Dolores S. "Boots" Bailey

Dolores S. Bailey passed away Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Celebration of life: 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, at The Modern, 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth, in the auditorium. A reception will follow in the main lobby. Internment will take place the next morning in the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery where she will join her late husband. Many thought Dolores, better known as "Boots," was named thus because of her more than 30 years as a leather designer and finisher in the fashion world and the needle arts industry. But she earned this name from her father when she was a mere 6 years old because of the pair of red boots she wore every day. Her home is fondly remembered by many family and friends, particularly her grandchildren, for its rich leather smell that wafted from her workshop and out of her suitcase when she visited her family. Boots was born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., and spent most of her childhood summers on her grandparent's farm in Red Bay, Ala. She fondly recalled being a "latch-key child" until her mother remarried in 1939. In 1955, Boots graduated from Mississippi State College for Women with a BFA in commercial art. After a brief career as an illustrator for the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, she married Lt. Morris W. "Spud" Bailey, a U.S. Air Force jet pilot, in 1956. Their marriage was followed by a series of military moves through California, New Mexico, and the Philippines. Amidst those moves, she gave birth to her two sons, Steve and Mike. n 1963, they settled into civilian life in Fort Worth in time for the birth of her daughter, Lisa. This is when her love affair with Cowtown began. While her children were young, Boots was a member of the Fort Worth Junior Women's Club and then crossed over to the Fort Worth Women's Club and became very involved with the arts department and Spectrum. It was here she studied painting under locally renowned artists such as Bror Utter and Josephine Mahaffey and became an active member of the Starving Artists where she won many awards. Throughout Boots' college years and beyond she developed another career as a fashion model. Early on, she posed gracefully for commercial photo shoots. In the 1970s, she began walking the runway for Dalton/James Kenrob at the Dallas Apparel Market and local ladies luncheons. Boots Bailey Designs, Inc. was born when she began designing a line of beautiful leather collaged handbags and belts for the same apparel company. In the early 1990s, she extended this business by joining the needle arts industry as a needlepoint designer and leather finisher. She built a highly regarded reputation as one of the finest in the industry for both needlepoint design and finishing because of her design sense and impeccable attention to detail. In the 1990s, Boots joined the Kimbell Art Museum as a docent. It was here that she was able to delve deeper into her love of art by studying and leading tours for the public and school children. In 2000 she joined the Modern Museum as a docent extending her studies into a new unknown area for her, modern art. This involvement only solidified her love for the City of Fort Worth and she was affectionately called "the Chamber of Commerce" by her children because she loved driving visiting family and friends, including her children, on tours of the city. These tours would include pointing out historical sites, new buildings, telling of political goings on and the like. Survivors: Boots is survived by her children, Steven of Brenham, Michael of Austin and Lisa Evans of Portland, Maine. Additionally, her grandchildren, Rebekah of Dallas, Jon of Austin, Walker of Austin, Elizabeth, Anna and Christopher Evans of Portland, Maine.

Published in Star-Telegram on Jan. 12, 2014