James William ‘Jim’ Bailey, 85, pioneered Army’s first missile ordnance delivery system

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James William 'Jim' Bailey
James William ‘Jim’ Bailey

James William ‘Jim’ Bailey, 85, of Williamsburg, Va., left this earth Wednesday, April 5, 2017. He was born in Kalamazoo, Mich., Nov. 15, 1931, to Robert and Freda Smith Bailey.

James graduated from Western Michigan University in 1951. During his career at the U.S. Army’s Diamond Ordnance Fuse Laboratory (DOFL) in Washington, D.C., he pioneered development of the Army’s first missile ordnance delivery system. At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., he managed the development of automated systems used to test and flight-certify spacecraft and their onboard scientific instruments.

On Aug. 1, 1955, he married Lucile Wilbourn of Scobey, Miss., in Kalamazoo.

He gave of his talents to the community in several ways. By developing electronic systems for Freeway Airport in Bowie, Md., he designed and installed weather and communications equipment. This enabled Freeway to become a state-of-the-art facility. In 1987, as an amateur radio operator, KB4ZIN, Jim built and installed a repeater system in Williamsburg. During local and state emergencies, the repeater is used by other ham radio operators to give local weather reports to the National Weather Service’s Skywarn.

His beloved wife, Lou, preceded him in death in January 1990, and his sister, Julia Jane Jansen, in February 1999. His mother, Freda was nearly 101 years of age when she passed away in 2005.

Surviving him are his three daughters, Lori Bailey Goldstein (husband, Andy Goldstein), Terrill Bailey and Christina Bailey, all of Williamsburg; two sons, Steven Bailey (wife, Kathy Bailey) of Denton, Texas, and William Bailey of Williamsburg; four grandchildren, Mark Voitein of St. Mary’s, Ga., Victoria Adams, and Robert and Aaron Goldstein of Williamsburg. He was deeply loved by his many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 23, at the Williamsburg Jamestown Airport, 100 Marclay Road, Williamsburg.

The family would like to thank the staff of the ICU and ED at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center for their care and compassion during his recent illness and subsequent passing.

In lieu of flowers, monetary donations may be made to the American Red Cross. The donation of blood would also be very much appreciated. Burial will be held in the Riverside Cemetery in Kalamazoo, Mich., alongside his parents.