Evans Bailey

With a great deal of sadness and heartache, we hope to present an
accurate and heartfelt obituary of Elder Evans Bailey, who was a
remarkable father, husband and preacher of the Old Regular Baptist
gospel. In presenting an unfolding of his life, walks and works in
serving the Lord, we will draw from our numerous memories as well
as the use of Dad’s own writings and quotations.
He was one of seven children born to the late
John Willie and Phoebe (Fuller) Bailey. His brothers
and sisters were:
Willoughby, Basil, Edward, Nanny Ann Smith, Margaret
Jane Raines, Isa Mae Silcox, and Ida Mae Looney.
     All preceded him in death. Our Dad was born on April 4, 1913, near what is now the

Dickenson-Buchanan County line on the left side of Greenbrier Creek,
and passed away on October 3, 1992 at Buchanan General Hospital,
Grundy, Virginia. Dad never received an accurate date of his birth.
Some say he was older than his birth date indicated. He was orphaned
at an early age. First, his mother died when he was four years old,
and his father died a few years later. After this, his grandparents and
other family members reared him. He told of his hardships, which
included scarcity of clothing and shoes. Hard work and many chores
were a way of life for our Dad as he grew up. Also, he told us of
hiding in a haystack outside a church house, along with his brother,
Basil, so they could hear the preaching and singing. They did not
want to be seen because they “didn’t have church clothes,” and didn’t
want to go in their “hand-me-downs.” The haystack became their
refuge so they could hear the church services. These two little boys
later became preachers.
      On June 21, 1932, Evans (our Dad), and Altia Deel were married.
They were blessed with eleven children. All grew into adulthood
and have families of their own. One son, Willoughby, preceded
Dad in death. Daddy leaves his wife, Altia; five sons, Johnny, Hanford,
Everette, Arnold, and Leo; five daughters, Mable, Pansy, Pearley,
Donna, and Connie; and sixteen grandchildren and eight great-grand
      Daddy loved our mother and all his children, as we loved him.
He was proud of our accomplishments, as we were his. We feel one
of his greatest pleasures and satisfactions in life was witnessing several
of his children become Christians and be baptized.
      Coal mining played a major role in his life. He was a retired coal
miner, who had spent around 40 years in both working and operating
coal mines. Dad was also involved in various other endeavors to earn
a living. These included sawmills, timbering, general country stores,
farming, and livestock raising. He worked long, hard days and did
indeed follow the Biblical quote, which says, “Earn a living by the
sweat of your brows.”
      In 1945, Daddy became a member of the Pilgrim’s Home Church
at Prater, Virginia, and remained a faithful servant and contributor
for forty-seven years.
      We want to share with you Daddy’s experience of being saved,
as he has shared with us.
      The following is an excerpt in his exact words which was published
in a Circular Letter in the Minutes of the Mountain Liberty
Association in 1981:
      “I feel that thirty some years ago, the Lord saved my soul. Not
against my will, but when I desired to be saved with all my heart. I
knew I was lost unless God saved me, because I could not do it myself.
The sweetest day I have ever seen was when I felt the Lord
forgive me of all of my sins. I remember at the time I was loading
coal in the mine with Brother Marvin Hill. I remember wondering if
he was paying any attention to me. I do not know if he remembers it
or not but he said, “You are looking better.” I replied, “I feel better.
Praise the Lord.”
      Daddy was one of the original charter members of the Pilgrim’s
Home Church. He was instrumental in the construction of the first
wooden frame building of the Pilgrim’s Home Church. He helped
build the present day cinder block building at this site when the first
building needed to be torn down and replaced.
      We would like to also note, he helped with supporting, organizing,
and building of other Old Regular Baptist churches in various
other surrounding areas.
      Daddy served as the moderator of the Pilgrim’s Home Church, at
Prater, Virginia and later, when his health began to fail, he was named
the honorary moderator of the church. Also, he served as a modera70
tor, and later honorary assistant moderator, of the [original] Mountain
Liberty Association.
      Daddy was ordained to preach in 1947, and in keeping with the
practices of the Old Regular Baptist, he would travel to other churches
in his own community, as well as surrounding states, where he helped
deliver the messages of the Lord and comfort many in times of sorrow.
Daddy, and his brother, Elder Basil Bailey, traveled together on
many trips to preach the gospel in churches. They were brothers in
the flesh and spirit who maintained a close bond in life, and now are
together in the Heavenly paradise.
      Our Dad stood for the right things in life, and especially for following
the teachings of the Bible. As a result of his steadfast stand,
he suffered criticism and persecution from some who were not blessed
with full enlightenment. However, our Dad was endowed with humility
and forgiveness that was deeply engrained in his nature.
For years Dad was in declining health and had to be hospitalized
several times, but he continued attending church. In fact, he preached
the introductory sermon for the Mountain Liberty Association meeting
on September 6, 1992, at the Little Freedom Church. This was
his last sermon, and he delivered it while seated in a chair.
During the last month of his life, Daddy spent 22 days in the
hospital, and there he spoke with one of his daughters, Connie, concerning
his life. He spoke of many things of the past, but he particularly
wanted her to tell everyone, when his obituary was written, that
he had many struggles in serving the Lord. Prayer was a part of his
life, as he had prayed all his life for guidance, help and forgiveness.
We feel Daddy’s prayers were answered, and what he strived for
in life was to be an example for others in the redemption of souls,
which otherwise might have been lost.
      There is great sadness in the loss of our Dad. However, if we may
borrow a quote from a cousin who sums up our feelings quite adequately,
we would say: “Remember he will live on with you forever.
You will be quoting his sayings, thinking of his teachings, and
missing him.” So we are thankful for our memories of a father who
was firm in his faith to God.
      We will remember the words of wisdom that he gave us to live
by in order to reach the kingdom of Heaven.
We will remember how he ended some of his sermons by saying,
“Children, let’s learn to be good to each other and love one another is
my prayer.”
      Daddy spoke of riding a golden train to Heaven and going home.
We believe that he has achieved his greatest goal in life —A HOME

Written by his family.