Baylor Mourns the Passing of Former Regent and Distinguished Alumnus Bill Bailey

Aug. 20, 2015
Bill Bailey

Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275
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WACO, Texas (Aug. 20, 2015) – Baylor University is mourning the passing of distinguished alumnus, Waco businessman and former Regent A. W. “Bill” Bailey Jr., who died Aug. 19 in Waco. He was 86.

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 24, at First Baptist Church of Waco, 500 Webster Ave., with Dr. Matt Snowden officiating. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, in the Garden Room at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home, 6101 Bosque Blvd.

(Mr. Bailey’s full obituary can be found here.)

“Baylor University extends its deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers to the family and friends of Bill Bailey, a faithful servant, loving father and grandfather, successful businessman and distinguished alumnus of our beloved University,” said Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr. “We are immensely grateful for Bill’s steadfast example of servant leadership in the Baylor and Waco communities. He leaves a powerful legacy of generosity and selfless dedication that will inspire generations of future leaders at Baylor. Our university and our community are better because of the life and service of Bill Bailey.”

A native of Waco, Bailey graduated from Baylor in 1951 with his bachelor’s degree in accounting and his law degree from Baylor Law School. While a student, he lettered in tennis and was member of the debate team and Baylor Chamber of Commerce. In 1956, he founded Bailey Insurance and Risk Management Inc., a Central Texas insurance agency now led by his son, Wes Bailey. He also was co-owner of Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home in Waco, with his son, Hatch Bailey. In addition, he served in the U.S. Air Force as lieutenant in the Judge Advocates Division.

Bailey gave his time to dozens of civic, religious, industrial and educational boards and organizations, including 18 years of service on the Baylor Board of Regents (1977–86, 1987-96), chairman of the Greater Waco United Way and president of both the Baylor/Waco Foundation and Waco Business League. At the university, he chaired of the 1994 Baylor Presidential Search Committee and was a member of the Bush Library Steering Committee and Letterwinner’s Association. He also received several university awards, including the W.R. White Meritorious Service Award in 1988 and Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997.

“I think you come out of Baylor with a good set of values for life,” Bailey said in a story on his agency’s website. “To me, the important things are the mind, body and spirit. You have an opportunity here to develop all three. Baylor creates a very wholesome lifestyle – which creates a lifestyle of service to the community.”

He and his wife, Roberta, who passed away in 2014, were faithful and generous supporters of Baylor University. They were members of the Endowed Scholarship Society, Lifetime members of the 1845 Society, Medallion Fellowship and Old Main Society, as well as the Baylor Bear Foundation, President's Club, Tip Off Club and Friends of Truett Seminary.

He and his family have been honored with the establishment of two Baylor scholarships – the A. W. “Bill” Bailey, Jr. and Roberta Hatch Bailey Endowed Scholarship Fund and Bill Bailey Endowed Professorship of Insurance and Risk Management in Baylor's Hankamer School of Business. In addition, the Bill and Roberta Bailey Family Lecture in Christian Ethics was created in honor of the Baileys for their family’s longstanding and faithful commitment to Baylor University, the Waco community and to the church.

The Baileys also supported capital projects at Baylor, including the naming gift for the Bill and Roberta Bailey Golf Center, the clubhouse for Baylor’s men’s and women’s golf teams at Twin Rivers Golf Club. They also supported Floyd Casey Stadium Skyboxes, renovation of the Ferrell Center's locker rooms, Student Life Center and construction of George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Roberta Hatch Bailey, and daughter-in-law, Yvonne Bailey, B.S. ’81, M.S. ’82.

He is survived by sons, Roy Bailey and his wife, Tina; Wes Bailey, B.B.A. ’78, and wife, Rebecca, B.A. ’78; and Hatch Bailey, B.A. ’84; grandchildren, Erin Bailey Simpson, B.A. ’04, Kate Alden McCunniff, B.A.’08, Boyd Murphy Bailey, 35, B.A. ’02, Baxter H. Bailey, Barrett M. Bailey, Brennan M. Bailey, B.B.A. ’13, and Brooklin R. Bailey; and four great-grandchildren.

The family suggests the following memorials: First Baptist Church of Waco Endowment Fund, 500 Webster, Waco TX 76706; The Bill and Roberta Bailey Family Lecture Series in Christian Ethics at the George W. Truett Theological Seminary, One Bear Place #97126, Waco TX 76798; Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center, 100 Hillcrest Medical Blvd., attn: Rhonda Luker, Waco TX 76712, and the Bill and Roberta Bailey Endowed Scholarship Fund at Baylor University, One Bear Place #97050, Waco, TX 76798-7050.

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