Bailey – Valerie Jean (nee Anderson) went to be with the Lord on June 2, 2009. Val is survived by her devoted husband of almost 56 years, Bill, and her four children and their spouses: Alan and Lori, Cam and Gelaine, Paul and Heather and Carol and Rod. Val had eleven much-loved grandchildren and 2 new darling great grandchildren: Mark (Hiro), Stefani (Scott), Natali, Mackenzie, Mitchell, Nicole, Ben, Anna, Marshall, Julia and Madeline, and Mark and Hiro’s little girls, Aika and baby Rio. Val is also survived by her only sibling and his wife of 65 years, William and Roberta Anderson of Edmonton, AB, their sons, Robert Anderson of Edson and Richard Anderson of Victoria, and Robert’s and Richard’s children and grandchildren.
Val was born in Fernie, BC on January 16, 1931 to Cecil Brebner and Sadie Isabella (Clapp) Anderson. She lived as a young child in Fernie, with her idolized and much loved Brother Bill, but Bill was ten years older than Val and went into the Navy for WW2 when Val was still in primary school. She missed him greatly and did not enjoy being the only child in the household. Her father’s career took them to Medicine Hat and Lethbridge during Val’s later school years. She found this difficult, and she was determined that she would settle in one place with her own family someday and never move again. She was eventually able to do that in Victoria, a place she loved completely. Val was fortunate that her father had a good job with McDonalds Consolidated throughout the Depression and war years, and the family was able and willing to send Val to university at a time when most girls did not further their education. Cecil’s parents had both been highly educated people in Scotland, the Headmistress and Headmaster of schools, and Sadie was a nurse trained at Kootenay Lake Hospital, so education was very important in the family. Val had a great talent for music, in both piano and voice, and achieved the Silver Medal on her Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 10 voice examination, with the highest mark in Western Canada. She pursued a music education degree at the University of Alberta and had many wonderful times with her women’s fraternity sisters in Delta Gamma and her friends in Pembina Hall. It seems she was popular; she claimed to her children that she was never without a date for a Saturday night while at U of A.
Val met Bill at U of A, where he was studying Engineering and playing trombone. She was thrilled to marry him in Lethbridge in 1953, and they settled in Edmonton. She had never been part of a large family before, and the eight boisterous Bailey siblings, all of them musical, with assorted spouses and offspring, opened up a whole new world of family party fun that Val enjoyed immensely over the years. Marriage meant the start of a new journey in the kitchen, too; Val had never been taught to cook, and Bill’s mother and five sisters were hard acts to follow regardless. Bill had no idea before the wedding that there was a woman alive who could not cook, which lead to some initial strife as Bill couldn’t cook either, but after a few false starts with undercooked potatoes, Val soon mastered the meal preparation tasks. It must be noted as well that Bill developed into a fine kitchen assistant, specializing in Saturday morning pancakes, and he helped out in many ways. Val was wise enough to know that you didn’t have to be a master chef to make a few good, tasty meals. She found recipes she enjoyed and she provided very well for her family’s culinary needs, but she always enjoyed cleaning the house more than spending time in the kitchen. Val never took much to baking, but she sure made an excellent pie crust. Though the pies weren’t numerous, they certainly were good. Val felt that she put so much time and effort into these pies that it was only right that they not disappear too fast, so she would limit the speed at which a piece could be eaten. The same held true for all of the desserts she laboured over; if it took her an hour to make it, it would take you close to an hour to eat it. Bite for bite with her, she’d say.
Val started her teaching career in Edmonton at Spruce Avenue School, teaching music and English. She also did a weekly radio program for the CBC called Listen and Sing, which was used in classrooms throughout Alberta. Teachers who had no talent for music would turn on the classroom radio, and magically, Val Bailey, with her little ten year old sidekick Reg, would teach all the children to sing. She was never a teacher to let a situation get the better of her; when asked to teach girls Phys Ed at Spruce Ave, she locked herself in the gym regularly after school and practiced shooting basketballs until she could sink them like a pro, one after another. When challenged by a young, duck-tailed, leather jacket-clad Grade 9 student, the legendary Lee Falconberg, Val gave him a what-for lecture that reverberated through the school’s heating chambers into several other classrooms, marched into her principal’s office and declared that either Lee went, or she went. The principal, Mr. Beckwith, subsequently explained to the boy that he really had to choose Mrs. Bailey over Lee, as Mrs. Bailey was doing a very good job at the school, while Lee really wasn’t. A semester spent on the slaughter floor at Burn’s convinced the boy that school was the place for him, and he later thanked Val for standing up to him and straightening him out. Val was always a live wire, determined, stubborn, eager, and feisty; she had a bright and immediate smile, was quick to laugh, and laughed a lot. Val had boundless energy and a brisk pace. She demanded genuine effort and excellent results from her students, and she was a disciplinarian extraordinaire. Her organizational skills were such that she could organize anything or anyone into a masterpiece of perfection; she truly would have been able to herd cats. She always lamented that she had the emotional temperament, the freckles and the fair skin of the redhead but no red hair to go with them. Above all other physical attributes, Val would have loved to have thick, red hair and she had great admiration for that hair when she saw it on others, especially on Roberta.
Eventually, Bill and Val became the proud parents of Alan and then Cam in Edmonton. Val took a temporary retirement from teaching and they all moved to Berkeley for Bill to complete his Masters in Sanitary Engineering. The California climate impressed Val and she realized that summers didn’t have to be oppressively hot and winters unbearably cold. So, Bill and Val decided to look into a move to Victoria, which seemed to be the ideal location for Bill’s career and a California-style climate. Paul had been born in Berkeley, and long-awaited daughter Carol FINALLY came along during their brief stint back in Edmonton. No denim of any kind would be permitted to darken the closet of Val’s Girl for many years. With the two younger children, Val boarded the train and headed to the coast. A brief stay in a rental home allowed Val and Bill to build their new dream home at 2044 Frederick Norris Road, and Val got her wish to settle and never move again. She was happy to be at home with the children and focus on being a wife, mother and homemaker for a while. She kept a spotless house, pretty much spotless children, and provided accommodation and food for a university boarder every year as well. Her first boarder, Elaine Clarke, had moved in during 1957 as a favour to Brother Bill and his friend Raymond Clarke, but the tradition continued forever more, and Val and Bill eventually hosted a total of 57 boarders and additional assorted odds and sods until 2007, with many of whom they stayed closely in touch. Val ran a very tight household ship, an iron fist in a velvet glove, with scheduled piano practice for the children back to back at 7:30 and 8:00 am and rooms clean and beds made before breakfast was served. Everything had a place, and everything was in its place. Her closets were shining examples of beautifully presented organization, with perfectly matched, stacked and labelled boxes she had procured from shoe and stationary stores, holding everything that could ever be needed, including boxes labelled, “Shower Gifts for Baby Boy” and a general storage shoe box labelled, “Chair Tacks, Sink Washers and Night Lights.” Just as when she had been teaching, she was confident and capable providing the discipline required for her boys, and sometimes, her girl. She was never one to say “Just wait till your father gets home!” Any punishment (consequence?) that was required for noted infractions was duly meted out in a timely manner and was never left for Bill to handle. Val let the boys have all their wild adventures in the woods behind the house and beyond, but watch out if there was misbehaviour, or, worse yet, blood on Paul resulting from injuries caused by some questionable activity the older boys had dreamed up. She would be on the warpath. There were Saturday morning Job Lists for the children, and everyone did beautiful work, ready for Val’s inspection. The boys could clean a toilet with the best of them. There were four toilets and four children – perfectly planned. All four children took a variety of music lessons and Val was on the road in the reliable Rambler, driving to one lesson and then to the next. Hockey was pretty much handled by Bill, but Val was a vocal supporter in the stands when the boys played and she felt terrible about Paul the Goalie facing all those pucks, sharply directed toward his accident prone little head.
Val was a master communicator and a superb writer. She was an avid reader, and would lose herself entirely into a book when she read. She apparently was unable to hear or acknowledge Bill when she was so engrossed, which he found a bit annoying. Bill, not being a reading type until much later in life, felt that since there was so much to do about the place, perhaps she had already read all the books that possibly needed to be read in her lifetime, and that Nevil Shute fellow had written all he was capable of writing years ago and the rest of his writing was by now surely drivel. Bill never did manage to convince her of any of these ideas. All meals were eaten at the kitchen table within easy reach of her indispensible reference books: Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, the Oxford Thesaurus, the Oxford Dictionary, and Webster’s Synonyms, Antonyms and Homonyms. The Medical Dictionary also came out frequently, often to diagnose Paul’s injuries but not always. She loved the English language, and she loved it to be spoken and written properly. She always kept in touch with people through letters, and wrote constantly. She wrote to close friends and scattered family, to the Editor of the local papers about topics which were near to her heart, including music education in the schools, and she often wrote to major corporations with suggestions and comments. In one particular case, she felt Kentucky Fried Chicken was setting a poor linguistic example with their statement “We do Chicken Right” and felt that a more acceptable slogan would be “We do Chicken Correctly.” The Kentucky Fried Chicken Corporation never did respond to that letter, but Val used to receive many polite responses back from most letters she wrote. In fact, she wrote to the Queen Mother at Glamis Castle in Scotland. She explained Granny Helene Anderson’s friendship with the Queen Mother’s nanny, when Cecil had been child in Lintrathen, and indicated that Val and Bill were coming to Lintrathen for a visit. Next thing you knew, Val received a letter back from the Queen Mother’s secretary, inviting them to have a private viewing of the Castle and tea with Lady Mary, the permanent family resident of the castle. Val’s letter writing often had many interesting outcomes.
Val went back to teaching part time when the kids were all in school, and spent nineteen exceedingly happy years at Richmond. She taught music to students in grades three through seven, although a few years saw her with the kindergarten students, too, just to keep her on her toes. They made her laugh a great deal but her heart was with the older kids, and she made fine musicians of most of them. Her choirs were outstanding in every way, and the complicated productions that she could put together, with help from the other teachers, were a testament to both her musical skills and her organizational prowess. She could juggle a seemingly endless number of balls in the air, and concert nights always came off without much of a hitch that anyone but Val would notice. “The Show Must Go On” was indeed her motto, and she gave Richmond students and parents many years of music excellence.
During this time, she also ran the children’s junior choir at St. Aiden’s church. This choir came to be known as the Songsters, and working with all those children over the many years she directed Songsters was very rewarding for Val. Songsters provided Val with a way to share her faith and beliefs with the children, while also whipping them up into shape as an unbelievably good children’s choir. She taught them about Jesus and the Bible, about friendship, about how to stand tall and breathe from their diaphram to make the most beautiful vowel sounds ever, and, of course, about good behaviour.
When Alan was in high school, he started attending Young Life, and Val and Bill came to be very involved in the organization as adult volunteers. Val joined the local committee and brought all of her talents to share for over twenty years. She worked tirelessly, organized endlessly, and found and nurtured wonderful friendships within a vibrant Christian community. Val was also very involved with the church throughout her life, and was very excited when she and Bill, in later years, participated in the start up of a new congregation, Faith Congregational Church, eventually to be called Pipeline Church when it seemed they would build a new building on Pipeline Road. This newer, small church kept Val very involved, as there were many jobs to do and lots of music to be made. She had very close relationships with her fellow church members and valued them greatly. She kept up her commitment to Young Life and church activities until she finally was no longer able to do so because of Alzheimers.
Val will be greatly missed by friends and family, although she had slipped away from most people in the past few years as Alzheimers took its toll. In typical Val fashion, she fought a hard battle with the disease, and didn’t give up. She was determined to help other people who had Alzheimers by participating in research studies through UBC, and she and Bill travelled back and forth to UBC so Val could be part of Dr. Feldman’s study. She lived with the disease for much longer than most patients do, which probably reflects her strong will and her general good health otherwise, as well as the excellent care she received. She always took good care of her self, ate well, and got lots of exercise with her beloved Basil. It’s a whimsical thought, but surely Basil and Val are striding happily together again, around the blocks of Heaven! Never was there a more devoted pair. Many thanks to all the staff at the Pavilion who cared so kindly for Val over the past five years. A celebration of Val’s life will be held at Emmanuel Baptist Church on Thursday, July 2 at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kiwanis Pavilion Society.

Postscript

When going through some old papers, Cam found some cue cards with a little speech Mom had written on them. We believe that it would have been written for Lillian Hagan’s memorial service. Lillian and Bernie Hagan were parents of a close friend of Val’s, Norma Hagan, and they were renowned for their senses of humour, as was the entire Bailey family. Lillian lived to a very old age, and was healthy, spry and funny all the way through. It would have been a pleasant time in reminiscence at her service. We felt this little snippet of Mom’s writing caught a classic soundbite from her, which illuminates her proper sense of decorum, Dad and Uncle Bob’s joy in having fun together, always, and Mom’s generous sense of humour in the telling:
“Here’s a Hagan memory that my husband can’t, or won’t, remember. On the eve of our wedding, Bill and Brother Bob came to Lethbridge, and were kindly hosted by Lillian and Bernie. They were to join us at Mom and Dad’s house at 7:30 for a family gathering. Time went by, and more time went by. My mom was agitated and I was even more so.
Finally, much later than 7:30, we phoned over to Hagans. The boys were having so much fun with Bernie and Lillian, cracking one joke after another, that they had become unaware of the time and of the fact they were absent from the cup of tea date over at our house. Not a great way to start our marriage from my perspective, but Bill and Bob thought it was the highlight of the weekend.”

We love you forever, Mom.

  • Tracy Sinclair-Wong

    Dear Mrs Bailey,

    I know you have passed, but here is a little message from me to you to say thank you for a better childhood because of you. I was fortunate enough to not only go to Richmond Elementary, but also St. Aiden’s and I was a Songster from the beginning. I grew up to be a music teacher, not half the teacher you were, and I so kindly remember seeing you at one of my perfomances some odd 20 years ago in my early 20’s (I was singing at several points during a usical review at UVIC). We had a quick run in after the show, and you complemented me on my beautiful singing! Little did I know for all the years I was in Songters, and then the Intermediate Choir at St. Aiden’s, that sadly I couldn’t sing a note in tune! Not a problem for the incredible Mrs. Bailey….. she sweetly put me between two strong “in tune” singers, and helped me on my way to singing the right note at the right time.

    You are fondly remembered, and I wish your family all the happiness every time they think of you.

    All my Love,
    Tracy Sinclair (-Wong)

  • Renee Hegberg (nee Besmargain)

    Dear Mr. Bailey and family,

    I was so sorry to hear about the passing of Mrs. Bailey.
    I so fondly remember living on Fredrick Norris with you all and learning so much about God, life, studying hard, Young Life and simply how to be a good person. Many wonderful memories have come to my mind from this news. My very favourite time at your house was our after dinner chats. Where Paul, Dennis, you, Mrs. B. and I would chat about anything under the sun. It was so nice to have “family” when I was away from mine. I will be praying for you all in your time of sorrow. Mrs. B was truly an amazing woman; a true Proverbs 31 lady. God be with you all. Love, Renee

  • Sal & Al Durno

    All your family must have many wonderful memories of Val to keep with you throughout your lives. Val was Sal’s roomate in the DG House while both attended U of A. Since Bill and Val were so immersed in music, they seemed to be the perfect match. The first thing Val did was to teach me how to make proper corners while making my bed and she checked it each day for awhile! As well the dresser had to be perfectly tidy. We had fun in those days. Val accomplished so much during her lifetime.
    Our sympathy to Bill and family,
    Al and Sal Durno

  • Daniel Lomas

    Dear Bill anf Family

    Just wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts. I would like to say I am sorry for your loss. You see that Mrs Bailey was my first real friend when I moved to Victoria. I was a very shy and quiet kid who had some troubles with a new home and school. She took me into her music room and asked if I would like to join the chior. I was terrified and excited at the same time. THIS change my life forever!!! She pushed me just hard enough and boy did it work. Even today I find myself singing some of the songs she taught me so many years ago. I believe that her life was a celabration and a blessing to all.

    God Bless

    Daniel J. Lomas

  • lisa brown

    Val will be greatly missed by my family. When we first moved to Victoria ( Aug.1989)Val was first to welcome all of us. She was so kind to my three children. My daughter Natalie was entering Jr. high school at that time and Val had a special tea party for her. Val invited a few of her students who were going to the same school. This made such an important and happy begining in my daughters school life. Val was always full of fun and important information on current events and life.My first friend in Victoria, how can I ever forget you?
    Our deepest and sincere sympathy to all the family.
    Lisa Brown

  • Jan Quiring

    I think of Val … and my heart smiles. What a wonderful gift she was in our lives! As you adjust to life without her this side of heaven, may you know His peace, comfort and grace.

    With love & prayers,

    Jan

  • Margaret Alexander

    Dear Bill and Family;
    Jim and I wish to express our condolences at your loss. We enjoyed the brilliantly written obituary above, and laughed and cried as we read those memories of the amazing woman who was your wife and mother. There will never be another Val Bailey.
    We recalled our own memories… too numerous to mention but I have to highlight a few.

    As the family’s first babysitter when you moved to Victoria, I remember 4 shining children (3 little buzz-cut heads and a baby girl) neatly tucked into their beds and fast asleep when I arrived at 7:00 p.m. …a babysitter’s dream! Carol was but 6 weeks old and she stayed asleep for the duration. Mothers could take lessons from you, Val.

    As one of the earlier boarders in the long Bailey tradition of boarders, Jim remembers being greeted by “Mrs. B.” on the doorstep at 2044, and told he’d be welcome if he got a haircut. “But I’ve just come from the barber’s! ” Jim protested. “You certainly didn’t get your money’s worth!’ retorted Mrs. B. Fortunately Jim was allowed to move in anyway with his modified Beatles cut, and I don’t think he corrupted the Bailey children too badly. For $80 a month, Jim got a Val Bailey- made bagged lunch every day, a breakfast of oatmeal porridge every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (eggs on Tuesdays and Thursdays) and a solid family meal every evening. He had the boarder’s quarters in the basement which came complete with a built in alarm clock : the commencement of somebody’s piano scales at 7:00 a.m. He had his cord Levis and jeans ironed weekly whether he wanted them ironed or not, and received oversight in his attire when dating me. Mrs. B., we can tell you now: Jim did wear those jeans to Easter dinner at my parent’s house after all. He had to escape out the basement window to avoid your inspection, though! I even managed to get in on some of the fashion advice when I turned up in a pair of Jim’s jeans during a phase in 1972. (It was not a favourable review.)
    Val Bailey is the only woman I know who procured a personalized license plate before they were officially available in B.C. And for free, of course! When she heard they were giving out plates close to her initials, but only in sequence, she visited the motor vehicle licensing bureau numerous times over several days, convincing strangers to allow her to switch places in line, so that she could obtain plate # VJB 123. How she found time to indulge herself in such details while raising four children, teaching, running the St. Aiden’s Songsters, maintaining family photo albums never more than a few weeks out of date, a rigourous housekeeping routine, and countless other activities will remain a mystery to me. I have learned many things from you Val, but no one could ever replicate your unique style of living.

    At our wedding almost 37 years ago, I remember sage advice from Val and Bill: “50-50”. I guess it’s worked. Thank you for your love and support, your interest in us, all the conversations and the prayers as we became Christians and began to serve God. You were a blessing. We look forward to meeting again in eternity, your memories fully restored.

    Love to all….. Margaret and Jim Alexander

  • Laurinda Beimers (nee Williamson)

    Dear Bill and family,

    Your wife and mother was not just a teacher to me, she was an encourager and mentor. I always looked forward to music class because I knew I could and would be challenged – and that was hard to do:) To this day when I hear Tchaikovsky’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ I see the chart with all the analysis, and I still sing, So-La-Ti-Do at the right time. Even after Elementary School I attended Bible Studies in your home led by your borders and then she attended my graduating vocal recital. What a treasure she is and I look forward to seeing her one day again. We have a hope in an everlasting Father who does not disappoint. We will see her again!

    Laurinda

  • Cathy at Van Isle Jewellers

    to all the family of Val Bailey.
    Please accept our sympathies at Val’s passing.
    She is certainly remembered by us for her humour, helping out her “kids”, and for her enthusiasm for always running up the stairs at our Yates street location.
    From the owner and staff at Van Isle Jewellers.

  • Joseph Gakena

    Hi Bill,
    We have known each for only a short time but everytime I admired your strength and love towards Val as you visited her in the pavilion. A few times I came with you and learned a lot about the love of Jesus. Val will be missed by family and friends. In Christ we will meet her again in eternity.
    Joseph

  • Ralph & Ruth Miller

    It was a joy to know Val and to be touched by her enthusiasm and her commitment. Ruth has a special memory of the night when the Delta Gamma choral group, under Val’s direction, won the Inter-Fraternity song fest and Val joyously hugged the trophy. So many wonderful memories, most of all, of a life lived well and courageously.

    Ruth and Ralph

  • Rhonda Anstett (nee Shave)

    Dear Bill and Family,
    Even though it has been many years since I have seen you,
    you have always been there in my heart.
    I express my condolences on your loss.
    I am thankful that Val was in my life and had an impact as a strong Christian woman who lived every moment for the Lord.
    Thank you for your fine example to all of us.
    Thank you also for loving all of us young people enough to get involved in Young Life and Bible studies and always living out your faith.
    You will be missed Val but I am sure that you are up in Heaven having a wonderful time with Jesus.
    Take care Bill and family.

    Love Rhonda Anstett (nee Shave)

  • Valerie & Roland Priddle

    Roland and I have very happy memories of first meeting Val at The Faith Congregational Church in Goward House in 1998. She welcomed us warmly that first day. During the 7 years we lived in Victoria we came to love and admire her and Bill. Joining the church choir brought me (Valerie) closer into their lives. Val was a great choir director and we always had fun on Thursday evenings at their house. Who said that Christians can’t enjoy themselves?
    Before I moved back to Ottawa I enjoyed weekly visits with Val at the Pavilion.
    We are thankful to God having shared in Val’s life in a small way.

    With our sincerest condolences.

    Valerie & Roland Priddle

  • Betty Schofield

    You and I have walked this long road of Alzheimer’s together with our loved ones, but each of us had moments of joy over the years.
    I appreciated the Bible studies with Val in the 90s and church picnics on your lawn.
    I’m sure that Val has met Alan and Margaret as she strolls through heaven’s golden streets. Alan will be playing ball with Basil leaving Val and Margaret to have tea and Dutch Bakery cookes sent by special delivery from Fort Street. One day, we’ll join the tea party. See you there!
    Love, Betty

  • Joanne Nicolson

    All of the family are in my thoughts right now. That was a beautifully written obituary. I laughed, and remembered, and learned much more about this woman who was very influential in my childhood. Mrs. Bailey will always be remembered.
    Joanne Nicolson

  • Valerie Hinchcliffe

    I just wanted to send my thoughts and memories on Mrs. Bailey.
    I started attending Richmond Elementary in 1970 (kindergarten). I enjoyed Mrs. Baileys music classes for all of my elementary school years. The classes were FUN, ENJOYABLE and we learned lots. She had so many activities going on and I was thrilled to be a part of her musical productions, choirs and I even made her 3 X 8 choir. I was very proud of that accomplishment. We shared the same first name, fair skin and freckles and I do remember her commenting on this many times. I have such vivid memories of her and her classes and I hold such fond thoughts of her for giving so much of herself to us!! She was a very special lady.

    I have a 6 year old daughter and an 8 year old son and I only wish that they could experience what it really means to have such an exceptional music teacher and program as I was able to.

    My thoughts go out to your family at this time and hope you know how much Mrs. Bailey was loved!!

    With sincere sympathy,

    Val Hinchcliffe

  • Bruce and Donna Davenport

    Dear Bill and Family

    Our family want you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Val was such a special influence for our kids and I’m sure that she is already getting her choir together and Charles is first in line. We remember with love.

    Bruce and Donna Davenport and Family

  • Pat Williamson

    Dear Bill
    A great lady has gone to join the choirs of heaven. While she is welcomed into heaven those left behind will miss her greatly. May you experience the peace that passeth all understanding as you face her loss.
    Pat and Phil Williamson

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