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.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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