ARLINGTON, TX -- Elton L. Brogdon, known to many as Bo, has left a multi-decade legacy of helping people and guiding young boys to young men through his extraordinary work with the Boy Scouts of America. Bo passed away with family and friends at his side Friday, June 15, 2007, after a courageous battle with cancer. Bo Brogdon spent 74 years of his life as a Boy Scout and Scout leader in Arlington, Texas, the region and the nation. He was so revered that one friend is flying in, taking a cab to the funeral home to pay his respects and taking the same cab back to his return flight. Mr. Brogdon was 86. Earning his Eagle Scout in 1938 at Troop 68, he remained involved in Troop 68 and Scouting until his death. He also assisted with a troop of Scouts with special needs at Troop 517. "The kids in the Troop realize what a driving force he was in the Scouts," said friend and fellow Scout leader, Steve Barnes, of Arlington. "There are several kids who will get their Eagle Scouts this year who got a gentle nudge from Bo." Those gentle nudges often took the form of a little folksy wisdom interlaced with expletives that never really came off as profane. "He was very much his own man, a man's man and a straight shooter," said "Pepper" Hitchcock, Mr. Brogdon's son-in-law. "His language was as colorful as anybody's in the world." Elton Brogdon was born Dec. 4, 1920, in Oil City, La. His family moved to Arlington in 1923, where he graduated from Arlington High School and went on to earn his bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He remained true to the "orange and white" all throughout his life, even his last days. Bo remained a resident the rest of his life and became an integral part of the development of Boy Scouts at the local level. He joined the Boy Scouts at age 12 and became an Eagle Scout with Troop 68 in 1938. He was in Troop 68 only four or five years after it was founded," said Kevin Steffy, deputy Scout executive in the Fort Worth area's Longhorn Council. Mr. Brogdon was a landman for Sinclair Oil and Mitchell Petroleum Co., writing many mineral and royalty leases in Cooke, Montague, Tarrant and Wise counties before retiring in 1987. Bo met Lorraine Koch while at the University of Texas and they were married in 1949. They were married 51 years until the death of his Cookie. They had one daughter, Kimberly. Kim married Pepper Hitchcock and they gave Bo the joy of his life in his granddaughter, Loren Leslie Hitchcock, in 1987. Hitchcock said his father-in-law had a legendary train collection. "I've never seen the whole setup, although I've seen more than 100 cars, engines and other railroad stuff," he said. "And Bo was a member of a local gem and mineral society until his eyesight started getting bad." Bo began to advise a group within the Boy Scouts known as the Order of the Arrow. Although not the founder, there are many young men in the OA today who have never known the organization without Bo Brogdon. He held the national advisor position for the OA for eight years and was the regional chairman of OA for 10 years. Bo was awarded the prestigious Silver Beaver from the Longhorn Council in 1968 and the prestigious national Silver Antelope in 1984. The OA awarded Bo the National Founders Award in 1991. He attended every national OA conference since 1982. In his later years, Bo gave his time generously to Troop 68 and Troop 517, a special-needs Scout unit. He devoted countless hours to the completion of the "Scout Hut" at First United Methodist Church of Arlington. This man truly had Scouting spirit deep in his heart. Scouting will miss Bo Brogdon in many and varied ways. He was a legend in his own time and at the time of his death he was considered the oldest Scouter in Arlington. He is well known for the many times he was the head cook at OA events, national scout events and local troop events. "Bo Brogdon was always willing to help and lend his time. Now, it always came with an opinion. But Bo spoke his mind and told you what he thought and how it was going to be," Steffy said.
Mr. Brogdon will be buried in his Scout uniform, on which he accumulated four rows of awards (10) representing achievements such as his Eagle Scout, national awards and an award from his church, First United Methodist in Arlington. In the weeks before his death, Mr. Brogdon's family and friends started gathering for dinner at J. Gilligan's, an Arlington restaurant. "The first week, there were about 50 people," Barnes said. "The next week, there was another 50 people. We started calling it Bo-fest." There will only be one Bo Brogdon, and those of us throughout the USA who knew him and loved him are better for it. He was charming and witty, and that could make you laugh and cry at the same time. There is no person who ever knew Bo Brogdon that who not have at least one "Bo story." He could tell stories of old Arlington that were accurate and sometimes amazing. His language was colorful and that was his personality, colorful and one of a kin
Other survivors include a daughter, Kimberly Hitchcock; a brother, Kenneth Brogdon; and one grandchild.
FUNERAL at First United Methodist Church in Arlington. Burial will follow in Parkdale Cemetery.
From Pepper and Family:
Hello to All!
It is my hope that this email will be sent out to the far reaching corners of the Bo Network so that those of you who are not local can appreciate the events that took place, Bo's day of rest.
The service at the church was right on the mark. The eulogy delivered by scouter Dave Thomas was right on the mark. Dave did some of his own research and painted a wonderful image of Bo and all that he did for Scouting over the past 74 years. The affirmation of faith was replaced with the Scout oath and it was very impressive to turn and see that many individuals reciting the Oath in their uniforms and with their right hands up and with the scout salute. The minister added his own perspective of Bo and that too was a wonderful tribute to a man loved by so many. The music was upbeat and included guitars, drums and piano. No organ music was a mandatory request from Bo himself. I wasn't about to go against him either!!
Bo's other request was to have him leave the church to the music of the St. Louis Blues. He got his wish. The weather all day yesterday morning was threatening rain and it did actually rain as the service started. As we all left the church and started the procession to the grave site, the weather was threatening rain and judging by the clouds it was going to be heavy. Oh no, Bo would have none of that and in the short time it took to reach the grave site, the weather had done a total about face. The sun had split the clouds, blue sky behind those clouds and just enough humidity to remind us all we were in Texas in June. The graveside service was very well done and the closing moments were for all of us to listen to TAPS being blown on the bugle by Grant Kee, a scouter with excellent bugle abilities. I want all of you to take this next paragraph and form the image they create in your mind.
The family is sitting facing the casket, the pallbearers are standing just the other side of the casket and Grant is behind them under shade tree. The sun is shining brightly and all of the rain clouds are well off to the East. The bugle begins its melody of TAPS and all 8 pallbearers who are Scouts from all levels, one by one snap a salute to Bo. Without question for me, it was the most fitting moment and tribute that I experienced in all of the past 7 months and it was a moment that shall remain with me for the rest of my life.
Kim, Loren and I would like to deeply thank all of you no matter where you are for your love and support over these past months and specifically the past 3 weeks. We have cards and emails from all over the country and it continues to amaze us just how far Bo could reach and what he did for people, especially scouters. There is no doubt that he has touched thousands of lives over the past 74 years and he will be fondly remembered by everyone of them.
It is hard to believe that we have laid him to rest and that this ride is now over. I expect this to be the last broadcast email that comes from this computer. I would do it all over again exactly the way it was done. He deserved the best care, he deserved the best support and remember he did exactly that for countless families in the DFW area when their loved ones were ill or they had problems and needed someone to talk it out. For Steve and I, we did was what comes natural and a way to somehow repay the man for all he did for everyone in their time of need.
I will close by simply saying thank you. Each of you played a part in Bo's life and now you are part of ours. We love you.
Pepper, Kim, Loren Hitchcock
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to 68 Alumni Association, Box 2045, Arlington, Texas 76004. The 68 Alumni Association was formed to insure the continuation of the work of the founding members and those who followed after that, including Bo.