The Music Man: Roger Charles Bailey 1923-2014

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Roger Charles Bailey, a man of honor, pride and distinction, served his country, but cherished his family as well.

He was born in Minneapolis, Minn., on July 15, 1923. One of five kids, Bailey loved to play baseball and sing in the church choir. His singing used to annoy his brothers and sisters and even when climbing trees he tended to hum a melody or two.

An honor student in school, Bailey excelled in mathematics and skipped two grades in elementary school. When he graduated from high school he worked in his father’s office at the Union Pacific railroad, but when duty called, he eagerly enlisted in the army. WWII was a time of patriotism, and it united our country in a cause much greater than ourselves. Bailey served his country willingly and was a part of the D-day invasion. Storming the beaches of Normandy, he was in the second wave to hit the shore.

Much later in life while on a trip back to France, Bailey spoke to a small group of people on a riverboat cruise. We had just visited the national cemetery on the cliffs of Omaha Beach. He was thanked for his heroism, but in response stated, “I am no hero. I just survived!”

That was our Dad in a nutshell, humble by nature but determined in life.

After the war, Bailey came home to Minneapolis, enrolled in the University of Minnesota. There, in music school, he met Peggy Smith. She was top of her class and a terrific piano accompanist, and he had the lead vocal in the school musical. That’s how it began for them and continued for over 56 years until her death in 2007.

Extremely involved in music his whole life, Bailey taught music at the junior high level for 31 years. He was also a choir director for the local church in Covina, Calif., and directed a 500-voice choir, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Chorale, for five years.

He and his wife retired in Oceanside and continued on with their dedication to their local church, serving in many capacities.

Bailey is survived by his daughter, Michele Campion and her husband Bob, of Laguna Beach; and two grandsons, Connor and Patrick.

Our family was so lucky to have him in our lives until his death Aug. 27, 2014. He was 91 years of age. His strength filled us and his beautiful smile completed us. His unconditional love will be missed. We only hope to “spread the love” to others as well as he lived it.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. in Bailey’s honor at the First Presbyterian Church of Oceanside, 2001 S. El Camino Real, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014.

 

 

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