In Honor of Francis P. Bailey & The Bailey Family
Posted by Karen Bell on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:35 AM By Karen Bell / June 11, 2013 Comment
Francis P. Bailey, Jr., the remaining son of a pioneering Sanibel family that opened Bailey's General Store in 1899, died Saturday. He was 92.
Born in Fort Myers in 1921 to Francis and Annie Mead Bailey, the oldest of the Bailey boys went to boarding school and college in Virginia and served non-active duty during World War II before eventually returning to settle on Sanibel. He began working at the store when he was 27.
He ran it by himself for years until his brother Sam, who died in 2010 at 86, moved from Tampa to help.
Francis was active in the community, serving with the Lions club, where he sold Christmas trees, and donating the land that is home to the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum. He also was part of the planning committee that saw Sanibel become incorporated in the 1970s and served as mayor in 1979.
In March of 2011, the Visitor Center on Causeway Road was dedicated to Francis. He recalled that on an afternoon in 1962, on the east end of Sanibel, he and Paul Stahlin, Thomas Billeimer, John Wakefield, Thomas Mason, Dean Mitchell and H.K. Jeremiassen got together "on a pile of logs" on Ferry Road. The event essentially was the inaugural "Chamber Board Meeting" of the Sanibel-Captiva Islands Business Association, later to be named the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce.
Francis is survived by his wife of 31 years, June; children Anne, Susan, Mary Mead, Patrick and Jane; and stepchildren Bruce, Linda and Casey.
Francis' memoir, "My 92 Years On Sanibel" written by Emilie Alfino, is expected to be released soon.
The family plans a community celebration on June 16, but details haven't been made available. A private service for family and friends will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Michael's Episcopal Church, according to Ward.