2012.06.06 Alice Butler: Remembering Jack Bailey

Written by David Green.

My daughter, Lorraine Pillow, taught school in Morenci. She recently retired and when her husband, a Methodist minister, was transferred they moved to Elkton, Mich., a small town in the thumb area. She still receives the State Line Observer because of her continued interest in the people of Morenci.

The May 2 issue of the Observer had a story in “By the Way” on the old TV program, Queen for a Day. Knowing this article would be of interest to me, she saved the copy for me and she was right, I was interested.

Jack Bailey grew up in a small town—Hampton, Iowa—where my father was the Superintendent of Schools. I think Jack was raised an only child by a single mother, but I cannot be sure of that. He was in high school when I was in grade school. He had high ambitions which did not include a high school education, much to his mother’s dismay. I know that many a time his mother came to Dad begging him to see that Jack stayed in school until graduation. Sometimes she would be in tears over what to do with him. I was too young to know details. 

As a high school student, Jack produced a musical at the local theater, which had to close down for his production, called the Follies of 193_. I don’t remember the year, it seems like 1932 or 1936, but the musical was a huge success. I think I was the youngest member of the dance team and I still remember the song we sang and the dance we did. This production was probably the start of his career and kept Jack in school until graduation.

On to Hollywood. We sort of kept track of his progress. I know he had the fame he desired. Mother and Dad went to one of his shows—he asked Mother if she wanted to be the Queen that particular night, but she declined. I don’t know if the program was rigged or not, but obviously she could have been substituted had she wanted the honor.

I know he liked his liquor and I think that was what took his life, but this part is gossip for I only heard it, not as fact. I was away from home by that time.

I just thought you might like to know this about Jack Bailey whom you featured in a story. Thank you for bringing forth memories for me.

– Alice (Rankin) Butler

St. Clair, Mich.

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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