I won’t go into detail, but just know the recent death of local legend Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim also held significant meaning for me as a journalist. As I sat in a pew at First Baptist Church in Pittsburg and listened to some of his closest friends talk during the memorial service, several things about the larger-than-life man remained perfectly clear to me. Bo Pilgrim’s mission in life, beyond anything he ever accomplished in the boardroom, was to share his love for God’s Word with as much of the world as he could. I also know Mr. Pilgrim’s other passion was his family. At each public appearance, Mr. Pilgrim would be surrounded by several members of his family. He would especially gleam with pride each time he introduced his grandchildren. There was no question how much he loved his family and cherished the legacy he and Patty had created during their 61 years of matrimony.
Like countless others, my own family is forever indebted to Mr. Pilgrim. When organizers for the Rick Gage Go Tell Crusade tapped my younger brother, Daron, to speak at the Christian rally in Mount Pleasant in 2013, he had a huge dilemma. At the time, he was coaching for the Cleveland Browns. For him, missing most of the day or the next day of work was not an option. Enter Bo Pilgrim. A few phone calls later and a private plane waiting in the wings (no pun intended) , a convoy was dispatched to Ohio to scoop Daron up and promptly return him back in a matter of hours as if he had never left the Buckeye state. Mr. Pilgrim made it happen when he didn’t really have to—a true testament to his character and his strong commitment to his community.
As a Pittsburg transplant, I’ll forever remember the days of him waving as he drove down the street I once lived on to the house he once lived in. It always struck me as odd to see a man of his stature lead such a normal, unassuming life. Bo Pilgrim could just as well be in your backyard as in the presence of world leaders and be comfortable in both settings. But what I liked most about him was the fact that he never forgot where he came from. In fact, he never left. Camp County, Pine in particular, always meant everything to Bo Pilgrim…and Bo Pilgrim will always mean everything to Pittsburg. His incredible legacy, now safely tucked away in the little town he always called home, will live on long after his 89 years here on Earth. Mr. Pilgrim, we already miss you around here.