JoEllen Bailey, beloved by all who truly knew her, passed away on October 31, 2023, in her hometown of Independence. She was born on October 29, 1951, in Kansas City, MO to Marion Joseph and Maxine Clark.
From an early age, JoEllen displayed a strong hunger and aptitude for working with numbers. She attended St. Ann’s elementary school and chose to attend St Mary’s High School, graduating in 1970. JoEllen's education laid the foundation for her successful career in the banking industry. With her diligent work ethic and exceptional skills in data entry and accounting, she made significant contributions throughout her professional career until an accident caused her to become disabled at an early age.
Although JoEllen’s health struggles began early, the very shy girl with the huge heart was always more focused on friends, her precious pets, her dear sister, Patricia “Pat” (Clark) Perry, and Pat’s children, Tracy and Shelley Perry.
She was a huge lover of animals and frequently would tell you stories of her childhood pet squirrel. During her childhood her family had lived in an area in Sugar Creek where she was able to have a virtual petting zoo! As an adult, one of her fondest memories was helping her friend, Dianne, transport puppies for the Bassett and Beagle Rescue of the Heartland. It exemplified JoEllen's compassionate nature and deep love for animals.
JoEllen found her voice in her latter years, shaking off her crippling shyness. Her family had always loved playing cards and she enjoyed that more than anything else. She was an amazing crafter as well with ceramics, quilting, and painting as just a few of her talents, and had shared a booth with a friend at the Independence Sermon Center for several years. She simply could not be still, although she was in constant pain she was always reading or doing one of her enormous collection of puzzles or cleaning and during many of the last years of her life, with her precious Bucky, her puggle, in the chair beside her.
Throughout her life journey, JoEllen formed profound relationships with cherished friends who provided unwavering support and love, she referred to Dianne (Downing) Sullivan and Muriel (Davis) Forsyth as “The Girls”. They were exceptionally close friends from high school, who shared a deep connection with JoEllen, providing support during both joyful and challenging times. JoEllen gained an additional dear friend when Dianne married Gary Sullivan and he quickly became like a brother to her.
She also leaves behind her niece, Shelley Perry and nephew, Tracy Perry.
She is preceded in death by her sister Patricia (Clark) Perry, who shared countless memories of joy and laughter with JoEllen, wild and wonderful sorority trips to Branson with all night card parties and totally silly adventures in Walmart, Excelsior Springs. Additionally, Margaret (Bock) Brazeal, also Class of ‘70, St Mary’s, held a very special place in JoEllen's heart as a dear friend who stood by her through thick and thin. Her Puggle companion, Bucky, brought immeasurable joy to her life. Their bond exemplified the unconditional love shared between a pet and their human, reminding us of the importance of cherishing every moment spent with our furry friends.
In honoring JoEllen Bailey's memorable life, a funeral Mass will take place on Friday, November 10, 2023, in the small chapel at St. Mark Catholic Church in Independence, MO. The service will begin at 10:00 AM and will be followed by a graveside inurnment at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Raytown.
While our hearts mourn her loss, may we find solace in knowing that JoEllen's legacy will forever endure through the memories shared by those fortunate enough to have truly known her.