Virginia Faye Brown Bailey
Virginia Faye Brown Bailey (Jinx), a great mom, wife, grandmother and woman, passed away suddenly at her home on January 2, 2021. She was preceded in death by her husband and best friend of 64 years, Bob Bailey, who died in March of 2018. Jinx moved back to North Carolina after Bob's death to be closer to her daughters, who have been grateful to have these last years to spend time with her. She leaves three daughers, Karen Ramshaw (Pat Whalen), Dana Bailey (Shawn Humenik) and Kristen Boone (Kirk Boone), seven grandchildren - Jack, Pierce, Patric, Emma, Bailey, Davie and Carter, her sister Pat Clemens of Seattle and nieces Leslie, Barbie, Nancy and Lisa.
Jinx and Bob grew up in Tucson, Arizona and met on a blind date when he returned from Korea. Despite the rather unromantic site of the proposal in the parking lot of the liquor store on their way to a party (Bob couldn't wait), they set a wonderful example of a loving marriage, going on weekly dates and writing love notes they kept for their daughters to find decades later. We all have memories of hanging out in the bedroom as mom got ready to go out, sifting through the silk scarves in the top drawer as we watched her put on her jewelry and then dab a bit of Joy perfume behind each ear, before walking out to watch her husband's eyes light up at the sight of her. They were the center of each other's worlds.
Jinx graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in journalism. She was a life-long reader and loved language. Growing up with our mother was like living with an educated echo; we would speak and the corrected sentence would follow immediately. To say you were bored elicited one of two responses - "then find something to do" or "I guess you have no inner resources". Needless to say, we all figured out how to entertain ourselves, often by escaping with a good book. While she could be quite prosaic (see above), mom also imbued our childhood with magic, telling us stories of fairies and brownies (household fairies), and waking us up in the middle of a summer night to see the fireflies or watch for a shooting star.
Mom was a great cook and baker. Food featured prominently in our home - homemade cookies, warm bread when we got home from school on a rainy day, and an endless parade of family dinners. We ate in the dining room unless my dad was traveling and then we got to be 'wild and crazy' and have macaroni and cheese or pancakes for DINNER in the KITCHEN. Mom expressed love through the food she made for us. Until Bob's death, she prepared delicious gourmet meals daily to tempt his fading appetite. Visits to mom typically ended with a bag of cookies pressed into your hand on the way out the door.
Jinx was a shy woman, but spoke out when it mattered. She was an early proponent of school integration and believed strongly in the public school system as a way to create common ground and understanding. She always took the time to learn the names, and then the stories, of the people who worked in her local grocery store or pharmacy and was not a fan of technology, feeling the gains we've made in efficiency have been huge losses for humanity and connection.
We were prepared for mom's death, but have recognized that we were not prepared for her absence, and miss her terribly. During the last weeks of her life, mom heard from every one of her grandchildren and spoke with her daughters every day. Receiving a call, an email, or better yet, a card with a note, were the highlights of her days. Mom wanted no service and designated no charity. Instead, we ask that you send someone a letter or card and let them know they matter to you. The world needs more loving kindness, and as mom also said, "if someone should do it, well - aren't you someone?"
Published in Asheville Citizen-Times from Jan. 7 to Jan. 9, 2021.