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.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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