Buddy Bailey, 81

Pioneer Alaskan Albert W. "Buddy" Bailey, 81, died April 30, 2005, at Providence Alaska Medical Center.

A celebration of life will be in late June.

Mr. Bailey was born Jan. 17, 1924, in Anchorage and raised on Government Hill. He was a true Alaskan; his grandparents came to Hope during Gold Rush days. His parents moved to Texas but returned to Seward in 1918. There they had two boys. Later they moved to Anchorage, where they had three boys and one daughter.

Just before World War II, Mr. Bailey moved to California, where he finished high school and enlisted in the Coast Guard.

His family wrote: "After the war, the call of the wild brought him back to Anchorage. He retired from the Alaska Railroad as an engineer after 29 years of service.

"He built his own home and boat, and loved to help friends fix, remodel or build anything. He was very generous with his talents; his garage was the gathering place for all of his friends.

"After his retirement, he and the 'Tracy R' spent the summers in Whittier and on Prince William Sound. He liked to rendezvous with his boating friends in some snug little cove. He taught himself celestial navigation and studied everything under the sun.

"Albert had a terrific sense of humor and the women loved him. He never talked, he yelled -- must have been all the years spent on the railroad. He was a gift and will be missed."

Mr. Bailey is survived by his children, Susan, Scott and Alison; grandchildren, Tony, Tracy, Cole, Kacie and Megan; great-grandchildren, Megan, Todd and Kaitlyn; brothers, Bob and Bill; sister, Lucille; and many other relatives and friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Disabled American Veterans, DAV Memorial Program, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301. Visit www.dav.org for more information.

Arrangements are with Alaska Cremation Center.


Albert Bailey links found on this site:

A personal note from John: "Although I hadn't known Albert for very long, I warmed up to him very fast. He was very personable, had an incredibly sharp memory and a playful sense of humor. My only regret is that I didn't get to know him sooner. Gosh, I am really going to miss him."

From Keri Bailey-Gregerich (Albert Bailey's niece)

Dear John,

I wanted to let you know that your website is great and truly appreciated.

I also wished to thank you for the memories. My uncle Buddy or Uncle Pockets as I used to call him was a remarkable human being and touched the lives of all who knew him.

The first time I came to Alaska was in August of 1959 I was 4 years old. I came to stay with Uncle Pockets, cuzin Sue and Gramma Mattie Bailey. I remember Uncle being gone a lot and Gramma telling me he drove trains. Being four years old that sounded like the most exciting thing in world to me.

You may wonder how I came to call him Uncle Pockets? He always wore his Bibs (overalls) which seemed to have pockets everywhere and those pockets held all kinds of interesting things not least of all the ever present can of chew but also it seemed that whenever he came home from a run those infamous pockets held silver dollars and he would give one to me. When I went home to Seattle December 23rd 1959 I told my sisters that the Alaska Railroad paid everyone in silver and gold just like in the cowboy days. I thought Uncle Buddy was rich cause he had real silver money.

Did you know that Buddy's dad (Ira) and members of their mothers family (Matheson) helped build the Alaska Railroad and that after Grandpa died Gramma Bailey went to the Colonel and suggested that the railroad and its passengers would benefit from having a hostess type person help them, etc. Well as the story goes the Colonel told Mrs. Mattie Bailey indeed it sounded like a good idea and he hired her to be the first hostess on the Alaska Railroad! Now this may be just Bailey family myth, but I have heard variations of this story all my life.

The family is having a celebration of Albert Bailey's life in Late June in Anchorage and it would be nice if any one that has some funny railroad stories involving Albert Bailey would share them. Perhaps they can be posted on the remembrance page. I know the family would enjoy and treasure them.


Keri Bailey