Former Tarrant County Commissioner Dionne Phillips Bagsby Dies at 82

Former Tarrant County Commissioner Dionne Phillips Bagsby, the first female and first African-American to serve on Tarrant County Commissioners court, died Thursday at age 82.

Bagsby had been battling pancreatic cancer since April and was surrounded by loved ones and close friends at the time of her passing.

Bagsby is considered a community trailblazer and was among the pioneer educators who worked to peacefully integrate the Fort Worth Independent School District.

"She poured out her life for the people that she served," said County Commissioner Roy Brooks, a longtime friend. "She'd tell you straight up what she believed and what she was going to do and you could take it to the bank."

At the time of her election to Tarrant County Precinct 1, she unseated a 20-year incumbent Richard "Dick" Anderson and became the only African American female County Commissioner in the State of Texas. She served from January 1989 to January 2005.

Upon her retirement, the Southwest Sub-Courthouse in the 6500 block of Granbury Rd. in Fort Worth was renamed in her honor. It was rededicated on Sept. 7. The Youth All Sports Complex in the 1500 block of Longhorn Trail in Crowley also bears her name.

In 2018, she was presented with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce's 2018 High Impact Legacy Award for her work as an "advocate for the disenfranchised."

At the ceremony, Bagsby spoke of her dedication to Fort Worth.

"We've learned to be not arrogant or unkind," she said. "It's just too bad we can't go to Washington and teach them how to govern and lead."

Bagsby said there's always work to do.

"I have no time for people who say, 'Oh, I'm bored,'" she said. "I retired but if you're bored, just call me up. My number is not unpublished and I'll find you a job to do."

The family released a statement that reads:

“We are grateful for the overwhelming outpouring of love and support from friends and family from all over the country. Our mother had an affinity for all people and committed herself to improving the lives of women and children.  She leaves a legacy of public service that will impact and empower residents of Tarrant County and Texas for generations to come.”

Memorial details were not yet available, but are expected in the coming days.

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