Byron Keith Bailey of Superior, Mont, departed this world on Sept. 2, 2018, in the loving presence of his family.
He was born on the multigenerational family farm in Elmo, Mo., on Feb. 27, 1930. He was the son of B.H. and Pearl Bailey.
Byron is survived by his wife, Annette (Maggy) Bailey of Superior; sister, Barbara (David) Butler of Burlington Junction, Mo.; four daughters, Elizabeth Bailey of Sacramento, Calif., Suzanne (Jeff) Rosen of Frederick, Md., Holli (John) Hopkins of Superior, and Heidi (Jim) Amari of Florence; seven grandchildren, Hannah Elder, Sarah Hopkins, Katherine Hopkins, Sophia Etier, Alexander Etier, Blake Rosen and Taylor Rosen; two great-grandchildren, Olivia Elder and Samuel Elder; plus three nephews, Ronald Bailey, Kyle Jones and Kim Jones; and one niece, Kristine Barclay. Preceeding Byron in death was brother, Raymond Bailey; sister, Nadine Bailey; and sister-in-law, Jane Twaddle.
Byron graduated from Elmo High School in 1948. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1949 and served for seven years; three in active duty which included two during the Korean War as Sgt. Bailey. Following his service to his country, Byron used the G.I. Bill to receive his undergraduate degree from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo. He taught mathematics at the high school in Coin, Iowa, for three years.
At this time, he was scouted and chosen by Western Electric to attend Lincoln Labs at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., and the University of Wisconsin (Madison) where he achieved an advanced degree in computer science, making him a pioneer in that fledging field. After his stint with Western Electric, where he served clients nationwide, Byron was recruited by IBM. Over the next 25 years, he became the IBM account executive for the U.S. Army worldwide. Byron enjoyed sparring with generals as he colored the Army blue with IBM products, earning him the title of “Mr. Blue.”
Upon retirement from IBM, Byron was employed by Boeing to help establish “Boeing Computer Services,” a division of Boeing that brought their computer systems in competition for outside contracts. Under his leadership, Boeing won RCAS (“Reserve Components Automated Systems”) a $2.5 billion contract. At this point in his life, Byron “retired” only to join his wife’s company, Kairos and Associates Inc., becoming an invaluable adviser until its sale in 2007.
Byron was a kind and generous man. Those traits served him well throughout his life. He was very involved with his children’s athletics, including being the admired (and feared!) coach of the Reston Devil’s Girls’ Softball Team, leading them to several league championships. Byron enjoyed sports, particularly tennis, and being a boisterous fan of the Washington Redskins. He enjoyed theater, music, fine dining and was a connoisseur of Chardonnay. He loved celebrating holidays, especially St. Patrick’s Day. Byron was a natural on the dance floor so much so that he and Maggy entered the occasional dance competition. Together they loved to travel, particularly to Europe and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Although Byron was a world traveler, he never forgot his Missouri farm roots. Byron’s wit, sense of humor and love of a good prank stayed with him until the very end. Beloved “Mister Near Perfect,” you are greatly missed!
The family is hosting a Celebration of Life event to honor Byron on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 1 p.m. at the Community Building in Elmo, Mo. All friends and acquaintances are invited to join us. Later there will be a military service at graveside at the Possum Walk Cemetery. Please consider the Elmo Community Betterment Club, c/o Brooke Kinsella, 15286 Catalina Road, Elmo, MO 64445, or the Alzheimer’s Association at 225 N. Michigan Ave., Floor 17, Chicago, IL 60601 for your donations in memory of Byron.