Sgt. James Rufus Bailey, 65, departed this life on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, at a Chattanooga hospital.
He was born in Sweetwater to the late Beulah Ruth Upton and James Earnest Bailey. He was preceded in death by his parents; his grandparents: Rachel Bryson and Saul Bailey; his beloved mother, Ada Bailey; and a host of uncles and aunts.
He was a graduate of Sweetwater High School and attended Cleveland State Community College, Certified Ford Motor Microprocessor and Electronic Engine Control Systems from Echlin Inc., Certified Automotive Air Conditioning from GM Delco, and received automotive technical training from Sears Technical Training Center.
He was a dedicated member of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, where he served as trustee and sound technician. He enjoyed working on computers for the church and working for other people in the community. He would help anyone in need — auto mechanic, building, landscaping — or when people would ask for help. He was always there to lend a helping hand.
While working at Bendix Corporation, he was active in the Tennessee Army National Guard where he served for more than 20 years. He received outstanding recommendations for promotion. In the words of Major John Craig, “Sgt. Bailey James has an outstanding military career that consisted of exceptional knowledge and ability, high intellectual qualities, an excellent attitude and superior mechanical skills.”
After retiring from the Army National Guard and Bendix Corporation, he went on to work an additional five years at Procter and Gamble. He also served on the city of Cleveland Park and Recreation Board, and was a member of the 100 Black Men of Bradley County of Cleveland.
His hobbies were camping, drag racing and home improvement projects. He was a kind, considerate, and caring man who loved the Lord.
He leaves to cherish his memories, a wife of 38 years, Cora Bailey; his daughter, Angela Ruth Aley; his son, Patrick O. Thomas; six grandchildren: Michael Bailey, K’Tia Bailey, Devonte Welch, Sydney Fritts, Leigha Clark and Ameria Harbor, all of Cleveland; four sisters: Deborah (James) Edmundson of Antioch, Melissa (Charles) Billingsley, Elizabeth Stone and Anita Stone, all of Sweetwater; two brothers: Henry “Steve” (Dianah) Bailey of Knoxville, and Ernest “Tommy” Bailey of Louisville; seven sisters-in-law: Annie R. Dancy of Chattanooga, Doris Simmons of Oklahoma City, Betty Shelby, Marie Phillips, Mamie (Paul) Perkin, Carolyn Young, and the Rev. Mattie (Thomas) Benton, all of Cleveland; one brother-in-law, Robert (Bridget) Thomas, of Cleveland; special friends: Bill Loftis, Glen and Carl Seaton, Allen Gladden, and the members of Parker Racing Team; and many other relatives and friends.
The body may be viewed Sunday, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., at the Patton Funeral Home Chapel, 265 Fair Street S.E. The family will receive friends at 5 p.m.
The service will be Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, 799 East Inman St., Cleveland. Visitation will begin at 11 a.m.; service time will be at noon. Pastor Eric K. Jones will officiate, The Rev. Edward S. Robinson will be the eulogist. Interment will follow at Chattanooga National Cemetery, Chattanooga.
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