Waller Funeral Home & Cremation Services
419 Highway 6 West
Oxford, MS 38655
(662) 234-7971
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Herbert B. Bailey

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Herbert B. Bailey Obituary
Herbert B. Bailey


Lt. Col. (Ret.) Herbert Barton Bailey, Jr., 94, passed away peacefully at Hermitage Gardens of Oxford, Sunday, July 28, 2013. Mr. Bailey was born on May 11, 1919 in Stacyville, Maine, the youngest and 5th child of Herbert Barton Bailey and Elizabeth Warren Crickett Bailey.

He is preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 60 years, Eppie Jo Lowe Bailey; his brothers, Fred (Eleanor) and Marshall (Alice) Bailey, and sister, Margaret Bailey Roberts. He is survived by his son, Bart Bailey of San Diego, CA; a daughter, Barbara Bailey Young & her husband, Ken, of Oxford; a brother, Charles Bailey (Sylvia), of Cottage Grove, Oregon; brother-in-law, Robert Roberts of Pittsburgh, PA; three grandchildren: Jerry Barton Young (Chantelle) of Sembach, Germany, Lauren Young Bailey (Brad) of Denham Springs, LA & Tiffany Young Bonow (Matt) of Waco, TX and great-grandchildren: Colton, Madison, Brianna & Nathan Bailey, and Elijah, Ethan, Rhys, Trustin & Blythe Bonow; along with 2 nieces and 4 nephews.

Mr. Bailey graduated in 1935 (after skipping 2 grades) from Oxford High School, Oxford, PA, as Valedictorian of his class. He attended Military Training School following graduation, then entered the Army as a 2nd Lt. in Dec. 1940. He completed Officers Training School at Maxwell Field, AL, and was sent to Greenville Air Base, MS. There he met a pretty young secretary, Eppie Jo Lowe, in the officer's headquarters, who invited him to her home in Oxford, MS one weekend after learning that he was from Oxford, PA. Having grown up on a dairy farm, he was an instant hit with his future mother-in-law, Mamie Lowe, who had just bought her first herd of cows!

After completing primary training, flying PT 19's in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, he married Eppie Jo Bailey on May 31, 1942. They were sent to Randolph Field, San Antonio, June 1. There he flew BT 13's. He then went to Okmulgee, OK, Amarillo, TX and Dalhart, TX for glider plane training and flew CG 14's. He officially became a Glider Pilot in August, 1942. In June, 1943, Herb & Jo gave birth to their son, Bart. In Feb. 1944, Herb flew to England to begin his WWII tour of duty. In Sept. 1944, he flew a Glider carrying a jeep & members of the 82nd Airborne to Grosbeck, Holland, Operation Market Garden. He received the Bronze Star. In Dec. 1944, he flew into Bastogne, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal. Fourteen out of the fifty gliders flying into Bastogne were lost. His glider was hit several times by enemy fire, but he got it to the ground in a snow-covered, plowed field. The glider was a wreck, however, the ammunition was intact and he was unhurt. This mission was hastily thrown together, so there was no organized plan for the Glider Pilots to get home. After Gen. Patton got the road open, they hitch-hiked home. His grandson, Cpt. Jerry Young, Chaplain in U.S. Army, marched this same 15 miles in February, 2013, in honor of the WWII soldiers who had fought for their liberation, dedicating his march to his Granddad.

On March 24, 1945, Herb Bailey flew his 3rd glider mission east of the Rhine River, landing at Wesel, Germany. He was awarded a 2nd Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal. As he was cut loose and headed for the ground, there was a lot of smoke, and the ground wasn't visible. The smoke cleared away a little and he saw power lines across the field where they were supposed to land. Being afraid of hitting the lines, he turned north and landed in another field a couple miles away. After landing safely on the ground, he walked back to the field where they were supposed to land. It had burned out & wrecked gliders all over the place. A German 88 gun was in the orchard beside the field, and had shot down numerous gliders. There were snipers in the orchard and they shot many soldiers as they got out of their gliders. Mr. Bailey's decision to stay away from the assigned landing field saved his and many soldiers lives. They stayed in Germany several days, then marched in a group to the Rhine River, crossing it in army ducks.

After serving 4 ½ years active duty, he was relieved to Ready Reserves, where he served for the next 22 years. On July 10, 1965, Mr. Bailey was appointed Lieutenant Colonel. And in 1968, he transferred from Ready Reserve to the Retired Reserve. He retired in 1979, after 39 years service. After the war, Mr. Bailey returned to University of Louisville. While in Louisville, Kentucky, they had their daughter, Barbara, in May 1946. One year later, they moved to Oxford, MS, and he transferred to the University of Mississippi. Upon graduation from Ole Miss in l948, the family moved to Jackson, MS, where he was employed as an accountant with Buckeye Cotton Oil Company. He earned his CPA in 1958. While in Jackson, they were active in Leavell Woods Methodist Church. As a lay-minister of the Methodist church, he would preach from time-to-time at small churches in the surrounding Jackson areas. Mr. Bailey served as Scout Master at the church and Little League Baseball Commissioner at Leavell Woods Park.

In l960, they moved to Long Beach, MS, where he worked with Gulfport Glass and Mississippi Steel Corporations, and were active in Long Beach Methodist Church. In 1972, they moved to Elba, AL (working for Dorsey Trailer Company) until his retirement, when they moved back to Long Beach. Herb played tournament chess, as well as keeping as many as 25 different chess games going at one time by mail. He also had regular chess games with friends on the MS Coast. After retiring, Herb and Jo traveled in Europe, Canada and spent at least l night in all 50 American states. During this time, they built their cabin in Oxford, MS so they could enjoy the company of Jo's twin brothers, Ed & Eph Lowe, dividing their time between Long Beach and Oxford. Mr. Bailey began living permanently in Oxford following her death in 2002. In 2004, he fell in love with his son-in-law's mother, Lura Young; and they had 4 sweet years of friendship before her death. Their grandchildren found it strange at first that their "grandfather was dating their grandmother" - but loved the joy their grandmother found in her last years, after having been a widow for 25 years.

Mr. Bailey was a faithful member of St. Andrews United Methodist Church, attended Memory Makers of Oxford and Ole Miss football, basketball and baseball games as long as he was able. He was an avid reader and enjoyed crossword puzzles. He was a remarkable man, who was always happy and never ever complained. He was humble, kind and generous. He asked for nothing, yet would do anything asked of him. His life served as a wonderful example for his family and friends to follow.

The funeral service will be Friday, August 2, 2013 at 11:00 A.M. in the Chapel of Waller Funeral Home with Rev. Bill Barksdale officiating. Burial will follow in St. Peter's Cemetery. Visitation will be prior to the funeral beginning at 9:30 A.M. at the funeral home.

Memorial donations in Mr Bailey's memory may be made to Memory Makers of Oxford, Respite Day Services of Oxford, Inc. c/o Bill Arnold, 2318 West Wellsgate Drive, Oxford, MS, 38655 or St. Andrews United Methodist Church, 431 N. 16th Street, Oxford, MS 38655.

In honor of Mr. Bailey's service to his country, the flag of the United States Army will be flown at Waller Funeral Home.

Published in Clarion Ledger on Aug. 1, 2013
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