Our Rossmoor - A Great Place To Live Since 1957

Community Leader James Edward Bailey Passes

From the Bailey Family:

James Edward Bailey
James Edward Bailey

It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of our father, James Edward Bailey.  Dad passed away peacefully on March 13, 2021.

Born in Erie, PA, Jim was orphaned at the age of 5 and spent the next 12 years of his life in an Odd Fellows orphanage. Upon graduation from high school, he volunteered for the Army during WWII. He stepped on a land mine during battle in February 1945, becoming a double amputee.  Jim received the Purple Heart.

Jim never let this disability stop him from doing what he wanted to do.   Over the years, he also donated over 49 gallons of blood to help pay back what he received while recovering from his war wounds.  He started dancing shortly after leaving Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. to learn balance. He said he was a very bashful, shy young man and thought dancing would be a way to “be close to the ladies without having to talk to them.”

Jim became a resident of Rossmoor in 1972 when he married our mom, Shirley Bailey.  The Bailey’s met while square dancing in Garden Grove, both fresh off a divorce but looking for a companion. Jim always found time to make the Rossmoor community a better place. Serving others through community service, especially the youth, gave Jim his greatest sense of pride and allowed him to ‘pay back’ what so many people did for him and the other children in his orphanage.

Jim’s community involvement began in 1977 when his youngest son started playing baseball in the Los Alamitos Pony League. Jim served as president of the league for six years and spent over 30 years preparing and maintaining the fields. His tireless work on the fields was part of the reason he received the Los Alamitos Man of the Year award in 1986.  The Youth Center of Los Alamitos also benefited from Jim’s civic participation. Jim served on the board for over 15 years and served 2 years as president. The Youth Center was one of the places he first started volunteering and he continued to stay very involved in the Center’s fundraising efforts for decades. He loved serving the youth.

Jim was one of the people who helped to create the Rossmoor paper drive and he could always be counted on to help work the drive.

Jim, along with his wife Shirley, received numerous awards and recognitions over the years including the Americana Award in 2012 and the Citizen of the Year Award for Rossmoor, Los Alamitos in 2011.

Jim was an active volunteer with the United Church of Christ for many years.  Jim is survived by his children Kathleen, Pat, Tina, and Dale. He is missed but will never be forgotten.

Jim will be laid to rest with military honors at Riverside National Cemetery on August 31, 2021 at 10:45 am followed by a memorial service at 1:00 pm at the Community Congregational Unified Church of Christ, Los Alamitos. The community is invited to attend.

Jim’s response to receiving the citizen of the year award: 

“My life is really amazing. I never had a home that I recognized, I was orphaned when I was just a little boy, so to me it is just the ultimate nice that could happen to me. I have a nice home, a nice life, and I am ready to go on to the next world when it is time, and that is a good feeling.”

2 Responses

  1. I had the pleasure of serving on the Board of Directors with Jim.
    He was a wonderful, caring man and a pleasure to work with.
    His involvement and dedication to making our community a better place to live will not be forgotten.
    Jim Bailey will be missed!

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