Leola "Lee" Stutes Bailey died June 11, 2018 in Lakeside, at her daughter Lisa's home surrounded by her loving family and friends. Leola passed away two years and three days after husband John Bailey passed.
Leola was born Feb. 2, 1932 in Ebenezer, La., to Whitney Joseph and Clarise (Jones) Stutes, the third daughter to Whitney and Clarise. She had a younger brother named Sonny, whom she often referred to as "Sonny Boy." When her brother Sonny passed she took it hard. In May of 2008 her sister Dorothy (Dot) passed away, Leola was glad that she and her four daughters were able to be there before she passed.
Momma met and married Carol Linden King (C.L) while he was stationed in Louisiana. They later moved to Lubbock, Texas before heading to Apache Junction. She worked as a waitress and C.L. worked in the mine in Superior. Momma was well liked by her bosses and co-workers. In 1961 they opened up a garage in Apache Junction and later a towing service was added. The business is still in operation today. This marriage union did not last and after C.L. passed their daughters took over the business. Leola always worked hard to keep food on the table and a roof over the family’s head.
Sometime in 1967 mom met and fell in love with the love of her life John Bailey. Even though he was 14 years younger, he wanted momma and her five children as his own. On March 9, 1968 they were married in Las Vegas, Nev. The Bailey family took all the family in as their own, and for that we are blessed beyond measure. Leola and her children now had some family to be around and love when they couldn't be with her family in Louisiana.
Leola and John had some great lifelong friends that they did a lot with. The Wakefield family became part of their family and they still are today. In 1976 John decided to move the family to the White Mountains to be closer to his parents. They opened their first business "Bailey Feed Store." His parents helped get the store running until John and Leola were able to move up in November. The younger girls started school in August and helped at the feed store daily after school. The feed store would be their work for the next 25 years. Leola was a bit sad when they sold the store as she had made many friends, who would come in and drink coffee and visit with her. They also opened a small hotel next to the feed store that is still open today.
The feed store building is still there, however now it is known as the "Dog House Thrift Store." In 1991, Grandma Bailey (John's mother) passed away and this was very hard for Leola because they had become very close. After the sale of the feed store was complete, they moved to Porter Creek Estates where they opened another store, "Bailey General Store," where they sold windows, doors and metal. Leola enjoyed the opportunity of having this business as it allowed them to make trips to Gulf Port, Miss. for metal. When making these trips, John would drop her off with her sister and father while he went to pick up the metal. This allowed her to visit with her family more often.
In 1992 Leola’s father passed away and while still coping with the loss of her father, she learned two months later that her son Darrel was dying. So Leola, John and their four daughters went to be with him for his 36th birthday in California, Leola was very hurt and didn't understand why she had to bury her baby. She always said "kids bury the parents."
In 2013 Leola was diagnosed with "Senile Dementia." She was not happy with this, as she didn't really understand the disease yet. She would often say "that don't sound good." Early in 2016 John became pretty sick and the family felt he had pneumonia. He didn't want to go to the doctor as he wanted to wait for Leola to get back from a birthday visit to Louisana with her three daughters.
While in Louisiana she attended her first Mardi Gras. She had a great trip, but it was very hard on her. When she returned John finally went to the doctor in February, where sure enough he was diagnosed with pneumonia, he was later diagnosed with lung and kidney cancer, papillary renal cell carcinoma on April 27th. On June 8, 2016 John passed away at home and Leola again was left with not understanding why. They had been married 48 plus years. The very next day, Leola moved in with Lisa and her husband Bobby, as they were the only children still left living on the mountain.
In September, Leola went to the Grand Canyon for her first and last time. She said how beautiful and very deep it was.
"We enjoyed serving our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, sister-in-law, and just plain friend. We had another family join us the past 20 months, Accord Hospice. They helped us very much. They were all so kind and loving to momma and us. Mom had a special relationship with each and every one of them. Thank You from the bottom of our hearts. Momma will be greatly missed by all. We love you momma, go and enjoy meeting your Heavenly Father, and all the family who have gone on before. You will be forever in our hearts and memory."
Leola is survived by her four daughters, Deborah Billings of Apache Junction, Carolyn (Doug) York of Mesa, Lisa (Bobby) Seitz of Lakeside, Sherry (Kenny) McCloud of Apache Junction; eight grandchildren: Eric (Lisa) Gandy, Christy King, Joseph (Marlana) Seitz, Joshua (Carolina) Seitz, Bobby Joe (Crystal) Seitz, Tosha (Glen) Hale, Garret (Jessica) McCloud; 18 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandson Lukas; sister Velma Rogers of Sulphur, La.; three sister-in-laws, Margie Peveto, Anna Joe (Raymond) Morris, Linda Schwaiger; one brother-in-law, Tom Bailey; also lifelong friend JoAnna Wakefield and family, as well as many other extended family members and friends.
She was preceded in death by her loving husband, John C. Bailey; mother and father, Clarise Jones and Whitney Joseph Stutes; son Darrel Wayne Bailey; grandson Kenneth William "K.W." Harden; two son-in-laws, Buddy Harden and Travis Billings; sister Dorothy Drounett; brother Francis Joseph Stutes; mother-in-law Margaret Ann Bailey; father-in-law Joe Zenith Bailey and many other family and friends.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 21, at the Blueridge Christian Center, 184 W. White Mountain Blvd. in Lakeside. Pastor Rick Drury will officiate. A luncheon and time of fellowship will follow the service in the Fellowship Hall. All are welcome to attend.
Owens Livingston Mortuary of Show Low handled arrangements.
For those who have special memories and would like to send private condolences or sign an online guest book, visit websitewww.owenslivingstonmortuary.com.