Willard Gene Bailey


Lt. Col. Willard Gene Bailey, Ret.

Lt. Col. Willard Gene Bailey passed away Wednesday, February 14, 2001, at his mother’s home in Magna from complications of cancer.

He was born December 23, 1936, in Salt Lake City, Utah; the oldest child of Chester Roderick and Jennie Goddard Bailey.

He lived in Hawaii the past 25 years, but was raised in Hunter and Garfield, Utah, graduating from Cyprus High School in 1954. He then joined the U.S. Army and worked very hard to attain the rank of Lt. Col. He was proud to have served his country for two tours in Vietnam as a commander and helicopter pilot. He was highly decorated for his meritorious service with the Silver Star, Bronze Star, three Distinguished Flying Cross, forty-four air medals, Legion of Merit, Commendation Medal with Valor, two Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and two Purple Hearts. There were also many more unit and service medal awards that give indication of his honor and commitment to his country and fellow servicemen. He retired December 1979. He treasured the time that was spent with his army buddies at their reunions, and he was looking forward to the reunion this May in Columbus, MO, as they were going to honor his company, the 114th Aviation.

Gene was married to Joy Turpin in December 1956, they had four children and were later divorced. He married Elaine Kyes in August 1968. They had two children and later divorced.

Gene was a member of the LDS Church, many golfing associations, and a lifelong member of the Magna VFW Post 7398. He loved his family, children, and grandchildren, and enjoyed golfing, all sports, crossword puzzles, traveling, planting and watching his garden grow, and tending to his flowers and yard.

Gene is survived by his mother, Jennie; special companion and sweetheart, Lynn Milner and her daughter, Christine, in Hawaii; children: Tonya, Troy (Renee), Torie (Bart Golder), Trent, Stacy (Buddy Niheu), and Erik Chester; twelve grandchildren, Ryan, Trever, Taren, Tayler, Felicia, Tayla, Kyle, Dustin, Lance, Kainalu, Nohea, Denise, and Kekoa Eugene (to be born soon); brother, Bill Bailey; sisters, Sherrie (Paul) Christison and Joan (Dick) Pearce: sister-in-law, Kathleen Bailey; many nieces and nephews; lifelong friend, Bill Hardy; and others too numerous to mention.

He was preceded in death by his father; brothers, David and Johnny; and brother-in-law, Buck Christison.

A funeral was held on Saturday, February 17, 2001. Burial was in the Valley View Memorial Park.

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