James Edward Bailey

James Edward Bailey

Jim,  quickly became “Pop” to all who knew him, including his wife and kids.  He was a larger than life figure to us, and I think, to his friends.   In earlier years his infectious laugh and booming voice usually entered a room before he actually did.  In later years he became more quiet and reflective about life and relationships.  He loved to talk, and told a great story, better than most. He can still be pictured at the kitchen table, with arms behind his head, face thoughtful, and feet up on the nearest chair (much to my mother’s chagrin). He was in his element, and he sagely offered much useful advice, or spun many a tale from this position. Topics could include: the merits of McLendons Hardware Store, how the right tool for the right job was of paramount importance,  whether Ronald Reagan was indeed a great communicator, and whether it was a good weekend to plant his garden.  Sprinkled in were many comments to the effect “Atta girl, or Atta boy”, “Good for you”, and “You were always a good reader”, or “Way to go, we just ask that you do your best”.  Dementia began taking away dad’s cognitive abilities a number of years ago, and his warm advice and humorous stories have been, and will continue to be sorely missed.


Jim was born in Washington, D.C., and attended Anacostia High School, where he played and lettered in football and was Colonel of Anacostia High School Cadets.

After high school he attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where he majored in Economics.  He also wrestled for Maryland.

After graduation Jim went to work for the U.S. Department of Labor, and married his high school sweetheart, Nancy Mothershead.  They had three children, Cheryl, Scott, and Steve, and raised them in Clinton, Maryland until 1974, when Jim and his family piled into a fake wood sided station wagon with hamster and dog  in tow, and traversed the country all the way to Seattle, Washington.  He continued working for the US Dept of Labor, in the Manpower Administration, until he retired in 1995.  In 1990,  he welcomed his first grand daughter Teanna, followed by Taisha, Alexa, Zachary, Lindsay, and Leigha.


Family was always very important to Jim, and he is survived also by extended family in Maryland including: Greg Bailey, his nephew, his cousin Toots Richardson and her family, Jimmy and Ray Gemmill and their families, and Pam Moyer and her family.  He was blessed by many friends- his closest friends being Manny and Emma Jean Crupi.  Eating Chesapeake Bay crabs, making ice cream, water skiing, and fishing became much anticipated experiences that he and the rest of his family enjoyed at Bowman’s beach at Cape Leonard.


Jim was always very involved with his children’s sports endeavors and umpired his son Steve’s baseball team. We have vivid memories of dad spreading his arms wide and in a loud voice, declaring “SAFE”, or throwing his thumb in the air, declaring, “He’s outta here”.   He and Nancy chaperoned Scott’s ski school bus for many years, and theirs was “THE” bus to be on.  Many a teen on the bus rolled their eyes in imaginary disgust as they were regaled with another Reader’s Digest Joke.  Jim attended all of Cheryl’s dance recitals, and basketball games and “Go you mighty Peppermill” became a favorite family joke (Peppermill was the other team).   After his grandchildren were born he initially doted on them by taking them to nearby parks. Later on he became a fixture at Lindsay and Leigha’s soccer games, and at Zach’s baseball games.


Jim always loved woodworking, and everything he made was built to last. He made a train table for grandson Zach, a table and chairs for granddaughter Alexa, and a highchair that all his grandkids used.  He collected coins, and got his grandkids started with coin collections.


He loved playing golf and began that sport while in Maryland. He continued playing up at Mt. Si Golf Course after retirement. After a round of golf with his golf buddies, they would undoubtedly end up at Costco where they all enjoyed wolfing down Costco’s infamous Chicken Bakes.


He was also a Guardian Ad Litem for the CASA program (child advocacy) for 15 years, defending the rights of children to a safe home setting.  He secretly longed to be an attorney, so his love of children and interest in the courtroom were perfectly met through his volunteer work in this program.


Life was an adventure with dad around. He tipped over canoes, whooped it up on water skis, fell down ski slopes, ate blue claw crabs with gusto, and drank beer with even greater gusto.  His Irish temper got him into trouble more than once.

The best and greatest thing he did was to love his wife and kids with his whole being.  Because of this, we can love too. We miss you dad.  You are forever in our hearts.


A celebration of his life will be held at:

The Kirkland Women’s Center

407 1st St., Kirkland, Washington


Parking is available close by at the First Congregation Church.

8 Responses to “James Edward Bailey”

  • Tami Terreson says:

    Nancy, Cheryl, Scott, Steve – I mourn the loss of Jim with you and am so sorry for your loss. Jim was a man I ALWAYS loved seeing at your family events and knew before I arrived that I would leave having heard at least one new joke from Jim and the majority of the time would be spent laughing. I so appreciate being included in many of your family gatherings. Your recap of Jim’s life story does a wonderful job capturing the man I remember. Love to all of you. Tami & Gregg Terreson

  • Jo Marsh says:

    The tribute above is beautifully written, Scott, Cheryl and Steve. It brought tears to my eyes, remembering Jim’s sparkly eyes and warm personality. He spread happiness to so many for so long. And I feel privileged to have been a friend.

  • Lauri M Grossman says:

    Jim– a great, kind man that I’ve been fortunate to have known for the past six years. Cherish the wonderful memories of a loving husband, father, grandfather & friend. Thoughts & prayers to the Nancy, and family & friends of Jim.

  • Shannon Nelson says:

    What a wonderful tribute; I was able to clearly picture Jim sitting at the table, and hear his voice and laughter. Heaven just got a bit rowdier!

  • Manny & Emma Jean says:

    Jim was one of our dearest friends. His hugs were warm and his smile was welcoming. We palled around together in high school, after high school, and after marriage into the golden years. We had so much fun at White Lake, North Carolina, with Jim and Manny performing the HULA with a real hula dancer, after several drinks, of course. (Jim, I can’t remember her name, but we had many laughs of our joint dance recital with her leading the way.) What fun!!!! We also remember the trips to Ocean City, Maryland and on the Alaskan Cruise for Jim and Nancy’s 50th Wedding Anniversary. What fun!!!! Jim and Manny would spend one night a year at Christmas going to men’s shopping night to purchase gifts for the spouses, at Woodies Department Store in Washington, DC with model’s modeling lingerie. This got them into a lot of trouble but they went back the next year and the year after that. Again, What fun!!! Jim was such a great story teller that he would never let Manny forget the time that Manny drove into a parked car after a Redskin game. Manny always had his version of what happened and it was not the same as Jim’s version. We will miss Jim as he was our great friend.

  • Jacqueline & Robert Malone says:

    The tribute written by James Bailey’s family shows what a successful man can achieve during a lifetime. We were fortunate to have been able to spend time with him over the last 38 years. We will miss him.

  • Karen Henley says:

    I didn’t know Jim really well but remember him at the Bellevue Y SilverSneakers classes before he moved to Cascade – then he participated in a few Healthy Steps classes that I taught there. He was very likable and easy to talk to. And of course now I see you, Nancy, at the Y. What a beautiful tribute I read here and testament of a life well lived, and a family well loved. My heart goes out to you as you grieve the loss of your beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend. Blessings and comfort to you!

  • Suzanne Giovannoni says:

    I was so sorry to read of Jim’s passing. My 70th birthday is coming up soon and I wanted to write Jim (my celebration is to reach people who have impacted my life)to tell him of the important part he played in my life. His encouragement, his faith in my abilities, his humor all made my time at USDOL a great joy. I only wish I had decided to do this on my 60th instead of my 70th.
    He was a great guy! Please accept my belated condolences. I now live in Hood River, OR. Suzanne Giovannoni

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