Michael Nicholas Bakarich

Published 6:18 pm Monday, July 30, 2018

Brigadier General Michael Nicholas Bakarich, 90, died peacefully at the home of his son, Doctor Michael A. Bakarich, in LaGrange, Georgia, on July 25, 2018.

General Bakarich was born on May 6, 1928, in Chicago, Illinois, to Michael Nicholas Bakarich and Sarah Grace Edgerton. He was the third of eight children. He and his family traveled to Bisbee, Arizona, in 1931 and eventually acquired a homestead in Sierra Vista, Arizona. He grew up on the Lazy Y-5 Ranch and attended Tombstone High School. He graduated at the age of 17 and attended Arizona Teacher’s College (Northern Arizona University) for one year.

He enlisted in the Army at the end of the Korean War and served on Guam from 1946-1948. Upon leaving the military, he attended the University of Oklahoma, majoring in petroleum geology. He was active in ROTC and was a golden glove boxer. Upon graduation he was commissioned to active duty as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1951. He served in the 101st Airborne Division as a master paratrooper. He met the love of his life, Carolyn Hansel Cross, at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, and they were married in 1952. They were married nearly 62 years and they raised a total of 11 children.

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General Bakarich’s notable military career includes graduating from U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Later, he graduated from the U.S. Army War College, while at the same time earning his master’s degree from Penn State University. Highlights of his assignments include artillery battery commander (82nd Airborne Division), military advisor to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam), battalion artillery commander (25th Infantry Division), and, in South Korea, division artillery commander, chief of staff, and assistant division commander (all in the 2nd Infantry Division). He retired from the Army in 1980. Upon retirement he held various executive positions in Bechtel Corporation and, later, Entergy Corporation. He retired from Entergy in 2003.

General Bakarich and his wife, Carolyn, owned and operated Yesterday’s Children Antique Doll and Toy Museum in Vicksburg, for 30 years. After the death of his wife, in 2014, he continued to operate the museum, in her honor, for the last four years. He and his wife were also active members of Hawkins Methodist Church in Vicksburg.

He is survived by eight daughters and two sons: Victoria Ray (Charles), Janis Walker (Doug), Randi Masotti (Louis), Stephanie Jeselnik (Tony), Ashley Powley (Keith), John F. Bakarich, Michael A. Bakarich (Abby), Kimberly White (Ronnie), Caroline Hardesty (Josh), and Alexandra Beth Owens (Casey). Another son, Michael N. Bakarich, preceded him in death.

His graveside ceremony, with full military honors, will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a date yet to be determined. In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to River City Rescue Mission or Hawkins Methodist Church.