Liz), Columbia, MO; Kelsey Smoot (Codi), Kansas City, MO; Megan Baugh (Brian), Wichita, KS; and 9 great-grandchildren.
We all will miss Ben, his pleasant ways, witty humor and wise counsel. We would all do well to emulate the life of Benjamin C. Baugh, a life well lived.
The family expects to have a “celebration of life” for Ben in Wichita, KS at a date to be determined. Additionally, the family requests a donation to your favorite charity in remembrance of Ben in lieu of flowers.
“The reality is you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss…; you will learn to live with it. You will heal, and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor should you want to.”
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross