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Philanthropist and Businessman Jerry Bawcum Passes Away

Gerald Glen Bawcum, age 74, of Paris, passed away August 12, 2012 in his home in Paris surrounded by his loving family and devoted caretakers.

Jerry was born April 22, 1938 in Holladay,Tennesseeto James Glen and Ann Woods Bawcum.  He, along with his younger brother, George and sister, Sandy, grew up in Chicago,Illinois.  Following his high school graduation, Jerry entered the United States Army, where he honorably served his country for three years. Soon after returning from the service, Jerry met the love of his life, Judith Ann Stark. They were married in October of 1960 and began a beautiful life together. They were blessed with four children and eight grandchildren, who will forever be grateful for the many memories they shared.

In 1973, his Car business career began in Idabel,Oklahoma, where he and Judy built and opened Bawcum Motor Company. Over the next 40 years, he owned and operated multiple automobile dealerships in Southeast Oklahoma and Northeast Texas. In 1989, one of his dreams was realized when he had the opportunity and privilege to partner with his two sons, Glen and Matt, to open Toyota of Paris. Throughout the next 23 years, the team at Toyota of Paris established an extraordinary reputation for customer service and dedication to the community.  Jerry humbly believed that any of his success or recognition was due in large part to his valued friends that he worked with everyday.

Jerry was a man who loved his family above all. His work ethic, devotion to his loved ones, and philanthropic involvement served as a model to his children, grandchildren, friends and co-workers. His great generosity bettered his community and inspired many to become involved as well. Easter of 1998, he gave his family the greatest gift by joining the Catholic Church. Jerry quickly became an active member of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, where he served as a lector and a volunteer for the St. Vincent De Paul Society. In addition, Jerry served on many boards and supported many organizations.  Some closest to his heart includeSt. Joseph’s Community Foundation, St. Vincent De Paul Society, Meals on Wheels, Agape House, and the annual Thanksgiving Dinner.  Along, with Jerry, his employees have joined him, and followed his example of service.

Jerry was a man of many interests. He had a great appreciation for literature and was an avid reader. He enjoyed cooking, much to the delight of his family and friends. Traveling was a passion and he was blessed with many opportunities to do so with his family. Whether he was playing tennis, softball, or cards, his competitive nature and love of the game was apparent. After 70 years of dismissing golf as a true sport, he eventually developed a fondness for that game as well.

He is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Judith Bawcum; four children, Diana McDonald and her husband, John, Glen Bawcum and his wife, Tracy, Matt Bawcum and his wife, LeAnna, and Andrea Irwin and her husband, Walt. Jerry is also survived by eight grandchildren, Amanda Irwin, Kristen Richmond and her husband, Jared, Alec Bawcum, Kyle Bawcum, Andi Bawcum, Marc Bawcum, Nick Irwin, and Chandler Bawcum.

A celebration of his life will begin Tuesday, August 14th, at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church with a rosary and prayer service at 6:00 P.M. .Visitation will immediately follow until 8:30 P.M.. A funeral Mass will be held at Our Lady of Victory Wednesday, August 15th at 10:00 A.M. Interment following at EvergreenCemetery.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the St Vincent de Paul Society, St. Josephs Community Foundation, or Agape House

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