ST. JAMES — Audrey Cleary Bailey, 76, passed away peacefully at her home Friday, Nov. 27, 2020, succumbing to cancer after a courageous fight. These last few years she had loving support from family, friends, companions and neighbors who made it possible for her to stay in her home.
Mrs. Bailey was born Aug. 31, 1944, in Paterson, New Jersey, daughter of the late Edward Aubrey Cleary and Evelyn Grande Cleary.
Mrs. Bailey was a proud U.S. Navy spouse, reporter for WDSU T.V. in New Orleans, worked for Admiral Rickover in his last days and she was an advocate on Capitol Hill, sometimes political, but always with the aim of improving the lives of military families. Mrs. Bailey had been active in support for military families as a young wife and mother, as only a Navy wife can be, while the ship was away at sea for six or more months at a time. As her husband rose in rank, her responsibilities to the military family grew until she was able to affect change at the national level.
She was an early advocate for the Vietnam era Prisoners of War (POW) and those missing in action, wearing a bracelet with a POW’s name on it for years until his return to the United States. She was a working mother in the days when it was a rarity. She was active in the Rotary Club in Winston-Salem as well as a volunteer in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit.
Her overriding passion in her life was her husband. He was her hero. After Capt. Bailey had finally retired, he was afflicted with Alzheimer’s. Mrs. Bailey was tireless in her care for him and in her search for new and different treatment options. One of the more unique treatments she found was an actual service dog trained in PTSD support from Paws for Vets, Gracie, who would center Capt. Bailey’s last years. Gracie would go on to serve Mrs. Bailey in her last years.
Survivors include her three children, retired U.S. Cmdr. Navy Todd E. Bailey, and his wife, Anita, of Norman, Oklahoma, Deborah B. Stakelum, and her husband, Kevin, of Prospect, Kentucky, and Leigh Ann Cumberland, and her husband, Jeff, of Chaplin, Connecticut; and seven grandchildren, Ali, Tyler, T.J., Brigid, Molly, Eddie and Caelan. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, retired U.S. Navy Reserve Capt. Harry E. Bailey.
At her direction, no local services will be held. A service and interment will be held in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
Share online condolences with the family at Peacock-Newnam & White Funeral and Cremation Service.