Posted on

Arlo ‘Doc’ Baggerley

Arlo ‘Doc’ Baggerley Arlo ‘Doc’ Baggerley

Arlo Dale Baggerley, 93, formerly of Loyal, passed away on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, at the Riverside Assistive Living residence in Neillsville. He is survived by three daughters: Vicki Lee (Dave) Labbe of Cumberland, Beth Ann (Garry) Sherwood of Chippewa Falls, and Sherry Lynn Baggerley of Waukesha; one son, Dale Jay (Shelley Thorstensen) Baggerley of Oxford, Pa,; three grandchildren: Audrey Matson Komp, Russel Matson and Jack Baggerley; and two great-grandchildren: Ethan and Riley Komp.

Arlo Dale Baggerley and Doris Ann (nee Kistler) Baggerley were married in Winamac, Ind., on Oct. 22, 1949. They both came from a long line of farm families in the United States. John Baggerley came from the Cheshire, England, area in 1740. His original farm was at the site of the U.S. Capitol.

Arlo was born on April 18, 1927, in Rochester, Ind., to Clifford and Lillian “Lucille” (nee Stanley) Baggerley. He had one sister, Letha Gale (Mullikin). Arlo spent his grade school years in southwest Michigan and northern Indiana where his father taught school; in the summer he and his family returned to the farm that adjoined his grandparents Charlie and Melissa (Shinn) Baggerley’s farm. Life on the farm for Arlo involved working the fields with his team of mules, Daisy and Buster, milking cows, being assigned various farm jobs, and, always, being accompanied by his faithful dog Molly. Eventually his father began working in nearby Rochester, Ind., as the junior high school English teacher and principal. Arlo then attended Fulton High School, where he was the editor of the school paper, a member of the basketball team, and the class valedictorian. In 1945, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, receiving basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Academy in Chicago, then entering the Officer Training Program at Auburn University, Alabama, with the intent of becoming a veterinarian. He attended only one year, being discharged at the culmination of World War II. In 1946, he became a milk tester traveling from farm to farm. It was common practice for the milk tester to sleep the night at the last farm of the day. One day at the Doug and “Bib” Feltis farm, it was mentioned that someone needed to go pick up Bib’s little sister “Toots” where she worked at the doctor office in Winamac. Arlo quickly volunteered and hurried to town. No one at the doctor’s office knew who “Toots” was until Doris, Arlo’s future wife, confessed that she was, in fact, “Toots”.

Doris eventually moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, with family members to start a bar-b-que style restaurant. So, one day Arlo got in his car and, without stopping except for gas and food, drove to Corpus Christi. He bought a ring and asked Doris to marry him. She said yes. From 1950-56, Arlo and Doris rented a small farmhouse and barn south of Twelve Mile, Ind. Three daughters were born there: Vicki, Beth and Sherry. The house had electricity but no indoor plumbing. They had two guernsey cows they milked. For three years, Arlo worked as a fireman on the Wabash Railroad Line, shoveling coal into the furnace to heat the big steam engine boiler. Soon he partnered with Sam Hoover from 1953-58 to run an excavating company that’s primary job was tiling wetlands to dry them out and clearing woodland so they could all be turned into useable farmland. In 1956, Doris and Arlo bought a house with indoor plumbing a few miles northwest of Twelve Mile where a son, Dale, was born. In 1959, Arlo began driving the big Caterpillar earthmovers, first in Connersville, Ind., then later building the airport at Grand Rapids, Mich. Doris and the children moved to Big Pine Island, Mich., in 1961 to be near Arlo and establish residency so that Arlo could enroll in the MSU Veterinary School. In the early summer of 1962, Arlo had an accident on the earthmover resulting in his having multiple broken ribs and cracked vertebrae. He spent the summer laying flat on his back on a hard board recuperating at the Big Pine Island house. In the fall, he enrolled as a freshman at Michigan State University. Doris and the children moved with him to a two-bedroom married housing apartment, 1612-B Spartan Village. Doris said that Arlo went to college laying flat on his back. Because of his bad back and the small apartment, he would retreat each evening to the bedroom to lay on the bed and study. In December 1967 at the age of 40, he graduated from the MSU Veterinary School. He was voted by his classmates as “most likely to succeed.” Arlo and Doris and their four children packed everything they owned into two vehicles and moved to Loyal, the place with the most dairy cattle per square mile in North America. Arlo and Doris had bought the veterinary practice, as well as the combined house and clinic from Doc Lee. They arrived in Loyal at midnight on Dec. 17, 1967. There was a full moon and the temperature was 20 degrees below zero. Mattresses were unpacked and places were found to sleep. The next day the phone rang and Arlo, now Doc Baggerley, went out to a farm on a call. At 40, he was in a hurry to be successful. He didn’t take a day off for several years. Doris and Doc were a formidable team, building the operation over 20 years into a four-veterinarian practice. Doris was the office manager, answering the phone, running the drug room, and talking smart to every farmer who she came in contact with. They built the practice by initiating herd health practices involving monthly visits to farms. They promoted proactive health management rather than just responding to emergencies. At the time they were on the cutting-edge of large animal health practices and were respected by all. In 1988, they sold the practice, eventually moving to a 120-acre farm they had bought north of Loyal. They began raising Simmental beef cattle. They farmed the property growing various crops. Doc bought a bulldozer and began clearing and tiling a woodlot so he could till the acreage. He also used the bulldozer to build a pond. Doris spent time with her grandchildren. They farmed the property for more than 20 years until age made it impossible to continue.

Doc was an avid reader his whole life. He was also known for being unafraid to take risks. He obtained his pilot license and bought an airplane so he and Doris could fly from Loyal to visit relatives in Indiana. He was never happier than when creating a huge bonfire from slash of cleared trees or when drilling a hole and packing a tree stump with dynamite then blowing it to smithereens.

In lieu of flowers, the family is accepting memorials for Arlo on behalf of the Loyal Future Farmers of America. Please forward donations to: Beth Sherwood, 13048 37th Ave., Chippewa Falls, WI 54729.

A graveside service will be held for immediate family members.

The Cremation Society of Wisconsin in Altoona is assisting with the arrangements. Additional photos will be posted there.