Charles L. Bailey

Published 10:01 pm Friday, November 9, 2012

SUFFOLK — Charles Lawson Bailey Sr., 87, born in Southampton County and passed away on Nov. 8, 2012, in Suffolk. He was predeceased on Feb. 5, 2012, by his loving wife of 64 years, Unity Chappell Bailey.

Mr. Bailey was the oldest son of Cadmus Lawson Bailey and Lucye Bailey. His three younger siblings, William McClure Bailey, Joyce Bailey Winn and Patricia Bailey Tomlin pre-deceased him.


Mr. Bailey lived with an uncle and aunt, Carroll and Annie Vaughan, after his father died when he was 12. When not in school, he worked at a drug store in Courtland and farmed with his uncle. After graduation from Courtland High School he continued farming until joining the Army during World War II. He was a machine gunner in the 78th Infantry (Lightning) Division as it moved through France and Germany. He was awarded the Bronze Star for valor during the Battle of the Bulge. He personified the revered qualities of the Greatest Generation — a deep and abiding faith, fierce dedication to family and friends, strong work ethic, courage, quiet humility, loyalty, resilience, selflessness and a strong sense of gratitude.

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After the war, he returned to farming until being accepted to the Virginia State Police School. He worked as a State Trooper for 18 years, first in Williamsburg and Hampton before being moved to Suffolk in 1953. Mr. Bailey subsequently worked with Benthall Machine Company selling peanut harvesting equipment and later owned and operated Griffin Oil Co. and Griffin Tire Co. for a number of years. After planning to retire and selling those businesses, he was asked to join the Suffolk Sheriff’s Department and worked as bailiff in the Suffolk Circuit Court. In retirement, he served as a funeral attendant for R.W. Baker and Company Funeral Home.

Together Mr. and Mrs. Bailey delighted in being actively engaged in the ministry of Oxford United Methodist Church and sharing their personal faith through serving and caring for others. No job was too small or large for them to tackle. Mr. Bailey served in numerous capacities at the church over more than 50 years. He was also a member of the Bethlehem Ruritan Club, the Suffolk Masonic Lodge and the Virginia State Police Alumni Association.

Nothing made Mr. Bailey happier than spending time with his three grandsons who grew up in Suffolk. He spent many hours at SYAA watching soccer and baseball games as well as countless hours on the SYAA tractor cutting acres for grass. When his “buddy boys” were in high school Granddad never missed football, basketball, baseball or lacrosse games, home or away. His grandsons brought a special light into his life and he was so proud of the young men they had become. Too, Mr. and Mrs. Bailey enjoyed spending time with the Georgia grandchildren as long as they were able to travel. They delighted in visiting for birthdays, athletic events, special trips to the lake and graduations. Mr. and Mrs. Bailey often reminisced fondly of the adventure of moving Lawson’s family to California and then back to the East Coast a year later.

Mr. Bailey is survived by a daughter, Nancy Bailey Webb and husband, Joseph Nimmo Webb, of Suffolk, and son, Charles Lawson Bailey Jr. and wife, Katherine Waterland Bailey, of Evans, Ga. In addition, he is survived by six grandchildren, Joseph N. Webb Jr. and wife Mindy Mottley Webb, Jarratt Bailey Webb and wife Emily Ford Webb, and Jordan Chappell Webb and wife Britney Bishop Webb, all of Suffolk. Grandchildren Ashley Leigh Bailey, Charles Lawson Bailey III and Katherine Elise Bailey all reside in Evans. Two great-grandchildren, Joseph Graham Webb and Caroline Cohen Webb, reside in Suffolk. Mr. Bailey is survived by nieces, nephews and cousins who were very dear to him. He leaves a devoted companion/caregiver, Cassie Porter, who has worked with the family for more than 30 years. Mrs. Daphne Boone has assisted in Mr. Bailey’s care since January 2012 as well. His family is appreciative of the wonderful care he received during his time at Nansemond Pointe Rehab and Health Care Center.

A celebration of Mr. Bailey’s life will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at Main Street United Methodist Church, 202 N. Main St. Suffolk, Va., by the Rev. Myrtle F. Hatcher. The family will receive friends at the home of Joe and Nancy Webb after the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Suffolk Salvation Army, 400 Bank St., Suffolk, VA 23434 to be used to meet community needs during the holiday season. R.W. Baker & Company Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the family.  Condolences may be registered at