Craig Funeral Home delivered to Historic City News this morning the report that Margaret “Peggy” Bassing Bailey, age 92, passed away peacefully in her home on November 17, 2018. She joins her beloved husband and father to her five children John Denver Bailey, Sr. who died just three months earlier. Peggy and John were devoted to one another, and her surviving family members take comfort knowing they are together again in Heaven.
A vivacious and devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, grand and great-grandmother and friend to many, Peggy will be remembered for her passion for life and her dedication to family and her faith.
The daughter of Charles and Mary Bassing, Peggy was born on August 25, 1926, in Augusta, Georgia. The eldest of three, Peggy had two sisters, Annette Myers and Joanie Franklin Bassing, who preceded her in death. Peggy would describe her childhood as idyllic, growing up in a sprawling house on Winter Street; spending summers with her aunt in Charleston and Sullivan’s Island; fostering a lifelong passion for dancing; and, earning the title of Miss Tubman High from her high school alma mater, Tubman High School. It was during these formative years that the foundation of Peggy’s Catholic faith was laid and nurtured at Mount Saint Joseph Academy.
Following high school graduation, Peggy attended the University of Georgia where she met the love of her life. John had just returned to complete college following his military service during World War II, and he met Peggy during his first evening out at a school dance. They fell in love and married immediately following Peggy’s graduation in 1948. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on June 25, 2018. While attending college, Peggy joined Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and she continued to pursue her love of dancing as a member of the university dance team.
Following their marriage in June 1948, Peggy and John moved to Orlando, Florida where John began his career with t Insurance Company of North America (INA). There, Peggy and John enjoyed Orlando when it was a sleepy town and began their family. In 1954, Peggy and John relocated to St. Augustine where they would spend many happy years with wonderful friends and a growing family. They built a home on Davis Shores and continued to live on the same street for the rest of their lives.
Peggy and John made a great couple and team, with John building a thriving business and Peggy managing their household, caring for their five children and supporting John in his community endeavors. Like many women of her generation, she was an impeccable homemaker, wonderful chef and a role model to her children. She was a devoted and loving mother and shared warm, close relationships with her children, their spouses
Her sociable nature and knack for entertaining extended beyond her family life and into her roles as a supportive wife and friend. John’s involvement in the community and his tenure as Mayor during the city’s 400th Anniversary required a good deal of socializing, travel and entertaining which Peggy handled effortlessly. She and John had many friends, and they loved getting people together. They frequently hosted parties, seafood cookouts and dinners at their home. Known among her friends and family as a skilled conversationalist, Peggy had the ability to make others feel welcomed, comfortable and valued. If one word could sum up Peggy’s traits, it would be gracious. Her friends and family would attest that she was always caring and polite, and she never uttered an unkind word.
Peggy was also an active individual, enjoying exercise, the outdoors and dancing throughout her adult life. Peggy loved to walk on St. Augustine beach, and she was an accomplished golfer, playing at the Ponce de Leon Lodge. She had a beautiful, effortless swing. She was a faithful member of the YMCA and earned her red belt in Tae Kwan Do from John Kistler at the former Y downtown. She continued dancing, attending classes at Lillian Lindsay and Leonard’s dance studios. She was an excellent tap dancer and, until recent years, could still put on a pair of tap shoes and tap away. As dance became more challenging, she turned to Pilates and was very proud of her strong core well into her 80’s. Peggy instilled a love of exercise in all her children and was delighted to watch her grandchildren perform on the field and the stage. In addition to valuing physical health, Peggy nurtured her spiritual wellbeing, attending Mass regularly at both the Cathedral Basilica and St. Anastasia Catholic Church.
The family extends their heartfelt thanks to Community Hospice and Peggy’s personal caregivers, Chris, Cathy and Bobbie for the loving and devoted care she received over the last few months. Thank you as well to her longtime physicians, Dr. Greg Gibson and Dr. Bo George, for the care and kindness they showed both John and Peggy during their lives.
Peggy was preceded in death by her husband, John, her parents, Charles and Mary Bassing, and her sisters, Annette Myers and Joanie Bassing. She is survived by her children, John D. Bailey, Jr., Cathy Bailey Peterson (Bob), Bruce Carlton Bailey, Joanie Bailey Thornton (Tom), Mark Franklin Bailey, Sr. (Alecia), 14 grandchildren, 19
A Catholic Mass will be held at St. Anastasia Catholic church on December 4, 2018, at 9 a.m. and a Committal Service will follow in the Columbarium. A reception will be held in the St. Jude Celebration Hall.
Flowers are gratefully declined. Donations in her memory may be made to: St. Augustine YMCA, 500 Pope Road, St. Augustine, FL 32080 or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105. Craig Funeral Home Crematory Memorial Park oversees the arrangements.