Larry James was welcomed into the world on July 31, 1948 in Sarnia, to proud parents Mason and Hazel (Stewart) Bailey. Larry was the eldest of eight, with Ken (who passed away in infancy), Valerie, Mavis, Dan, Clifford, Bonnie, and Thomas following to make the family complete. When Larry was seven, the Bailey family moved from Sarnia to Blyth to a mixed farm that eventually was switched to a dairy farm. Every Sunday in the winter, Hazel would bring out a puzzle and place it on the kitchen table for the family. The entire Bailey family would sit around the table and work on the puzzle together. This was a tradition that carried on for many years, and the love of puzzles was passed down through generations. Larry attended S.S#10 East Wawanosh until grade eight, and he never attended high school.
After grade eight, Larry stayed home on the farm, working with his family, helping to milk the cows and on the land. Larry and his siblings had the tedious task of picking stones, and many of the other chores that came with the farm life. While on the farm, he taught himself many skills, from carpentry to electrical work, and plumbing. The Bailey family moved off the farm to a house down the road, and after a year moved to a house in Blyth. Being in his late twenties and living at home was not the most ideal situation for Larry, so he got his own house in Blyth. He began driving the propane truck for Sparling’s Propane in 1974, where he worked for three years.
On March 27, 1974, Larry’s son Jeff was born, and they moved to a house in Mitchell, where he started driving a truck for Louis McNichol. In 1982 on April 25, the family was made complete with the arrival of Christina. They then moved to Kincardine and Larry started his own company, Blue Boy Maintenance. He was a self-made millwright and ran this company for roughly four years. When the company dissolved, the work never stopped for Larry. Old clients would call him and need a repair job completed, and he would happily respond to the call. In the early 1990’s, Larry moved to a farm outside of Tiverton and began garlic farming. He had acres and acres of garlic and also had rabbits and chickens. In 2002, a tornado went through his farm, so for two years, he lived off the grid with windmills and a generator. In 2006, he moved into Paisley and started working for Beefway in Kincardine in the maintenance department and driving the truck.
Although working hard to provide for his family, he always made time for his children. Jeff recalls going on salt runs and the hardtop trailer that Larry purchased. He would take it to Acton, and he would be hauling gravel while there as well. Christina remembers many trips to Larry’s mom’s house, trips to the Goderich beach, and many memories on the farm. Who could forget an important part of the family, their Husky/German Shepherd family dog Sam? They spent most of their time outdoors, but when they were inside, they only had channel 5 on the TV, so they would often watch the Red Green Show and Royal Canadian Air Farce.
Larry was a proud and active member of the Paisley Legion. He became a member in 2010 and served as the president for three terms from June of 2016 until May of 2022. As president, he travelled to many other Legions. Larry was at the coffee club at the Legion every Monday and assisted with numerous Remembrance Day services and parades. He also enjoyed attending the dances at the Legion. Larry loved dancing. He was a member of the Ontario Square & Round Dance Federation and loved square dancing. Larry enjoyed playing crokinole, reading Reader’s Digest, doing crossword puzzles, and wearing plaid. He was always working and tinkering on something. Larry had a shed full of threshing machines (all Massey Ferguson of course!) and many many tools! He loved listening to old country music, with Jimmy Dickens, Johnny Cash, and Stompin’ Tom being some of his favourites. Larry loved cracking open a cold Labatt’s Blue and sitting down to eat beef, potatoes with gravy and corn. He was not a fan of chicken or eggs, and his family thinks it is because he ate too much of it when he was a child on the farm!
Larry was a simple man and was hardworking, helpful, charitable, and determined. Although he was quiet, Larry had a dry sense of humour. He enjoyed telling jokes, and it typically took people a minute to catch on to his jokes. When in the hospital, a family member asked Larry what was one of the coolest things he had ever done. His response was “It was when I drove a tractor from Blyth to the farm in Tiverton. It took five hours and it was the middle of January, so it was very cool.” It wasn’t hard to miss Larry when he drove by you in his tractor, as he had a very distinct wave, sticking his arm and hand straight in the air! Larry taught his family the value of hard work, to be humble and happy with whatever you have, and to keep going forward because it is the only direction you can go. Larry cherished his moments with his family and loved any occasion when everyone was together. He had big hands and a big heart.
Larry James Bailey of Paisley, passed away at South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Walkerton, on Monday, November 27, 2023, in his 76th year.
Loving father of Jeff (Shelly) of PEI, formerly of Mitchell, and Christina Bailey of Stratford. Cherished grandfather of Austin, Travis, Tamara, and Talon. Dear brother of Valerie Leibold, Dan (Sandy) Bailey, Bonnie Linton, Thomas (Gail) Bailey, and brother-in-law of Bob Morrison. He will be missed by many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his siblings Clifford Bailey, Mavis Morrison, and Ken Bailey (in infancy), his brothers-in-law Ken Leibold and Brad Linton, as well as his niece Charlotte Leibold, and his parents Mason and Hazel (Stewart) Bailey.
Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Tuesday, December 5, 2023, from 11 – 12:45 p.m. with a Royal Canadian Legion service to begin immediately following. A funeral service honouring Larry’s life will begin at 1 p.m. Reception to follow at the Paisley Legion. Spring interment at Blyth Union Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 295 (Paisley) or the Canadian Cancer Society.