Paul Edward Bailey
Last updated 4/26/2007 at Noon
Paul Edward Bailey was born on May 30, 1932, in a schoolhouse during a flood in Carlsbad, NM. His family moved to Lodi, CA, in 1937 to find post-Depression employment. He spent a happy childhood as “the best big brother in the world” to his five siblings.
At the age of 11 Paul collected and recycled newspapers from his paper route during the WWII war effort. He was an active member of Boy Scouts of America and quickly earned the distinction of becoming an Eagle Scout. Some of his fondest memories were of his days as a scout.
His family remembers him helping sandbag Lodi Lake during a flood and using a school bus to evacuate residents to higher ground. As the waters receded, his sister Betty recounts that Paul used their family car to test the flood-ravaged streets for safety prior to escorting residents home. When Paul’s father was receiving treatment for TB, it spurred him to provide for his mother and five siblings by enlisting in the military.
Paul joined the Marine Corps at age 17, during his senior year in high school. He received basic training in San Diego. He boxed for the Marine Corps and became a member of the “Golden Gloves” before receiving his commission in 1951 at Quantico, VA. Paul was trained in bomb disposal at Indian Head, MD. He went on to do four tours of duty in Vietnam and was listed as missing for a short time as he and his troops found their way back to safety. In 1968 Paul received the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star for heroic conduct during battle. He also received the Bronze Star for meritorious service as well as the Purple Heart. Paul lost his hearing when two mortar rounds struck his troop’s encampment during the Vietnam War.
His brother Kenneth remembers, “There were no three colors more important than the red, white and blue to my brother. It was only fitting he be born on Memorial Day.”
After retiring in 1971 at the rank of First Lieutenant (Mustang Div.), Paul became Operations Manager for the Marine Corps Exchange on Camp Pendleton for the next ten years.
After serving his country for 23 years, Paul continued to enjoy the comradeship of fellow veterans at the Fallbrook VFW #1924, where he was a lifetime member. He was a well-known figure at Mesa Auto Towing and drove for the first taxi company in Fallbrook.
In addition to his military career, Paul was a member of Fallbrook’s early volunteer fire department for over 20 years. During that time, he rescued a co-volunteer who became injured inside a controlled house fire.
Paul met his future wife, Veronica (Boots), in 1952 in North Tonawanda, NY, and they were married there on July 10, 1953. They were among the first military families to settle in Fallbrook, where they have lived together for over 53 years. Boots was a registered nurse at Fallbrook Hospital until after the birth of their sixth child. Together they raised eight children.
Family life for Paul and Boots included packing the kids into a van and driving to New York to visit with family every few years. He shared his love of the United States with his growing family during these road trips. The trips included countless parks, Mt. Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, Yellowstone, Carlsbad Caverns, Niagara Falls and several passes over the Mississippi River. He also made sure to drive his family through the racially tense Gary, IN, area in the late 1960s so his children could see a level of poverty that they had never witnessed before. During these travels, he and his wife kept a large, fully stocked first aid kit and stopped whenever needed to render aid at automobile accidents. After retiring, he and his wife would once again travel the back roads of “the best country in the world.”
Paul loved his country, his family, John Wayne, military history and the San Diego Chargers. He also found time to build model railroads, study astronomy and collect old American currency.
The Bailey children include Paul (Bud), Jeannine, Chris, Veronica (Roni), Maureen, Colleen, Shawn and Melissa. Also sons-in-law JR Charles and Chris Crandall and daughter-in-law Donna Bailey. Grandchildren include Travis, Heather and Trea Bailey; Jason, Alex and Tommy Charles; Richard and Leland Bailey; Patrick Bailey; Kayla and Jenna Bailey; and Caleb and Chantel Crandall. His only great-grandchild, Jocelyn, was born the day before Paul passed away. He is also survived by siblings Betty and Clyde Zimbelman, Nadine and Marvin Wright, Pat and George Richards, Norma Bjork and Kenneth Bailey, all of California. Paul was a dear brother-friend to Judy Revell, who was unofficially adopted into the Bailey Family as “Aunt Judy” when she moved next door in the early 1970s. Paul was preceded in death by daughter Maureen Bailey in 1993 and son Shawn Bailey in 2004. His parents, Otho and Pearl Bailey, also preceded him in death, as did his older brother, Alfred, who died at the age of eight months in 1932.
The family would like to thank the staff of Fallbrook Hospital for the exceptional care he received, notably the ICU nursing staff for their thoughtful and gracious care. Paul was a member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church and the family would like to especially thank Father Bud and Father Bernie for their gentle guidance.
A memorial mass was said on March 6, 2007, and his ashes were interred with honors at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery on March 7.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in Paul Bailey’s name to St. Jude’s Research Hospital, PO Box 1000, Dept. 300, Memphis, TN 38148-0552.
Paul Bailey was a much loved son, brother, husband, father and friend. But the title he was most proud of was “United States Marine.” Semper Fi.