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Jeff Bagby

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KOKOMO, Ind. – An engineer at the Chrysler (FCA) Kokomo Transmission Plant is being remembered as a great friend who loved his family. Jeffery Bagby, 60, died on March 24. He was the first person to die from COVID-19 in Howard County. Bagby had an underlying health condition. Bagby graduated from Western High School in 1978 and earned his bachelor’s degree in math and science from Judson Baptist College in 1983. He’d worked at the Kokomo plant since 1985. Bagby was an active member of Fresh Start Ministries. “I think one of the things that stand out to me as I process these days is, he had some battles with his health here in the last few years, but he always found a way to be positive. He always found a way to look for the good,” said Pastor Chad Collins with Fresh Start Ministries. “He was a great friend. He was very passionate about his relationship with the Lord, and because of that, he just loved others. He was a wonderful husband, father, and just loved life.” Collins said he was at the hospital praying with Bagby before learning he’d contracted the coronavirus. Two days later, he learned Bagby tested positive for COVID-19. Collins and others went into self-quarantine for 14 days. On the last day of their quarantine, Bagby passed away. Justin Markley, also a pastor at Fresh Start Ministries, said the community rallied around Bagby’s family by bringing groceries and sending encouraging messages. Until Bagby became sick, Markley admitted he’d underestimated the severity of COVID-19. “I was one of the people that was kind of…discounted the seriousness of this,” Markley said. “I thought, ‘No, this is overrated,’ and then it hit home for me firsthand.”