Guido Bagett lived an extraordinary life filled with more adventure than most can imagine. Born in Chialamberto, Italy he came to America at the age of two with his mother, Madalena and an older brother. They arrived at Ellis Island in 1914, were quarantined due to chickenpox and eventually resumed travel by train to Marble, Colorado where they met his father, James, who had emigrated from Italy to establish a business. Guido’s first Colorado memory was as a two-year old wearing knee pants and stepping off the train into snow. He was hooked! His family resided in Marble for a few years until his father purchased the now historic Sheridan Building in Carbondale and started a grocery business.
Guido always said that living in Marble and Carbondale were simple, good times. As a young boy he loved the outdoors and had many fond memories of learning to fish, hunt and trap. He recalled the first block of marble which had been cut in the Marble quarry for the Tomb of the Unknown falling off the train flatcar into the Crystal River on its way to Carbondale. He talked about how beautiful the valley was once and of climbing Mt. Sopris just for something to do. He trapped for fur along the Frying Pan and Roaring Fork to make extra money so that he could buy a German Shepherd pup from Kansas. His endeavor and one of his mink pelts earned him national recognition and a cash prize. He bought the dog that became his constant and devoted companion for years to come.
But his fondest memory was the day he saw his future wife, Vera, ride into Carbondale on a horse from a nearby ranch. It was love at first sight and he said he knew at that moment that one day he would marry her. They were secretly married two years later in 1933 (she was 16 and he 21) which caused some upset! That union lasted for almost 75 years.
After marriage the young couple settled in Marble and during the depression years Guido worked with the railroad and the Forest Service. He remembered felling trees near Bogan Flats because of beetle infestation and said he was happy to bring home 50 cents a day when so many were unemployed. He had become an expert marksman and hunter and a skilled fly fisherman and elk, venison or trout were their staples. He said they were fortunate to have food and that Vera could cook anything and make it taste good! Despite their hardships in those years they were happy in love and nothing would ever change that.
Guido was 32 and married with two children when he enlisted in the Army in 1944. He was “old” compared to the younger men being sent off to war but he said he volunteered because it was his duty after what he had been given in this country. Following basic at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri he was transferred to the 732nd Railway Operating Battalion and shipped overseas. After Utah Beach he was assigned to Patton’s 3rd Army. He served with honors in the Battle of the Bulge and recounted that he had been a sniper on a flatcar at the front of military trains carrying troops and equipment to the front.
After the war Guido spent a few years helping with his father’s business until he changed careers. The family (now with a third child) settled in Steamboat Springs where he managed the CocaCola plant for several years. His reputation as a savvy businessman and his talent with product quality was far reaching and after several years in Steamboat, he made moves to other beverage plants in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado to help build distribution and improve product. He retired as manager at Mesa Beverage.
His age never stopped him. At 95 he flew for the first time to Alaska and flew with a bush pilot to visit a gold mine north of the Arctic Circle run by his former son-in-law. At 96 he was the oldest veteran on the first Freedom Flight honoring WWII vets from western Colorado to Washington DC. He loved life! In spite of his success in his many endeavors, Guido’s family was what he was the most proud of. He was devoted to his wife, children and grandchildren and was not afraid to express his love. He taught by example with his kindness, patience and humility. And he will always be remembered for his honesty and integrity and a very wry sense of humor. There are no words to fully describe his family’s loss of this most amazing man. He was and always will be their hero.
Guido is survived by two daughters, Beverly Hensley of Grand Junction and Karen Aiello (Bill) of Keizer, Oregon, son Richard Bagett of Grand Junction, and sister-in-law Pegi Mercer (Willoughby) of Grand Junction. In addition are seven grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, and five great-great grandchildren, a nephew, his wife and a great nephew and niece and their families. He is predeceased by his wife, Vera, two grandchildren, his parents and four siblings.
Guido was a resident of the Veterans Hospital CLC unit and died as a result of contracting the flu. His family was by his side. Arrangements by Callahan-Edfast with private services pending at Veterans Memorial Cemetery
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