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Army Staff Sgt. Guy Hagy Jr., 31, Lodi; Killed in Bomb Explosion

September 19, 2004|Gregory W. Griggs | Times Staff Writer

It was the simple things that meant so much to Army Staff Sgt. Guy Stanley Hagy Jr. when he returned last month from Iraq on a two-week leave.The former California resident spent time playing video games with his wife and 15-year-old stepson, bowled a near-perfect 279 game and ordered the biggest steak on the menu at Texas Road House in Killeen, Texas, near his home base of Ft. Hood.

"He was just thrilled to be home with his wife to enjoy the mundane things," said Denise Grady of Stockton, the aunt of Hagy's wife, Elysia.

On Sept. 13, nine days after his return to Baghdad, the 31-year-old mortar specialist was killed when a bomb exploded near his unit's observation post, which was under attack. Hagy is scheduled to be buried in Lodi later this month.

Hagy, known by family members and friends as Stan, was described as an unfailingly kind and cheerful careerist with the Army who always looked out for others.

"Stan was the kind of man who couldn't see anyone in need of help and not assist them," Grady said. "Because of his helpful nature, people were drawn to him wherever he went."

When another soldier traveled, Hagy and his wife would volunteer to assist his family until his return. They often invited single people on base over for a home-cooked meal.

Hagy was born and raised in Thompson Valley, a small farm and ranch community in southwest Virginia, where he was one of six children. As a teenager, Hagy helped his father on his job working with horses at a local ranch.

"He was an avid outdoorsman. He loved hunting and fishing, particularly with his father," said Goldie Kiser, another aunt through marriage. "The family is devastated. This is their oldest child."

Several times after high school, Hagy left the coal-mining region of Virginia in search of work, Kiser said. In the early 1990s, he worked private security for a store in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where he met Elysia, who was the manager. The couple, each with a child from a previous marriage, wed in April 1995 and soon moved to San Diego.

Before long, they moved to San Joaquin County to live closer to Stockton, where she was born. He worked as a welder at a small company in Lodi before deciding to enlist in the Army in December 1996.

After basic training, Hagy was stationed for three years in Oahu, Hawaii, and then at Ft. Lewis, Wash., through May 2003. "That's what he particularly loved about Ft. Lewis, they had great hunting and fishing there," said Grady, adding that Hagy regularly caught salmon and sturgeon during that posting.

The next transfer was in June 2003 to Ft. Hood, about 60 miles north of Austin. Hagy was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, and shipped to Iraq in March.

Despite the rigors of combat, Grady said, Hagy kept his sense of humor. "He always had a smile on his face. You know how somber posed military photos are? Stan would be the only one with a smile on his face."

Memorial services for Hagy will be held Thursday at Ft. Hood and Saturday at Thompson Valley Church of God in Tazewell County, Va. A funeral is scheduled Sept. 27 in Lodi.

In addition to Elysia, 33, and her son, Robert Fulton, Hagy is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth, 13; his father, Guy Sr.; his stepmother, Victoria Hagy; and siblings Andrew, Chris, Jeffrey, Joe and Luciann.

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