Eddie Bailey was born into this life on January 10, 1935, in Witherspoon, Arkansas to the blessed union of Jay Best and Ruth Bailey.
Eddie married the love of his life, Miss Linda Jackson, on June 16, 1957. They were married for 63 years and to their union, six children were born.
Eddie & Linda began their lives together in the community of Mountain Pine, Arkansas. Eddie was always a hard worker and an excellent provider for his family. Shortly before moving to Mountain Pine, he began working for Weyerhaeuser and remained there for several years. He later moved his family to Hot Springs where he worked for Shug Wilson delivering furniture. Eddie then worked for Lake DeGray helping to build the lake. He also worked for Arkla Plywood, and later retired from International Paper company.
Eddie began his lawn service after he retired and continued in that line of work until November 2020 when his health failed.
Eddie gave his heart to God as he was driving by a tent revival in Hot Springs Arkansas, run by Bishop Bouldware from El Dorado Arkansas. As he was driving by the tent, he heard the saints singing the song, “Give up and Let Jesus Take Over.” As he would later recall, that song got in the car with him, forever changed his life, and his salvation experience began. The song remained a testimony for him for the rest of his life. He would sing it every chance he got.
Brother Bailey began attending church, with his family at Mountain Pine COGIC under the leadership of Elder Abraham Wheeler. He later moved to Gum Springs Arkansas where he continued serving under Elder Wheeler at Piney Ridge COGIC. While serving under Pastor Wheeler, he received his minister’s license and later became an ordained Elder. He served faithfully under Elder Wheeler as an associate Pastor until he was later appointed Pastor of Witherspoon COGIC.
Elder Bailey served at Witherspoon COGIC for many years until he was called to serve as the Pastor of Baring Cross COGIC in Gurdon, AR. Pastor Bailey served faithfully and worked diligently until his health began to fail.
Pastor Bailey believed that ministry did not only take place behind the pulpit, but whatever his hands found to do, that’s what he did. He was the church groundskeeper, janitor, handyman, and bus driver. Early in his ministry, Elder Bailey taught himself to play the guitar so that he could serve as the church musician, and he encouraged all his children to sing and play instruments as well. This talent and love for music has been passed on to his grandchildren. Churches and venues around the United States continue to enjoy the musical contributions of his family.
Pastor Bailey was known as a man of prayer and STRONG faith and believed in the healing power of God. He often quoted from one of his favorite Bible verses: “And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up…” James 5:15.
Papa, as he was affectionately known to his family, enjoyed living his life to the fullest, and had many favorite activities that he shared with his family including fishing, watching his favorite sports teams: the Arkansas Razorbacks, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Dallas Cowboys. He also enjoyed driving around town in his truck and sharing the Word of God. Papa loved eating peanuts and was skilled at parching them. It was not uncommon to trail behind him while driving to see peanut hulls flying out of the driver’s side window! Watermelon was also one of his favorite foods and he knew how to choose the best of the batch! Papa LOVED anointed preaching and listening to gospel music, and he especially listened for the sounds of his favorite musical instrument, the guitar. Throughout the years he made sure his home was filled with his and his children’s favorite gospel artists. His favorite group was The Williams Brothers. He loved the songs “I’m Just A Nobody, Trying to Tell Everybody About Somebody Who Can Save Anybody”, and “I Am A Living Testimony”. In his later years, Papa also enjoyed caring for his canine companions, Baxter and Lady.
Although we miss Papa dearly, we will forever cherish the love and the wonderful memories of him in our hearts. He is preceded in death by his wife, Linda R. Bailey (November 20, 2020); his son, Eddie Bernard Bailey (January 4, 2021); brothers, Frabor Pride, Thomas Charles Bailey, and Major Bailey; and sisters, Dodie Nevels and Shirley Jones.
Elder Bailey leaves precious memories with his five wonderful children: June Allen of Texarkana, AR, Raphael (Shante) Bailey of Gurdon, AR, Harold (Stephanie) Bailey of Arkadelphia, Valerie Turner of McKinney, TX, and Rodney (Kimberly) Bailey of Mansfield, TX; one sister, Babe Ruth White of Arkadelphia; brothers, Earl (Belinda) Bailey and J.B. Bailey all of Arkadelphia, AR; sisters-in-law, Hazel Bailey & Earline Bailey, all of Arkadelphia, and Geneva (John) Hardin of Ann Arbor, MI; his brother-in-law, Charlie Cal Jackson of Pittsburg, CA; daughter-in-law, Zina Bailey of Arkadelphia, AR, twenty-one grandchildren, and fifteen great-grandchildren. He also leaves several nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends. Visitation will be held on Friday, May 7, 2021, from 5:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at Williams Funeral Home. A celebration of his life will be shared at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home Chapel. Interment will be at Pleasant Hill Cemetery.
Active pallbearers will be Ronnie Bailey, Quincy White, Shawn Middleton, Gerrel Bailey, Gerard Bailey, Steven Bailey, Christopher Williams, and Kirk Jones. Honorary pallbearers will be Ryan Bailey, Braylon Bailey, Evan Bailey, David Turner, Cederick Allen, Cameron Bailey, Carson Haney, and Darius Bailey.