Esther Grain Bailey. an educator and long-time resident of Norfolk, Virginia died on July 19, 2020 at the age of 86. A native of Surry, Virginia, Esther was born on April 15, 1934 to Mildred Savage Grain and grew up on her grandparents” farm. She graduated from L. P. Jackson High School as valedictorian of the class of 1952. After earning an associates degree at the Norfolk Division of Virginia State College and graduating as valedictorian of her class, she continued her education at Virginia State College earning a Bachelor ‘s Degree. Her thirst for learning took her to New York University where she earned a Master’s Degree.
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She worked for many years as an educator at Norfolk State University, Hampton University, with Chesapeake Public Schools, and retired as a Senior Supervisor for Norfolk Public Schools. In 1961 she married the late James A. Bailey and they welcomed a beautiful daughter who was very dear to them.
She was an active member of First Baptist Church Bute Street. She was a spiritual woman who was involved in various church activities, including serving as church treasurer for two terms. She loved God and her life was a living example of what Christian love should be.
Esther still found time to work in the community through her membership in many organizations including, the Norfolk Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Member of the Virginia Beach Chapter of Cross-Country Clubs, Inc.; the Golden Dawn Garden Club, and the Women’s Faculty Club of the Norfolk Division of Virginia State College.
Esther was a dedicated mother first and foremost. She treasured her daughter and embraced whatever she wanted. Although she accomplished much in her career, she never forgot others, and “reached back” to help them get in college, stay in college, and become the best that they could become. Esther had a passion for learning, and she taught others to believe and achieve educational success. She loved her family and epitomized the character of a true servant leader. Her generosity was always evident as she never hesitated to take the lead on any project, to roll up her sleeves to become a caretaker for family members, to help someone with a college application process, or to use her personal funds to insure that many family reunions were memorable events.
She had a smiling personality that was contagious and made people around her very comfortable. She made friends everywhere she went. She exhibited a spirit of excellence in all that she did. She was a loving, caring person who will surely be missed by many.
She is survived by her loving daughter, Andrea N. Bailey,M.D.; stepgrandson, Jerry Christopher Dow, of Chesterfield, Virginia; her aunt, Ruby Smith of Newport News, Virginia and many cousins.
Her memory will live in our hearts forever!