Monday, April 30, 2012

In memory of Wendell Bailey (1944-2012)

Hello to all of you in our Bailey's Local Foods family. I am writing this email with great sadness.

On Saturday, we lost Wendell Bailey, a dear friend. Wendell has been the number one helper in every sense since Bailey's started.

Wendell is husband to Bonnie Bailey and father to Nina, Sonya and Greta. He will be missed greatly by his family and many in our community. Thank you Nina for starting Bailey's Local Foods with your dad's help. Thank you for sharing your dad with all of us.

Wendell, you have been the face of Bailey's Local Foods to farmers and members. Always helping. Always cheerful. Silly, with a dry sense of humour. You will be missed, especially by our children, who remember you fondly.
If you would like to join in celebrating Wendell's life, there will be a memorial for Wendell at Erb St. Mennonite Church (Waterloo, Ontario) on Wednesday, May 2nd at 6:30pm. Next week there will be a memorial in Goshen, Indiana on Monday May 7th also.

You can check out Wendell's bio (and a couple great photos) on our website.

His obituary is beautiful and is a testament to this wonderful man and his family. You can find the newspaper version online, and the full obituary on his memorial page and below:

Wendell Bailey was born on June 7, 1944 in Goshen, Indiana. Wendell's childhood revolved around the family farm รข€" helping with fieldwork, feeding geese, driving tractor, playing with siblings and friends, and learning from his parents the value of good, honest work.
As a college student, during the height of the civil rights movement, Wendell volunteered with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1965 as part of a voter registration drive in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. As a white person supporting the cause of desegregation, Wendell was imprisoned several times. As a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, he travelled to Poland in 1968 to perform alternative service with Brethren Voluntary Service.
In 1973 Wendell married Bonnie Mierau and together they raised three daughters. He expressed encouragement and affection all the time. He was a very loving husband and father.
Wendell taught in a one-room Amish schoolhouse for 23 years (grades 1 to 8) - many students and parents in the Amish community became an intimate part of Wendell's life. During countless softball games outside the schoolhouse, Wendell's fun-loving and encouraging presence was unforgettable.
Wendell operated a duck farm for many years - family and friends who worked with Wendell saw his uncanny ability to turn the shovelling of duck manure into a memorable experience (mostly because Wendell made work times into times for storytelling, learning, and fun). Over the years, he was also known to keep pigs, horses, cows, and chickens.
Wendell loved telling stories and listening to others' stories. He seemed to have a steel-trap memory. He often supplemented dinner conversations by going to the bookshelf to select an encyclopedia about the topic at hand. He welcomed the chance to meet new people, learn about the world, and pull jokes out of his sleeve.
When he became a grandfather, Wendell was always ready to run, play, sing, and horse around. Wendell nurtured a warm relationship with each grandchild.
In 2006 Wendell and Bonnie moved to Waterloo. In the last few years, Wendell became a dedicated driver and a 'here-let-me-carry-that-for-you" fixture at Baileys Local Foods. He was also a regular and charismatic volunteer at the Speak English Cafe (Working Centre).
During the last three months, Wendell's recovery from heart bypass surgery was complicated by increasing bone pain, which was eventually diagnosed as bone cancer originating in the prostate. Wendell died at home on April 28, 2012 at the age of 67.
Wendell is survived by his wife Bonnie (Mierau) Bailey of Waterloo; four siblings Max Bailey (wife Judith) of Seattle (Washington), Lowell Bailey (wife Joan) of Goshen, Ellen Weaver (husband Roger) of Goshen, and Woody Bailey (wife Bonnie Sue) of Goshen; three daughters Nina Bailey-Dick (husband Matthew) of Waterloo, Sonya Kesler (husband Andrew) of Goshen, and Greta Owens (husband Jeremy) of Dalton (Georgia); eight grandchildren Reuben, Bailey, Saloma, Foster, Mona, Ezra, Oliver and Silas. Wendell was predeceased by his father Hubert Bailey and his mother Opal (Kauffman) Bailey.
A memorial service will be held at Erb Street Mennonite Church on Wednesday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m. Plant a tree in his honour.

With love,
Rachael and Maryrose

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