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Bruce D. Baggett passed away unexpectedly but peacefully on October 4, 2023, in his Mission, KS home. Bruce was born on February 26, 1953, in Kansas City, MO, to Joe and Louise (née Dawson) Baggett. By 1956, the family relocated to the Coleman Highlands neighborhood where Bruce and his older brothers, George and Jim, attended Norman School near their home. There were many young in families in Coleman Highlands at the time, and the Baggett boys claimed the neighborhood as their own with young “Brucie” in tow.
Bruce attended Westport High School, where he was active in orchestra, sports and Tiger Den before graduating in 1971. Bruce attended UMKC and, outside of school, cultivated his musical talent and woodworking skills, practices that later became his life’s work and comforts. By the mid-1970s, he and his brothers lived within blocks of each other in the historic Hyde Park neighborhood. Bruce shared a home with several roommates in a house, christened the “White Trash Palace,” where they made memories and forged friendships to last a lifetime. Many nights, Bruce and his roommates plucked instruments on the front porch, as dusk set in and bats flew low, and they sang melodies into the night sky with friends and family close by. Ever the music lover, Bruce and his friends formed a local folk band, Wally Layton and the Veg-O-Matics, that entertained any and all concert goers in Kansas City’s midtown.
By the 1980s, Bruce established a contracting business that evolved into a partnership with Gerry Becker. The two worked with some of the city’s most accomplished architects, and the partnership allowed Bruce to display his masterful craftsmanship on residential and commercial properties across town. The business ultimately became known as Bruce Baggett Construction. Outside of work, Bruce knew how to fix things and always had the right tools to do it. With good humor, a smile, and a hug, he was generous in lending a hand (or a tool) and he was always willing to share his knowledge and support.
In 1988, Bruce married Theresa Sartain, who brought with her a daughter, Shawna. In 1989, their son Nicholas was born. Carrying on the tradition of his parents, Bruce and Theresa filled the lives of their own children with music, camping, canoeing, and countless other adventures.
In 2004, Bruce married Janet Bruns (née Ramirez), who brought to the family a daughter, Jillian, and a son, Steve. However, these relationships were far from new to the Baggett family, because Jan grew up right across the street from Bruce and his brother, George, had married Jan’s sister, Vickie, ten years earlier!
Bruce and Jan have filled their years with the joys of being devoted parents, grandparents, and dog parents. With Bruce and Jan’s love and support, their children have thrived and are carving their own paths all over the U.S. and Europe. Bruce and Jan’s love for folk and bluegrass music brought them to festivals across the country, and they are a yearly fixture at the Winfield Walnut Valley Music Festival. They love the Chiefs, Notre Dame Football, and Kansas Basketball. But mostly, they dearly love each other.
Although we will all miss him terribly, we know that Bruce’s beloved dogs, PJ and Tucker, are patiently waiting for Bruce and will take care of him until we see him again.
Bruce is survived by his wife Janet Ramirez-Baggett; children: Shawna (Craig) Ketter, Nick (Jessica) Baggett, Jillian (Théo Maligeay) Bruns, and Steve Bruns; grandchildren: Elliana, Mayah, Karson, Selah, Piper and Phoebe; dogs: Ham, Cora, and Ebony; father-in-law: David Ramirez; brothers: George (Vickie) Baggett and Jim (Cheryl Gail) Baggett; sisters-in-law: Zita (John Rieder) Ramirez, Susan (John) Redmond, Gloria (Kevin) Smith, Sara Sanchis, and Stephanie (Bill) Lindsey; brothers-in-law: David Ramirez, Alfred (Kristi Kilton) Ramirez, and Michael (Laurie) Ramirez; several nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great- nephews; and a tight-knit work crew at Baggett Construction.
The family will host a celebration of Bruce’s life at 12:00 PM on Saturday, November 4, at the All-Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 4501 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64111. In lieu of flowers, the family requests honorary donations to the Folk Alliance International Scholarship Fund and the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City.