Richard Bailey

Date of Birth

Jun 22,1936

Date of Death

Nov 30,2019

Richard “Dick” O. Bailey, age 83, of Elburn, passed away into the night, clinging to the promise of his Savior. He leaves behind a battle with cancer, but also the fingerprints of his soul, not only on the thousands of projects he undertook, but on the hearts of all who knew and loved him.
He was born June 22, 1936, in Campton Township, to proud parents, Orvan and Marian (Eades) Bailey.
Dick grew up on the family farm where they tended fields in both Campton and Blackberry Townships.
He attended local schools, beginning at Stewart School, but transferred to Elburn in the fifth grade. His love of basketball helped etch his name in the hardwood before graduating from Elburn High School with the class of 1954.
Dick continued the family tradition of farming in Elgin in 1954, where he farmed for two years. In 1956, Dick moved to Elburn, and began working for Fred Harms, but eventually enlisted in the U.S. Army finding a home as a training instructor. Those who excelled in different aspects of training were asked to stay and teach future soldiers. Dick became one of those soldiers-turned-instructors, teaching recruits how to drive, repair, and excel in the deployment of the Corporal Missile Erector, an electric four wheeled vehicle that transported, erected and fired Corporal Missiles in the field. While still in the army, he married the love of his life, Helen Souders. Upon return to civilian life in 1958, Dick and his lovely bride lived in Elburn, making a home in a newly built house on East Reader St.
It was during this time that Dick began a 30 year career at Caterpillar where he worked mainly as a purchaser, travelling the country, selecting suppliers that fit the “Caterpillar Way”. In the waning years at Caterpillar, Dick added up all his expenses, including college tuition for his children, and it all equaled putting down his tools and retiring at age 55. Not that retirement meant a life of leisure for Dick, nothing could be farther from the truth. His work ethic and dedication to his community meant that his hands would be quite busy in the ensuing years, working for a myriad of businesses and other countryside neighbors that required the kind of “handyman skills” that Dick possessed in spades. He built, mowed, rolled lawns, and took on any job that came his way. In 2004, they moved to West Reader St. to his folks’ home, that was built by Bob Gee. Dick refinished the house and more importantly, built a barn. That barn quickly became known as “Grandpa’s Workshop” and would be where Dick would spend countless hours, meticulously adding angles, joints, stain and polish to his exacting standards. He listened to the oak wood as it whispered the song it would like to sing, coaxing and gently building a symphony of grandfather clocks, bookcases, mirrors, filing cabinets, furniture and more, a standing testament to his calloused hands that held a combination of strength and refinement that matched the love in his heart. Friends and neighbors could always count on Dick to lend his expertise. You could often see him in his green Dodge pick-up with his trailer and zero turn Hustler in tow on his way to lend a helping hand. His fingerprints were embedded in thousands of projects, and a piece of his heart was built into every single one. In time, his health started to deteriorate, stilling those hard working hands that built not only Christmas gifts, but a legacy of his hard work, determination and the ability to make something out of nothing. His back porch became a place of stories and not a few “tall tales” as neighbors came to visit and where Dick proudly held court. Truck rides with friends surveying the countryside kept him abreast of the changes in his community, a community he loved dearly, almost as much as he loved his family. His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are a part of the legacy he leaves, and will sing of his story for generations.
Dick was born, raised and baptized at the Community Congregational Church in Elburn. He and Helen spent many a Sunday, faithfully sitting in their pew, and many other days, hard at work laying carpet and building projects that included the specialized cabinet that housed the sound system. Every square foot can speak of the hundreds of projects that Dick dedicated his time, talent and heart.
He is survived by his loving wife Helen of 62 years; three children: Steven Bailey, Kristine (Jim) Liss and Ronald Bailey; son-in-law, John Amery; seven grandchildren: Tricia (Greg) Edwards, Tina Bailey, Samantha (Matt Wilson) Liss, Jimmy Liss, Brittany (Justin) Ryan, Ryley Bailey and Laurel Amery; two great-grandchildren: Owen Lee Meaderdas and Keegan Jennifer Ryan; three siblings: Jim Bailey, Marjory Arnold, and Patricia (Wayne) Myers; many nieces, nephews and a family of friends that span the countryside.
He is preceded in death by his parents, a sister-in-law, Sue Bailey, one daughter Jennifer Amery and granddaughter Lindsay Amery.
Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m., at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, with a funeral service to celebrate his life to begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 5, 2019. Private family interment will follow at a later date at Blackberry Township Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Dick’s name. Checks may be made to the “Richard O. Bailey Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address, the Conley Funeral Home Facebook Page, or at

Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m., at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, with a funeral service to celebrate his life to begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 5, 2019

Private family burial to take place at a later date.

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