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Ray Bailey - October 22, 2010


Joseph Raymond “Ray” Bailey of Holyoke was born March 25, 1932 in Kansas City, Mo. to Joe T. and Betty A. Bailey and was their only child. He died Oct. 22, 2010.

At a young age his parents moved the family to Boulder, where they lived and worked for some time. Joe and Betty became believers in “Christian education” and when Ray was ready to start high school, they sent him to a Seventh-day Adventist academy in Loveland called Campion Academy, where he attended for four years and graduated in 1951. Little did he know how this would change his life.

While at Campion Academy, Ray met Phyllis C. Kuhnke. After graduation both Ray and Phyllis went on to attend Union College in Lincoln, Neb. where they fell in love and were married in 1952.

Ray graduated from Union College in 1955 with a degree in theology and started working as a pastor for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. His service for the church was just beginning and would continue for over 40 years.

Ray and Phyllis were blessed with four children. Both Richard A. (Rick) and Sheryl R. (Sherry) were born in Lincoln, Neb. while Ray was attending Union College, with Rick being born in 1954 and Sherry born a year later in 1955. Three years later in 1958, the family grew again with the birth of their second son, Randall S. (Randy), who was born in South Sioux City, Iowa and a year later, in 1959, their second daughter, Terrill A. (Teri), was also born in South Sioux City.

As a pastor for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ray and Phyllis moved from church to church, ministering to each congregation and helping bring others to know God’s love and faith in Jesus. From 1955-1962 Ray pastored three churches in Nebraska.

In 1962 God called and Ray answered by accepting a call to work for the Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists as pastor of the Dallas Oak Cliff SDA Church in Dallas, Texas. While there, he used his skills as a carpenter/builder (which he had learned from his father) to help build a new church for the members to meet in.

In 1965 the church called again for Ray and Phyllis to go for mission service, which they accepted. They worked in Korea for two years and then went on to the Philippines for three years, returning to the United States in 1970. While in the Philippines, Ray completed his master’s degree at Philippine University.

Ray and Phyllis had many experiences during this time, showing God’s leading, and they developed a deep love for the people of Korea and the Philippines. They later returned to the Philippines to hold evangelistic meetings.

In 1970 Ray moved the family back to the U.S. and started a new chapter in his ministry. He started working in education with young people. His first stop was at Pioneer Valley Academy in New Braintree, Mass.

From there he continued teaching and/or being the principal at Union Springs Academy in Union Springs, N.Y., Highland View Academy in Hagerstown, Md., Sheyenne River Academy in Harvey, N.D. and finally Dakota Adventist Academy in Bismarck, N.D.

After leaving Dakota Adventist Academy in 1979 Ray took a leave of absence to work on and complete a doctoral degree in education from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass.

He went on to work for the Arkansas/Louisiana Conference as pastor of the Shreveport SDA Church and then went to the Conference as the Associate Secretary. Later he pastored the Monroe Adventist Church and Little Rock Adventist Church. In Monroe, La., he helped build another church.

Ray concluded his formal service for the church by moving to California and working for the Northern California Conference as the Associate Pastor in charge of the day-to-day operation of the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, Calif. It was here where he worked closely with Doug Batchelor and the “Amazing Facts” broadcast.

His last three years in Sacramento, he pastored the Antelope Hills SDA Church in Antelope, Calif. He formally retired his service to the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in 2003.

Ray and Phyllis decided to return to Holyoke, where their life together had begun some 53+ years before. Phyllis was born and raised in the community and many of her family still lives there. It is a place they could call home.

Ray enjoyed the time he had living and working in Holyoke, working with the city council, Phillips County Economic Development Board, Credit Union and Hospital Planning Committee, and substitute teaching for the high school and grade school. Every place he could help fulfilled his need to contribute.

Of course, he could always find time for golf. Oh, how he loved playing on the Holyoke golf course. His love for flowers and gardening were evident by the colorful corner at 341 N. Phelan Ave. He mentioned many times how thankful he was to have come back to live and work here with the people of Holyoke.

Out of all of his accomplishments, he loved the Lord. He dedicated his life to serving God. He let his light shine in his corner of the world, but most importantly he cared. Ray Bailey lived courageously and untiringly for God. He lived his faith, and loved all with unconditional love. He has left the torch for others to carry on.

He is survived by his wife and faithful companion, Phyllis C. Bailey; children, Rick, Sherry, Randy and Terrill; 10 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren, plus one on the way.

Ray’s funeral service was held Oct. 27 at Phillips County Event Center in Heginbotham Hall with Pastor Ralph Watts officiating. Interment followed at Holyoke Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Seventh Day Adventist Rocky Mountain Chapter.

Gerk Funeral Home was entrusted with the arrangements.