Catherine Bailey was a loving, spirited, and adventurous sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Catherine shared her early life with her beloved parents Milton and Sophie Borkowski and siblings Milton and Barbara (Gunther) as well as a large extended family in the Baltimore area. Shortly after her high school graduation she married Ralph Bailey who predeceased her in 2007. Together, they began their life’s journey by moving to Detroit, Michigan where they lived for nearly 40 years. Catherine and Ralph retired to Florida, living in New Smyrna Beach and Leesburg. They were married for 55 years.
In 2019 Catherine moved to the Charleston, South Carolina area surrounded by family who had moved nearby.
Catherine is lovingly remembered by her children - Kenneth Bailey (Marcy), Michael Bailey (Betty), Donna Gniewek (Ken), Ronald Bailey (Julie), Mary Kay Smith (Jim) and Virginia “Ginny” Black (Randy). In addition, she was blessed with 13 grandchildren: Kehr, Stephen, Shannon, Elizabeth, Laura, Christine, Christopher, Megan, Alison, Erin, Kathleen, Audrey and Paige, as well as five great grandchildren Payton, Landon, Piper, Alice and Olivia.
Catherine treasured all genres of music but was especially fond of traditional New Orleans jazz; frequently traveling to multi-day concerts. She enjoyed musical theater as well as all manner of performance art - especially Disney and Cirque du Soleil productions. For many years she shared her impressive vocal talent with others as a member of choral groups including Sweet Adelines. Her love of music extended to dancing with Ralph as well as vocal and dance performances with groups in the communities that she lived in.
She was a forward thinker and developed a keen interest in learning about alternative medicine and natural remedies; many of which she integrated into her daily life. In addition, Catherine also practiced yoga multiple days a week up until the week before she passed.
Catherine learned to play Bridge early on which sparked her lifelong interest in multiple card and board games. In retirement, she became a card and domino “shark”, taking on any and all comers up to six days a week with up to 25 cents on the line. Catherine’s interest in high stakes betting extended to playing penny and even quarter slot machines whenever a casino might be part of a trip.
She and Ralph enjoyed domestic and international travel as evidenced by their interest in nine timeshares. The Friendship Force program afforded an opportunity for them to stay with local residents and better appreciate the culture of the many international locations they visited. Catherine embraced the thrill of going on multi-day/week road trips with her children, visiting new towns, enjoying local food and of course singing along with all types of music on the car radio - who knew our mother was so familiar with the lyrics to many Rolling Stones and Beatles songs?
Catherine’s adventurous spirit extended to her professional life. In the late 1960s she took on part time jobs to “keep busy” and leveraged her skills as a wife and mother into a long term career in family businesses across the food, advertising /marketing and real estate industries in both sales and administrative roles. No matter the challenge, Catherine had a reputation as a people person, problem solver and organizer in a career that lasted into her late seventies.
Catherine’s generosity with love, time and resources set an example for her family. She volunteered within many organizations including a 20 year affiliation with the Girl Scouts, multiple hospitals in the communities that she lived in, and the New Smyrna Beach Chamber of Commerce. She was always ready to lend a helping hand to professional associations including the American Business and Oceanside Women’s Clubs and the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority as well as multiple civic events.
Catherine was devoted to her family; she understood and appreciated their unique personalities and was at her best when surrounded by them. Family gatherings were always her priority and she participated actively including a reunion with the immediate family just two months prior to her passing.
Catherine led a full and rewarding life; leaving family and friends with love and and many great memories - she will be missed and never forgotten. She supported several charities in the greater Charleston area to help those in need. You are welcome to show your support and continue her efforts by making a donation in her honor to either Low Country Habitat for Humanity www.lowcountryhabitat.org or Low County Food Bank www.lowcountryfoodbank.org
A family celebration of Catherine’s life is being planned for March 2nd in the Charleston area. A memorial message may be sent to the family on our website at www.jhenrystuhr.com.