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Local retired judge John Bailey dies

Thursday, September 20, 2012

CAPE GIRARDEAU -- Judge John Ragan Bailey, retired, passed away Sept. 17, 2012, in Cape Girardeau.

Born Sept. 14, 1915, in Sikeston, to the late U.S. Rep. Ralph E. Bailey and Agnes Williams Bailey, he spent most of his life in Portageville.

A graduate of Sikeston High School, Judge Bailey attended Southeast Missouri State Teachers College (now Southeast Missouri State University) at Cape Girardeau and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta. He also graduated from the University Of Missouri School Of Law and was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1940. In 1941, Judge Bailey accepted employment with E.B. Gee and remained associated with Gee Farming and E.B. Gee Cotton and Grain Co., Inc. through the 1980s.

In 1961, he was appointed probate judge of New Madrid County and retained that position until 1975 when he took the duties of the Magistrate Court and served as probate and ex-officio magistrate judge. In 1979, he became associate circuit judge of New Madrid County. He went on to serve as circuit judge for Pemiscot and New Madrid counties until his retirement in 1987.

Judge Bailey was a member of the American Bar Association, the American Judicature Society, the Missouri Bar, the Missouri Association of Probate and Associate Circuit Judges and the Missouri Association of Municipal and Associate Circuit Judges. He was a member of the Arkansas-Missouri Cotton Ginners Association and served as its president in 1977. He was the Missouri member of the National Cotton Board from 1974-1980 and the Missouri alternate member from 1981-1983. He was a member of the Advisory Board to the University of Missouri Delta Center for 12 years and served as secretary/treasurer of the old Missouri Cotton Producers Association.

During his time in Portageville, Judge Bailey served three terms as a member of the Portageville School Board. He was a member of the Portageville United Methodist Church and served as chairman of its board of trustees and was a long-time member of the Portageville Rotary Club, serving two terms as its president. He was also a member of the Portageville Chamber of Commerce.

Since moving to Cape Girardeau in 2003, Judge and Mrs. Bailey were members of First Presbyterian Church.

His wife, Virginia Vinyard Bailey, preceded him in death July 8, 2012.

He is survived by: three daughters, Barbara Bailey Bradford of St. Louis, Marcia Bailey Planchon of Germantown, Tenn., and Rebecca Bailey Betz of Cape Girardeau; and seven grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held from 1:30 p.m. until time of services at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Ford and Sons Mt. Auburn Funeral Home in Cape Girardeau.

Burial will be at the Cape County Memorial Park in Cape Girardeau. Online condolences may be made at www.fordandsonsfuneralhome.com.

Paid obituary