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Major William G. Bailey

Major William G. Bailey


Major William G. Bailey (Retired), aka Bill Bailey passed away Sunday, March 24, 2024. He was born at his grandparents’ house in Powell, Tennessee on October 19, 1936.  He attended Powell Elementary School, Powell High School and UNC Chapel Hill.  In April of 1960 he joined the United States Air Force and went on to become a tactical fighter pilot, serving 20 years, eight of those years were served overseas with multiple tours during the Vietnam War.  He was an exceptional fighter pilot and a highly decorated war veteran. Prior to his retirement from the United States Air Force in 1979, Bill went back to school and completed his undergraduate degree and master’s degree in public administration from Saint Leo College.

He met his future wife Bonnie Lu when he was just 14 years old. They were married in March of 1965 and were married for 56 years, until the time of her passing in 2021. Being career Air Force, they traveled the world. He was last stationed in Tampa where he and Bonnie were active members of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church. After retiring from the Air Force in Tampa, he worked at a friend’s plant nursey. They moved to DeLand, Florida in 1983, where they purchased their dream home on East Rich Avenue and lived happily together for their remaining years together.  Bill loved his family, gardening, cooking and entertaining.  He was an active member of the DeLand Breakfast Rotary for over 30 years, holding the position of secretary for many years and fondly known as the “corn master” during the Wild Game Feast. He turned his love and knowledge of gardening into a prosperous business, Live Oak Landscaping, beautifying homes across DeLand. He served on the DeLand Tree Advisory Board and was an active member of First Presbyterian Church. He and Bonnie loved their church family, and he was a dedicated servant of our Lord.

He is predeceased by his loving wife Bonnie Lu Riddell Bailey, grandparents Charles William McConnell and Rebecca Victoria Dougherty McConnell, mother Ruth McConnell Morrisette and father William Parker Bailey. 

He is survived by two sisters, Olene Bailey Warpool and Vicki Morrisette Barb, one daughter, Mary Elizabeth Harris, son-in-law Ty Harris, three Grandchildren: Bailey Estivaleti (João), Megan Carlisle, and Quinn Harris, Great-Grandson, Benjamin Estivaleti and Great-granddaughter Vitória, his sister-in-law Barbara (Charles/Chip) Hudson and two nephews: Matthew (Andrea) and Roger Allen Montgomery, as well as his cousin William McConnell.

There will be a Memorial Service Saturday, May 4, 2024, at 11:00 at First Presbyterian Church of DeLand with the Reverend Michael Bodger officiating. Reception following in the fellowship hall.  

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to First Presbyterian Church of DeLand.

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Dear Mary Beth and all the Family- I met your (great) grandparents when I was 3 years old. Some of my earliest memories are with my parents and Bonnie and Bill Bailey at the Air Force Base housing near Las Vegas, Nevada. Your grandfather would have an old fashioned ice cream churn and I would get to take a turn "trying to turn" the handle. We had delicious banana ice cream in the backyard! I am sure there was other delicious food,. Bonnie was a good cook, but as a three/four year old, banana ice cream was the best. I can remember his broad smile and his laugh was contagious. I kind of think my life in North Carolina (sin…

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