Obituary of Garrett Hagan
Dr. Garrett (Joe) Hagan, Jr.; 88, of Sylacauga, Al. died Sunday, March 4, 2018 at the VA Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, of Cancer. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Eleanor (Hagan) Leland. Dr. Hagan was born in Sylacauga, Alabama on March 30, 1929 to Judge Garrett and Lavinia (Wright) Hagan. His father was an attorney with the Federal Government, and during the Great Depression and WWII the family moved to many places in the U.S., finally settling in Sylacauga, where Dr. Hagan graduated from Sylacauga High School. He went on to graduate from Jacksonville State University where he was a member of the ROTC and entered the U.S. Army as a 2nd Lieutenant. While in Korea, he was seriously wounded in combat, earning a Purple Heart, and he was also awarded our nation’s prestigious Silver Star for heroism that resulted in saving many lives of his fellow combat squad in the battle of the infamous “Old Baldy.” After returning from overseas duty, it was during a training mission in Nevada where he became one of the few people to ever witness the testing of an atomic explosion. Leaving the military he attended Auburn University on the GI Bill, graduating with a degree in veterinary medicine. Practicing in Alexander City; Margate, Florida; and Franklin, NC; he then opened a clinic in Sylacauga. But Dr. Hagan continued to serve his country while maintaining his veterinary practice by joining the Alabama National Guard’s 20th Special Forces Group in Birmingham and completed 32 parachute jumps before retiring with the rank of Major. He was also an avid backpacker and canoe enthusiast and enjoyed roaming the trails of the Sipsey and Cheaha Wilderness Areas or paddling Hatchet Creek. Often he would say over a campfire, “I wonder what the poor folks are doing today?” because he felt so rich. Retiring from his veterinary practice after 44 years, Dr. Hagan lived in Coosa County with 12 dogs whose owners had refused to pay their outstanding bills and abandoned them. Typically, a veterinarian would euthanize such animals, but he could not bring himself to do that, so the fortunate animals lived blissfully with him in retirement for many years, the last one passing in 2017. Dr. Hagan is survived by sons David (Kim), Dwain (Deborah) grandchildren, Kelsey, Chandler, Lauren, Kayla, and Sean; and sister Patricia Hagan Bergendahl. A graveside service will be held on Friday, March 9, 2018 at 12:30pm at Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, AL. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorials be given in honor of Dr. Hagan to Wounded Warrior Project. PO Box 758517, Topeka, KS; 877-832-6997, www.wwp.org.