In Memoriam: Bernard Bailey

It is with great sadness that we learned of the recent death of Bernard Bailey.

We first met Mr. Bailey in 1997, when, recently retired at the age of 81 and looking to be of service, he came to the library.   He chose to work in our Special Collections Center—well before it was renovated—and began indexing, by hand, the deaths and marriages in the 1950s newspaper microfilm.

Seven years later, he had clocked in two-thousand volunteer hours and we couldn’t remember what we had ever done without him.

Mr. Bailey was a veteran of the second World War.  He enlisted in the Army Air Force on October 16, 1940, and completed his service on February 27, 1946. His stories and memorabilia have been archived in as part of our Center’s World War II/Korean War Oral History Project. 

He and his family  moved to Davenport  in 1961 and worked for the Phillips Company as a distributor until he retired and began working for Foreman & Clark, a men’s clothing store.  The store closed in 1996, but Mr. Bailey wasn’t ready to sit around and do nothing—so he came to us and compiled several indexes of obituaries and marriage announcements.

He was one of our most loyal and generous volunteers.  He was also a kind man, a gentleman and our dear friend.

We will miss him.

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2 Responses to In Memoriam: Bernard Bailey

  1. Rita says:

    What a wonderful tribute.

  2. Bernard was my Uncle (my Mother Arline’s brother), and he and I talked often about his volunteer time at the library, and I can tell you he was very proud of that, and especially the recognition he was given by your folks when he completed his 2,000 hours.
    He made it to 96 and 1/2, and when he had reached 90 I told him I needed to have him make it to 100 to get the averages up for the family. He said “I’m trying”. He did, and with class.

    Thank you for putting this tribute online…he would be very happy to know about it.

    Barry A. Nulph
    PO Box 83563
    Phoenix, AZ

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