Mr. Handstand Man

Delos Bagby handstands

Ace was legendary for doing handstands. He enjoyed entering classrooms and to the delight of the kids, he would execute a handstand on the teacher’s desk. It was always entertaining to see the man in the business suit do unexpected gymnastic tricks.

It didn’t stop at school. He found other venues for his tricks, such as spontaneous gymnastics during family vacations.

He would also surprise secretaries at the Santa Clara County Office of Education by treating them to examples from his unique skill set.

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One thought on “Mr. Handstand Man

  1. When I first met Ace, it was at a family party. He was wearing a bow-tie. He was one of the most charming men I had met. I remember that not only did he shake my hand, but he grabbed my elbow and pulled me into a hug. That is what Ace did, he pulled you in.

    Ace was not a man based in fear – when you would have a conversation, he would tell you how things used to be, but when you would tell him about a new development he would smile and say, “Ain’t That Something!”

    Ace reminded me of a simpler time when people ran for the phone, waved to their neighbors and dressed up to meet a loved one at the airport.

    Growing up in Santa Cruz, whenever I would go to the boardwalk, I would always pause as I was drawn in by the black and white historical photos of people coming to the Coconut Grove bandstand. Ace made me think of those times. He would say things like, “Gee!” and “Ain’t THAT Something,” and “That’s the way it was!.” I loved that. It reminded me of Sunday afternoon movies. To me he was a little Jimmy Stewart and a little Mickey Rooney and his life was a story I always loved to hear. He would tell me about his handstands on the desks and how he would ask land owners for land to build a school. He might tell me the stories more than once, but I loved that too. Sometimes, I would act if I hadn’t heard the story , just to hear it again- because he lighted up when he told it. I loved when he talked how Barbara would look at him and smile. Most of all, I loved that when you left Ace, you always felt a little sunnier or lighter. Thank you to Ace – we’ll miss you!

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