Obituary of Lewis Earl Bailey
Lewis Earl Bailey, 93, passed away Tuesday morning, July 21, peacefully in his sleep with his wife of 70 years, Gloria, by his side. After overcoming numerous health challenges over the previous 30 years, Lew reached the end of life ready to depart, and it was a blessing to move on from this world to the next.
Three of his siblings preceded him in death, and he is survived by a brother, James, of Hot Springs Arkansas, and a sister, Annette, of Yuma, Arizona. Other family member survivors include his wife Gloria; children Jim, Cara, and Bill, their spouses Sue, Gary and Mary; four grandchildren, Eric, Lora, Alan, and Lianne; and two great-grandchildren, Graycen and James.
Lew was born at home in the community of Benton, Arkansas on the eve of the great depression, the second of six children in his family. His dad worked on a railroad construction crew that took him away from home much of the time while the family was young, while his mom cared for the growing family.
Lew graduated from Benton High School, in 1945, during WWII. He enlisted in the Navy in the spring of that year at the age of 17, and left school early to be inducted before his senior year was completed. In the Navy he was a radar operator on an aircraft carrier. His military service left a lasting impression on him and he developed an enduring sense of patriotism throughout his life.
After his discharge from the military, Lew attended college at Arkansas Tech. He met the love of his life, Gloria, while working on a summer job in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she was attending nursing school. It was an interesting courtship between a mid-western girl and a southern baptist guy. Lew and Gloria were married in May of 1950, and moved to Houston, Texas. Lew worked full-time as a welder for an industrial pipe manufacturer, and attended the University of Houston part-time. They started a family that eventually included three children. Lew graduated from college with a degree in Industrial Engineering and took a job with a specialty pipe and valve manufacturer in Houston.
After the birth of their youngest child, the family decided to move to Wisconsin in 1960 to be near Gloria's family, and for a change of scenery. Lew got a job as an engineer for a paper company, which led to frequent promotions involving new assignments in facilities in Wisconsin, upper Michigan, Alabama, Oregon, and later in Connecticut, and Maine. While in Oregon the children completed their educations, and elected to stay in the Northwest, while Lew and Gloria continued their careers, moving to Northeastern locations.
Lew retired in 1989, and the couple returned to Eugene to be near their children and grand-kids. They enjoyed an active retirement with lots of family events, travels, and fellowship in their church. He was a long-time active member of the Eugene First United Methodist Church. The Christian faith and the church community has been a big part of his life.
Lew had numerous health challenges during his retirement years, and overcame a lot of adversity. The family is especially thankful for the care of the healthcare professionals and caregivers who provided excellent care for him. Most recently the services of the Peace Health Hospice Team have been especially helpful as his health declined the last few months. Their skills were truly amazing, easing the anxiety and pain related to his passing.
The family held a private burial ceremony on Wednesday, July 29th at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, with military honors. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held at a later date, when a larger gathering is possible.
In lieu of flowers, the family would like to have donations in his honor to be made to the Eugene First United Methodist Church.
Arrangements entrusted to Musgrove Family Mortuary. Please access the obituary and you are invited to sign the guestbook at musgroves.com.