Mack Woodard Bailey, Jr.
June 19, 1931 - January 22, 2021
Lexington, Kentucky - Mack Woodard Bailey, Jr. 89, died on January 22, 2021. Mack was well known in Lexington and surrounding counties, due to his teaching career and business pursuits, as well as his larger than life and winning personality.
Born in Manhattan, where he grew up, he would recall helping his grandfather with one of the Christian missions in The Bowery when he was ten, and helping his father work in construction in his teen years. When he was of age for the Army, he served in Korea with high distinction. After that, he enrolled in Asbury College and graduated four years later married to fellow student Nancy Kathryn Tolson, known thereafter as Katy Bailey. Moving to Lexington, Mack finished a Master's degree in Anthropology, and began a storied teaching career. Mack taught at Lafayette Jr., Sayre School, Hamilton Hall, the University of Kentucky, and after retiring, taught in a middle school in Las Vegas. Wherever he taught, he proved to be a favorite teacher, and most memorable to alumni. He was legendary among Sayre alumni, and in recent years, alumni of Hamilton Hall honored Mack with a banquet naming him most favorite teacher. He was at times a teacher of math, science, biology and anthropology. At UK he taught Physical Anthropology and Osteometric Techniques.
Mack's avocation was showing dogs competitively, specializing in Dobermans and later Bull Mastiffs and bringing home many awards. He opened a kennel near his home on Parkers Mill Road in the 60's called the Bluegrass Doberman Center. In 1969, Mack and Katy launched Bailey's Carpet Barn which proved to be successful. Over the years, Mack also developed several construction companies and real estate ventures, as well as having a small grocery store, a hardware store, a fencing company, a TV and appliance business, and a bell pepper growing business. Mack, along with Earl Oremus, joined Tom Grunwald's Wilderness Canoe Base, which took students and young adults to Canada for extended outdoors adventure.
Mack greeted each day proclaiming "What a great day to be alive!" He would end conversations with a boisterous "Be happy!" Mack was well read, and was as comfortable with Scientific American and Psychology Today, as he was with the Smithsonian and education journals. His work ethic was phenomenal and his optimism contagious. There was nothing Mack couldn't do, wouldn't do, or figure out how to do. His name for his Bull Mastiff kennel was "Kandoo," which conveys his basic attitude.
He and Katy traveled the world, riding camels in Egypt, and climbing pyramids there, visiting landmarks in Greece, rafting in Colorado, riding mules into the Grand Canyon, and studying carpet in India. Katy died in 2012, after 59 years of marriage.
Mack is survived by his 3 children, 2 brothers, a sister and a gaggle of grandchildren and great grandchildren whom he adored. In respect of the pandemic, there will be no public services. A private service for family is planned.
Published in Lexington Herald-Leader on Jan. 31, 2021.