Carla Rohr Bagalay died in her Houston home on Thursday, March 28, 2019, in the company of her loving son Christopher Bagalay. She loved life, her son, and her friends with a vivacity everyone counted on. Her home, especially her paintings, her cooking, and her stories, brought her birthplace, Roswell, New Mexico, to Houston. She will be welcomed to heaven by angels in turquoise wings.
Carla was born on October 1, 1943, to Karl J. Rohr and Josephine Bedell Rohr in St. Mary’s Hospital in Roswell. She was brought home from the hospital to the family home on the grounds of New Mexico Military Institute, which had been founded by her great grandfather. About her teenage years, she spoke with fondness of the handsome cadets who had passed through NMMI in hopes of gaining admission to West Point or Annapolis.
Carla graduated from Colorado Women’s College with a BA in Arts. After a brief whirl in New York City as a secretary, she moved to Houston to work at the law firm Baker-Botts. There she met John Bagalay, an attorney in the firm, whom she later married. Shortly thereafter, she gave birth to Christopher. Though her marriage to John eventually dissolved, the friends she made early in her life, many of them Baker-Botts wives, remained part of her tight circle of like-minded women. What did they all like: books, movies, paintings, politics, Mexico, and New Mexico, among others.
As a single woman devoted to the fine arts, Carla worked in interior design firms and at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. But she found her true passion as a leader of volunteers at Bo’s Place, a respite for family members who have lost a loved one, often to cancer. Her remarkable commitment to the mission of Bo’s Place led to a dramatic increase in the number of enthusiastic volunteers. She did whatever it took, day in and day out for 10 years, to make Bo’s Place a welcoming home for families, counselors, volunteers, and colleagues.
Among her friends’ best memories of Carla are the feasts she put on. Always cocktails or wine. Always two or three tasty hors d’oeuvres, some of which she herself was trying for the first time. And then the meal, some elaborate affair that she had wanted to try for years and at last had the opportunity to cook for friends. She was fearless in the face of an untried recipe, perfectly willing to introduce a riff that was to her own taste. On the other hand, If it was New Mexico food, which she made for a lifetime, she believed it had to be cooked just so.
Carla is survived by her son Christopher, a sister, Lea Rohr Fraser of Roswell, niece Laura Hardin of Arizona, niece Linda Conner and nephew Craig Gaskill of Colorado.. They are left to preserve her memory and New Mexico in Houston.