John H. Bailey, of Freeland, died Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Saginaw Covenant Medical Center after a brief illness. He was born May 2, 1923, in Breckenridge, to Stanley A. and Suzanne (Hamilton) Bailey. He grew up on a farm with his older brother, Stanley Jr. In 1941, he joined his brother for a time in Detroit, working at several auto plants, enrolling briefly as an apprentice machinist at Dodge Main. He also worked briefly at The Dow Chemical Co. in Midland before World War II called him to serve his country.
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John served in Guam in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a radio repairman and remote control turret mechanic, and in 1946, upon discharge, he returned to Breckenridge begin a lifetime of self-employment, buying a truck with a feed-grinding mechanism and traveling to farms in the area to grind corn and other grains for livestock.
He also joined the choir at church, where he met a young school teacher who became the love of his life, and on June 29, 1947, he and Alice M. McVety were married. They moved to Freeland in 1952, where he was a Standard Oil distributor for the next 25 years. During those years he also had side businesses, among them farm crop spraying, furnace repair and installation, snow plowing and, for eight years, Baileys' Standard Service located at the main intersection of the town. The station became the family business, where his sons and many high school boys joined him to learn automotive mechanics, customer service, the value of hard work, and also that of a good education. He was also very active in the community, serving as an assistant chief of the volunteer fire department, for various booster organizations in the school system and in his church as a board member and on the finance committee.
After retiring in 1982, he and Alice traveled extensively throughout the country, visiting every state except Hawaii. They often worked as volunteers with the United Methodist Christian Nomads, travelling to remote locations with their travel trailer (including a trip to Alaska) to work on church related improvement projects. He also loved volunteering to build homes with Saginaw's Habitat for Humanity.
John is survived by the family he loved and cared so much about, sons, Thomas (Gisela) of Midland, and Richard (Tiziana) of Bloomfield Hills; grandchildren, Michael Bailey, Jessica (Timothy) DeGraff, Lisa (Daniel) Solomon, and David Bailey. In addition to Alice, who he lost just this past February, one grandson, Jeffrey Bailey, and his older brother, Stanley, preceded him in death.
Funeral services for John will take place at 11 a.m., Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at the Freeland United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends at the Cunningham-Taylor Funeral Home, 310 E. Washington St., Freeland, from 2-4 p.m., and from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, and from 10 a.m. until the time of the service Wednesday at the church. Those considering an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the Freeland United Methodist Church or the Saginaw Habitat for Humanity. The family wishes to express its gratitude and appreciation to all of the staff at the Saginaw Covenant Medical Center, who cared for John in his final days.
Freeland Chapel-Cunningham-Taylor F.H.'s Inc.
310 E. Washington St. P. O. Box 362
Freeland, MI 48623
Published in Midland Daily News from Apr. 12 to Apr. 14, 2013