Hopkins - Rector Funeral Home

4 Percy L. Julian Drive, Greencastle, IN


John J. Baughman

May 31, 1925June 26, 2020

John Joseph Baughman, age 95, passed from this life due to natural causes and went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on June 26, 2020.

John was born May 31, 1925 to Blanche (Coker) Baughman and Cavins Baughman in Evansville. He was raised in Detroit, Mich.

John enrolled at DePauw University in Greencastle in 1942. A member of those referred to as “the Greatest Generation,” he served in the United States Army as a member of the 44th Infantry Division from 1943-45. He received the Order of the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge.

While he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Paris in 1951, John revisited the Alsace battlefield where he had fought. In the early months of 2020, John responded to France’s request that he qualify to receive its highest honor, the Legion of Honour. This award is anticipated to be imminently received.

Being proud of his military service, John attended many reunions of the 44th and was a charter member and supporter of the National World War II Museum. In October 2016 he was awarded a flight to Washington D.C. by the Honor Flight program. This two-day trip included special recognition for wartime service at an evening banquet, and visits to many sites including the WWII Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.

John graduated Phi Beta Kappa from DePauw University in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He studied French history at Harvard, where he received his master’s degree. He received his Ph.D. in European history from the University of Michigan in 1953.

John returned to Greencastle in 1953 and taught European history at DePauw for 37 years, retiring in 1990. During his tenure, he chaired the history department, was appointed university historian, awarded the John Clark Ridpath Professorship, served as university marshal and was visiting professor for two years with College Year in Athens, Greece.

After his retirement and virtually until his death, many of his former students were frequent visitors in person, by phone and through correspondence.

John was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at DePauw and was recently honored and featured in his fraternity’s national publication, The Palm.

John was an active and contributing member of our local community. He was a Boy Scout volunteer serving as Troop 90 committee chair, Putnam County district chair and Wabash Valley Executive Committee member. He received the District Award of Merit and attended many camporees, summer camps and troop activities. He was a member of the Greencastle Kiwanis Club, having served on its board of directors. He supported the Putnam County Museum and served on many committees and executive boards, including president of the Historic Preservation Society of Putnam County from 1977-78 and president of the Indiana United Methodist Historical Society from 2005-08. John stayed politically informed regarding local, state and national issues. He served for decades in various capacities as an election poll worker during Greencastle city and Putnam County elections.

He was a genealogist, having completed a detailed account of the Baughman family tree. He was an avid reader with an extensive library. He is the author of many publications, including “Our Past, Their Present: Historical Essays on Putnam County, Indiana,” “The French Banquet Campaign of 1847–1848,” “My Sixty-Eight Days in Combat Against the Armies of the Third German Reich” and “DePauw University: A Pictorial History.”

John married Elizabeth “Betty” Bowden in 1961, and they shared 45 years of marriage before she preceded him in death in 2006. Their only child, John Cavins Baughman, passed from this life in 2008.

John Joseph Baughman was without siblings. He is survived by several distant cousins, whom he adored, together with numerous friends.

Since 2015, John lived in a spacious apartment on the third floor of the Asbury Towers retirement community in Greencastle. During his stay, he received professional assistance and care from well-trained staff members who became vital and important to him, both as caregivers and friends.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 8 at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church in Greencastle, where he was a member, with Pastor Bryon Langdoc officiating. Burial will follow in Forest Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the time of service.

Due to the COVID-19, we encourage visitors to maintain a six-foot distance as they walk through the visitation line and to maintain this distance as they are seated for the service. Wearing masks is advised. If you have been sick or recently exposed to the virus, please do not come.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in John’s memory may be sent to the Asbury Towers Legacy Fund, Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, DePauw University, the Putnam County Public Library and/or the Putnam County Museum.

Memories may be shared at www.Hopkins-Rector.com.


  • Visitation

    Wednesday, July 8, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Wednesday, July 8, 2020


John J. Baughman

have a memory or condolence to add?

Steve Bonney

July 8, 2020

When I became involved with the Putnam County Museum I purchased a copy of John's book, "Our Past, Their Present". I think I read the entire book that same day, and many more times since. That led me to write Putnam County history, which led to an article in the Museum's newsletter, The Arch. My first real historical article was about Oakalla, an area west of Greencastle. By this time I was also the editor of The Arch. I elected to publish an old picture of Josephine Cavins Torr on the front cover, as I considered her to be a pioneer in Oakalla's industry. As it turned out, my heroine, Josephine, was a sister of John's grandmother! Because of this, I became acquainted with John and was able to spend an afternoon with him in his apartment. That is a visit that I will always remember. He was gracious, kind, and eager to share old pictures. He told me more stories than I can remember right now. I am honored to be able to say that I spent time with John!

Kelly Wood

July 3, 2020

Rest In Peace John. I’m glad Janet And I was able to get you a birthday cake and ice cream before you went home. You were a very smart, intelligent, and interesting man. You will be missed. One of your favorite nurses. ❤️ Kelly Wood

Neal Ogle

July 2, 2020

I wish to to extend my sympathies to the Family of Dr. Baughman. I was fortunate to have him as my Western Civilization professor my freshman year at DePauw in 1982. I had entered the university on the idea of getting an economics degree but his class changed the course of my years at DePauw. Dr. Baughman became my advisor the second semester as I changed my major to history. He counseled me on the unexpected death of my grandfather. He wisely guided me through my course work and I always looked forward to talking with him. We also crossed paths at Gobin UMC numerous times. I became a Social Studies Middle School teacher and I would like to thank he had a hand in that. I remember he would also say "anything else for the good of the order" at the end of each class. I think God brought us together and I am glad that I had the pleasure of knowing him for those four years. May your family be blessed in the coming days as you grieve and share your memories of a wonderful man,

In Christ,

Neal Ogle (86)
Noblesville, IN

Tom Schneider

July 2, 2020

Thanks be to God for John Baughman’s well-lived life.

He was my academic advisor at DePauw in 1979-80, and he advised me well. I took two history courses from him as well—and appreciated his friendly manner, his substantive lectures, and his convening great conversations during Friday’s class, encouraging students to take a deeper dive on historical figures.

So thankful to have reconnected with John the past two years, and going to lunch with him and Dr. John Dittmer a couple of times.

As John Baughman was also my fraternity brother (ATO)—both from the DePauw chapter just 35 years apart—I got to interview him about his experience as a college student and as a US Army soldier who was in combat in France during WW2.

Am amazing man who had a keen intellect, delightful sense of humor, kindness, courtly manners, and who remained well-versed and conversational on current events even at age 94-95.

May the Lord welcome John home with a hearty “well-done!”


July 2, 2020

I will miss you my little buddy! I was so happy that I was able to care for you on your last night on earth. God Bless you and you Heavenly family.
One of your many nurses who loved you!