Mary Love Bailey

November 24, 1918January 17, 2022
Obituary of Mary Love Bailey
Mary Love Armacost Bailey November 24, 1918 – January 17, 2022 If ever a name predisposed someone to the development of their personality, Mary Love is the perfect example. She epitomized love in everything she did. She not only never met a stranger, but any stranger who met her felt her love immediately. She was a precious wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt and friend. If you knew her – she loved you. Surrounded by loving family, Mary Love Bailey passed away on January 17 at 103 years of age. Mary Love was born in Gage, Oklahoma on November 24, 1918 to Charles and Katherine Fancher Armacost. She and her little sister Jane spent much of their young childhood in Maracaibo, Venezuela where their father worked for Texaco. When Mary Love was 11, she developed Whooping Cough and couldn’t recuperate in Venezuela. She traveled from Maracaibo to New York on a freighter, and by train to Indiana, to live with an aunt and uncle she had never known to prepare for upper level schools in America. Stories abound. The Armacost family later moved to the Midwest to join family and then decided that Austin, with the University of Texas and the state government, would be the place to live in the economic times that were approaching. Her father opened a Pontiac dealership and the family lived in Travis Heights. Mary Love attended Stephen F. Austin High School. She was an accomplished pianist and a Junior Olympic diving champion. Mary Love accompanied the Austin High orchestra who practiced on the deck above the Armacost’s garage in the summers. She became the first female drum major at Austin High School - and the first woman - to march with the Austin High Maroon Band. There she met the love of her life, Billy Bailey - the former drum major. Nicknamed “Everybody’s Sweetheart,” Mary Love was named Class Favorite for two years and was crowned Queen of Austin High in her junior year. In the aftermath of the Great Depression, Mary Love’s father’s car business failed, and the Armacosts moved into the attic of their home across from the Caswell House on West Avenue. They converted their family home into a boarding house. Mary Love and her sister served lovely dinners to their roomers, often University students and faculty, at night. Her optimism and sense of adventure made her remember this time fondly, and there began her loving heart as she served others with pride, dignity and joy. Mary Love was a proud alumna of the University of Texas where she was a member of Chi Omega Sorority. She was proud to be nominated for Bluebonnet Belle of the University and was selected by Jake Pickle, the student body president, to represent U.T. at the first Cotton Bowl game in Dallas. Many members of the Bailey family followed Mary Love and Billy as Texas Longhorns, much to their delight. Mary Love and Billy were married on Christmas Eve, 1939 at the historic Reuter House in Travis Heights. After moving to Galveston for Billy’s medical training at the University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, they returned to Austin where they remained. Their roles as members of the Greatest Generation were demonstrated when Billy volunteered for service in the army in WWII, and Mary Love served as a Red Cross Nurses Aid at Brackenridge and Seton Hospitals. Mary Love and Billy were blessed with four children, and they were married for 64 years until he preceded her in death on February 17, 2004. The love between Mary Love and Billy was one of devotion and unconditional acceptance. They were each other’s greatest champions and treasures. Mary Love’s endeavors for the betterment of her children are numerous as she considered her family to be her most significant achievement. PTA boards including President, Brownie and Girl Scout leader and home room mother were simply constants in her life. She served on the Special Advisory Committee of 100 to the Austin Independent School District. She was a member of Central Christian Church, and the Chi Omega Alumna and Mothers’ Club. Mary Love lived a life of love and service to others. Most blessed by this love were her husband and children but it extended far beyond. She was a member of the Junior League of Austin and was proudest of her role in opening the first Thrift Shop on Red River and of serving as Provisional Chairman, who oversaw the training of new members. She loved “her Provisionals” and always felt pride in what they accomplished. She was a cheerleader for the Junior League and credited the training she received in the League for much that she accomplished. As the wife of a physician and a cancer survivor, Mary Love had a deep love for medicine. She volunteered very early at the Brackenridge Tumor Clinic, served on the boards of the American Heart Association, the Greater Austin Council on Alcoholism, the Austin Rehabilitation Center and the Institutional Review Board of the Texas Cancer Center at Brackenridge Hospital, among others. She became a devoted advocate for the American Cancer Society serving as a board member of the Travis County Cancer Society, on the State Board as a member of the state executive committee, and, at the national level on the Crusade Committee. Two of her greatest joys were serving on the National Crusade and Public Relations Committee that lobbied Congress and was successful in having warnings placed on cigarette packages; and in 1964, she was credited with persuading then Postmaster General John Gronowski to issue the first Crusade Against Cancer commemorative postage stamp in 1965 for which she received national recognition from the American Cancer Society. Mary Love became active in politics for what would become Lyndon Johnson’s run for the White House. A lifelong friendship with Lyndon and Lady Bird began when Mary Love’s father donated a used car to Johnson for his first political campaign. Later, Billy became the personal physician to Johnson’s mother and aunt and subsequently to Lyndon as well. Mary Love campaigned in the Lyndon Johnson presidential race as chairman of women’s activities. She rode on the Whistle Stop Train as one of the “Ladies for Lyndon” making many wonderful lifelong friends and organized Mrs. Johnson’s campaign events across the nation. In 1967 President Johnson appointed Mary Love to the National Consumer Advisory Council chaired by Betty Furness. Perhaps the most sparkling jewel in Mary Love’s crown will reflect the loving home she provided for everyone who entered. Many people were recipients of the Bailey’s love, warmth, support, humor, happiness, delicious food, hot cups of coffee, traditional 4th of July breakfast (50 years), acceptance and sincere friendship that Mary Love and Billy offered. A stranger never entered their home – all were welcomed guests. How fitting that the one sentence Mary Love was always able to say throughout her declining health was “I love you.” If you ever wanted to feel good about yourself, talking to Mary Love could convince you of your many virtues. Many people benefited from the love and support of Mary Love. Mary Love was a devout Christian who had unfaltering faith in God’s love and who could guide others in their faith with “Let go and let God” being one of her favorite mantras. Always a role model for her children, family and friends, Mary Love faced declining health and dementia during the last years with the same courage and grace that she faced the other challenges of her lifetime. “She is still teaching us,” we would say, about life and about passages. Mary Love was preceded in death by her parents, Charles and Katherine Armacost, her husband of 64 years Dr. Charles W. Bailey, MD, her sister Jane Colby and husband Malcom, and Margaret Reed whose devotion to the Bailey family surpasses saintliness. Those who will always cherish her memory are her son Dr. Charles W. Bailey, Jr., MD (Sue) of Austin; daughters and their husbands Barbara Gaines (Jimmy) of Dripping Springs, Mary Love (Bitsy) Henderson (Sid Mallory) of Austin, Kay Head (Steve) of Dallas; grandchildren Kathryn Burniston (Michael), Will Bailey (Juliette), Chuck Luedemann (Elizabeth), P.J. Henderson (Autumn), Charlie Henderson (Anne), Sheridan Sheehan (Pat), Jimmy Doyle Gaines, Randy Gaines (Michelle), Anna Moss (Ryan), Scott Head (Katie); and 25 great grandchildren Anna Beth and Mary Margaret Burniston; Sophie Bailey; Elliott and Catherine Luedemann; Joseph, Carson, Brooke and Holden Gaines; Jessica, Katie and Emily Gaines; Charlie and Reed Henderson, Will Schniederjan; Ella Love Henderson; Ainsley and Curran Sheehan; Spencer, Bennett and Bailey Moss; Stephen, Braden, Andrew and Stuart Head. She is also survived by her dear nieces and nephews and wonderful friends. Mary Love’s family wishes to extend their sincere gratitude and love to Nimfa and Dan Delacruz and Cathy Delacruz at Kind Heart Home for the Elderly for the exceptional care they took of our mother. Services will be held at Central Christian Church, 1110 Guadalupe St., Austin on Saturday, January 29 at 2:00 pm with a reception following the service in the Community Room. Complimentary valet parking will be provided. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Charles and Mary Love Bailey Scholarship at U.T. (Send to: Texas Exes, P.O. Box 142309, Austin, TX 78714, for Dr. Charles and Mary Love Bailey Scholarship, to the Ronald McDonald House of Central Texas (1315 Barbara Jordan Blvd., Austin, TX 78723) or to a charity that you love.

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  • Preceded in death by her parents, Charles and Katherine Armacost
    her husband, of 64 years, Dr. Charles W. Bailey, MD,
    her sister Jane Colby and husband Malcom, and Margaret Reed whose devotion to the Bailey family surpasses saintliness.
    survived by her son Dr. Charles W. Bailey, Jr., MD (Sue) of Austin;
    daughters and their husbands Barbara Gaines (Jimmy) of Dripping Springs, Mary Love (Bitsy) Henderson (Sid Mallory) of Austin, Kay Head (Steve) of Dallas;
    10 grandchildren - Kathryn Burniston (Michael), Will Bailey (Juliette), Chuck Luedemann (Elizabeth), P.J. Henderson (Autumn), Charlie Henderson (Anne), Sheridan Sheehan (Pat), Jimmy Doyle Gaines, Randy Gaines (Michelle), Anna Moss (Ryan), Scott Head (Katie);
    25 great grandchildren
    also survived buy her dear nieces and nephews and wonderful friends.

Past Services

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Funeral Service