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Barbara Bailey


1943 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Barbara Bailey Obituary
Barbara Bailey

November 20, 1943-September 1, 2018

Barbara Bailey, a beloved bookseller and leader in Seattle's LBGTQ community, died surrounded by her family on September 1, 2018.

Barbara was a successful businessperson, a legendary host, a fiercely loyal best friend to many, and a role model to countless more.

Barbara forged her own way, coming of age in an era when strong, independent women were definitely the exception. She attended the St Nicholas School, then graduated from the University of Washington in 1965. Inspired by JFK's admonition to "ask what you can do for your country" she signed on for a two-year stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in a small village near Diyabakir, Turkey. Upon returning home she found a job as a caseworker in the state's juvenile justice system.

What began as some time off in Sun Valley, Idaho, led to a job clerking at Ex Libris Books. She soon purchased the store, which she ran successfully while skiing, hunting, and pitching for the Ore House women's softball team. Returning to Seattle in 1977, she opened B. Bailey Books as the first leasehold in the posh, new Rainier Square, and in 1982 she moved to Capitol Hill to found Bailey Coy Books with her business partner Michael Coy. She also partnered with her friend Kate Peterson to establish Broadway Video, for several years located in the back of the bookstore.

Bailey Coy became a mecca and elegant refuge for booklovers and authors that also served as a de facto LBGTQ community center where everyone felt welcome, and business thrived.

Barbara's Roanoke home was a common site for political and social cause fundraisers. She was a leader in the nascent LBGTQ philanthropic community and a member of the founding board of the Pride Foundation-now the largest LBGTQ community foundation in the country. Barbara, who also served on the national board of Lambda Legal, never missed an opportunity to march on Washington in support of LBGTQ rights.

Chevy Chase, Barbara's family home near Port Townsend, was a much-loved gathering place for generations of friends and families. In 1997 Barbara and her brother Bruce expanded the adjacent golf course from nine to eighteen holes. And, after a prosperous twenty-five years in the book business, Barbara sold Bailey Coy to live full time with her brother Thatcher and his partner Phil Kovacevich in the rambling 10-bedroom Victorian home. They renovated the seven cabins on the property, and launched Chevy Chase Beach Cabins, the popular resort on Discovery Bay.

After selling Chevy Chase in 2012, Barbara returned to Seattle where she spent her time with friends, on the golf course, and travelling.

Barbara is survived by her partner Barbara Calvo, brother Bruce, sister in law Heidi, and niece Kathryn; sister Mary Ann and her spouse Gay; brother Thatcher; Joanna, Carter, Clara, and Thatcher Camp-her beloved Port Townsend family; and countless dear friends.

A gathering in celebration of Barbara's life will be held at 3:00 PM, Sunday, October 21 in St. Nicholas Hall, at Lakeside School.

In lieu of flowers please consider a contribution to the Barbara Bailey Scholarship Fund at the Pride Foundation, 2014 E. Madison Street, # 300, Seattle, WA 98122.
Published in The Seattle Times on Sept. 9, 2018
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