With the help of God and with gratitude and love in my heart for her. I hope to write an obituary of Altia
Bailey, my beloved mother (Mom).
Mom was born in Dickenson County on December 23, 1911, the 4th born of 11 children of Henry Cleveland
and Sarah Eveline O’Quinn Owens. She was joined in marriage to Basil Bailey on March 28, 1929. To this union
were born 9 children (7 boys and 2 girls). Her youngest child, Aaron, went to be with Jesus when he was 5
years old. Her husband of 46 years, (my dad), Basil, passed on September 6, 1975, Mom joined Daddy in
Heaven on January 3, 2004, making her sojourn here on earth 92 years and 11 days. Although she lived in
Dickenson County for most of her life, her 4th son, Denver, provided her a home adjacent to his in Elkhorn City,
Kentucky, and was an excellent caretaker for the last years of her life. Mom passed on to be with Jesus from
her own bed at that home with Denver at her side.
Survivors include sons; Dempsey Bailey of Lancaster, Ohio, Monroe Bailey of Haysi, Virginia, Jake Bailey of
Blue Ridge, Virginia, Denver Bailey of Elkhorn City, Kentucky, Teddy Bailey of Haysi, Virginia, and Toby Bailey of
Haysi, Virginia, daughters; Betty Deel of Haysi, Virginia and Mildred Gravel of Lake Wells, Florida, 19
grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren, brother; William Ellis Owens of Haysi, Virginia and sisters; Ethel Yates
of Breaks, Virginia, Imal Fuller of Haysi, Virginia, and Maxie Hess of Kingsport, Tennessee.
Mom accepted the Lord Jesus as her savior and Lord and was baptized in the summer of 1949 by Daddy and
Elder Dave Church (we believe she was the last person Elder Dave Church baptized before he passed on). She
was a faithful member of the Old Regular Baptist Church all the days of her life thereafter and attended services
as long as she was able. Her last church home was Emmanuel Old Regular Baptist Church, which she loved very
Mom had a large family and devoted her life to taking care of her husband and children, and keeping a clean
and happy home. She was an industrious woman who sewed beautiful quilts for her family, planted and cared for
large gardens. She also canned meat and made soap. Mom was kind and generous to her neighbors and
always had a smile on her face. Daddy was an Old Regular Baptist preacher who also worked in the mines and
then, for many years, in his own machine shop. Church people would gather in our home on Sundays and Mom
prepared many wonderful meals for the crowds who came. She always welcomed her family, friends, and
neighbors to her home and was never unkind to anyone. She was wonderful person and a wonderful mother.
My brother, Dempsey (Mom’s eldest son), wrote the following words soon after Mom’s passing. “Someone
we have known for a long time, who loved us dearly, who was always on our side even when we didn’t deserve
it, has gone on”. We could talk to her and know she would try to understand. We will miss her greatly. Mom
loved us with an unconditional love. Her children were special and anything we did could be explained. She had
compassion for those who were suffering. She made sure we had something special to eat when we visited.
I have seen her cry as we left our mountain home to find a living elsewhere, but she never said, “Don’t go.”
She wanted what was best for us even though it broke her heart to see us go.
Mommy said to us, “I am so tired I would like to go on to be with Daddy. I have lived long enough; we can’t
stay here forever.” Mommy’s desires have been granted and she is happy now.
We always knew that we had special parents, who lived deep in the hills, who would not turn us away and
would always love us. We can’t go home again, Mommy and Daddy no longer live there. The lights are out, the
house is dark, and no one answers our phone calls. The laughter is silent. We can’t hear the clanging of pots
and pans as Mommy prepares a good meal for us; the food has been put away now and the dishes are clean.
The table is empty. Our memories are left, our memories are not empty and will not be put away.
We remember the good things – the laughter, the happiness, and the love we knew our parents had or us.
They knew that we loved them, too. We saw Daddy work long, hard hours to provide for us. We enjoyed he
generosity shown to us in time of need. We remember sitting together around the table, in the living room, on the
porch, or under a shade tree and hearing Daddy tell us Bible stories, the importance of prayer, and to make
heaven our home.
The hands that prepared our meals, washed, ironed, and patched our clothes, and saw to our needs no
longer moves. The heart that loved us so dearly, no longer beats. We miss her greatly.
We must accept, we must adjust, and let the healing process begin. Mom and Dad taught us to love. It is a
great feeling to share that love with my brothers and sister and their families. The love our parents instilled in us
will last forever.
My baby sister, Mildred (Mom’s second daughter), wrote the following: “She is in a better place. She knows
now that (Heaven) is there. This is what we strive for and now she is there. It is us who will miss her. I am a
little jealous that she is already there seeing things that we can only imagine. We are the selfish ones—we didn’t
want to let her go, but it was time. She wanted to go. She was a good mother.”
My brother, Monroe (Mom’s second son) wrote; “We are going to miss her so much and I will miss going to
see her and visiting with her. We all have special things that we are going to miss about her, but she has made a
beautiful exchange and is with Dad now where she longed to go for a long time. Now she has it over and we
need to strive to meet them again.”
Mom always encouraged her children and grandchildren to do right and seek to be right with the Lord. She
was faithful to tell them that they do not know the length of their days on this earth and it is so important to
always be ready to meet the Lord. Most of her children have professed hope in the Lord and been baptized and
most of her grandchildren.
Mom had many health problems and suffered for many years. She was in and out of the hospital and, in he
last months of her life, was bedridden. But she always had a smile and positive outlook as she endured her
infirmities patiently and waited on the Lord to take her home. We are comforted by the knowledge that she is
suffering no longer and is in the tender care of the Lord Jesus. We have confidence that those of us who belong
to the Lord will meet her again in Heaven where there is no sickness or suffering or parting by death.
To those children and grandchildren who have not yet been born again into the family of God through the Lord
Jesus, we say don’t wait until it is too late. Recognize that you are a sinner in need of a savior. Repent of your
sins and turn to the Lord for mercy, be born again. Then, follow in baptism to walk in newness of life. This is the
only way you have hope of seeing Mom and Dad in Heaven. “God so loved the world that He gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16
Written by her 3rd son, Jake Bailey.