Delos Miles “Ace” Bagby
September 20, 1918 – May 19, 2014
Delos M. Bagby, for whom the D.M. Bagby Elementary School in San Jose is named, died peacefully in the company of family.
Born in Wichita, Kansas to Shirley Simpson and Nina (Meckstroth) Bagby, he moved to California with his family in 1920. He spent his childhood in San Francisco and Seaside, graduating from Monterey High School. He earned a B.A. in Physical Education and a teaching/administration credential from San Jose State. While playing on the undefeated 1939 Spartan football team, he acquired the nickname Ace “because no one could pronounce Delos.”
In 1942, Ace married his longtime sweetheart Barbara Stutzman in Pacific Grove. They both taught in the Monterey area, then moved to Los Gatos in 1944 where the couple had two children.
Ace began a 33-year career at Cambrian Elementary School District with a 5-room school and 179 students. At its peak in 1968, Cambrian served 5,777 students. As superintendent Ace built and oversaw nine schools after expanding Cambrian: Steindorf, Metzler, Bagby, Fammatre, Price, Sartorette, Hogue, Farnham, and Bohnett.
He pioneered programs for special education, campus libraries, new math, and outdoor education. He was legendary for delighting kids by entering a classroom and executing a perfect handstand on the teacher’s desk.
Ace showed a genuine interest in the many lives he touched. He thrived on hearing and repeating stories and writing newsy letters by hand. In return he was beloved by a large circle of friends who admired his humanity, friendliness, and sparkling sense of humor.
After retiring he became “superintendent” of his neighborhood. People remember him for his friendly waves, helping hands, and unpretentious warmth. He enjoyed keeping up with sports and neighbor news, traveling with Barbara, and actively pursuing legislation to benefit retired teachers.
He leaves behind his daughter Bobbie Vierra (George), son Joshua, sister Lorraine Congdon, and an extended family of nieces, nephews, and their children.
He requested there be no funeral or memorial service. Visit a site honoring his memory at acebagby.wordpress.com.
Donations in honor of Delos M. Bagby may be made to Bagby Elementary School, 1840 Harris Ave., San Jose, CA 95124.
[Visit the Downloads page to download a pdf copy of Ace’s easy-to-read obit.]