Cover photo for JoAnn "Joanie"  Bailey's Obituary
JoAnn "Joanie"  Bailey Profile Photo
1949 JoAnn 2024

JoAnn "Joanie" Bailey

February 12, 1949 — May 9, 2024

A funeral service for JoAnn (Joanie) Irene Bailey, 75, of Wahpeton will be held Monday, May 20, 2024 at 10:30 AM at Turner Jenness Funeral Home in Milford with burial at Riverside Cemetery in Spencer. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be given to Upper Des Moines Opportunity of Dickinson County or the Humane Society of Northwest Iowa.

Joanie passed away Thursday, May 9, 2024 at her home on Lake Okoboji, surrounded by her loving family, following a long and courageous battle with dementia.

JoAnn Irene (Chadima) Bailey was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on February 12, 1949 to Wayne and Barbara Chadima.  Joanie was raised in Iowa City, along with younger siblings, Kathy and John, in a loving home.  In 1967, she graduated from City High School in Iowa City.  That fall, Joanie enrolled in the University of Iowa, where she soon met her future husband, a geology major from Clarion, Iowa, in the geology library at Calvin Hall.  The two love birds were engaged two and a half years later, sitting at the same table in the geology library where they first met, and then on August 29, 1970, Joanie married George Bryan Bailey in St. Mary’s Church in Iowa City.  She liked to tell people that married life seemed to agree with her, as she got straight A’s her senior year at Iowa, graduating with a BA in English education and literature in 1971.

Joanie immediately put her new credentials to work teaching high school English at a summer school session in Midland, Texas, where Bryan had a summer job. In the fall of 1971, teaching jobs were hard to find in the San Francisco Bay Area, when Bryan started his graduate studies at Stanford.  As a result, Joanie first became a teller at a bank in Palo Alto, which got robbed her first day on the job!  Happily, for most of their stay in California, Joanie found a job nicely aligned with her education, working for Houghton Mifflin Company, publishers of school books. Joanie also found time to type Bryan’s 300-page dissertation three times on an electric typewriter!

After relocating to Salt Lake City for Bryan’s first fulltime job, Joanie taught high school English before becoming a fulltime homemaker and stay-at-home mom.  In 1977, she gave birth to their first son, Chad.  Their second son, Jonathan, was born in Sioux Falls in 1979, following a job-related move, and Joanie settled into a fulfilling life raising two active boys and providing her family a loving home in Brandon, South Dakota.  Perhaps more than anything, Joanie loved being a mom, and she gave tirelessly of herself in support of her boys’ many activities and interests, whether it be scouting, sports, school, or church.  She also was very active in supporting her church, helping out in the church office, teaching Sunday School and summer Bible School, and she organized Risen Savior’s annual church bazaar.  During this time, Joanie also received an unusual and very special recognition.  In 1983, Joanie traveled to China as a guest of the Chinese government as a show of their appreciation for the sincere welcome, cordialness, and respect she had shown their scientists in helping Bryan host a Chinese scientific delegation a year earlier.

Following the death of Bryan’s parents in the early 90’s, the family moved into the Bailey home on Miller’s Bay.  Joanie enjoyed re-decorating the house-on-the-lake and putting in special touches to make it her family’s home.  She also continued her role of being a supportive mom to her two boys in their many activities until they graduated from high school.  Initially, Joanie struggled a bit with the “empty nest.”  She liked that she was able to travel more with Bryan in his work, but something was missing.  She found that something when she and Bryan purchased the Curves for Women franchise in Spirit Lake in 2002, and within a year Joanie had doubled the membership and really made it into “a happening.”   Most importantly, through her enthusiasm, compassion, and empathy Joanie helped a lot of women feel a lot better about themselves.  Via their annual food drive, Joanie and her Curves members contributed more than 2,000 pounds of food each year to the Upper Des Moines Opportunity (UMDO) food pantry in Spirit Lake.  In 2005, Joanie was recognized by UMDO as an Outstanding Community Service Volunteer for her efforts in addressing hunger in Dickinson County.

In 2006, both sons now married, Bailey grandchildren began arriving on the scene, and Joanie decided it was time to move on from Curves, so she could spend more time doting on those little bundles of joy, and that’s exactly what she did.  She and Bryan travelled countless times to Minnesota and North Carolina to spend as much time as possible hanging out with their grandkids.  Joanie especially loved watching their games, meets, plays, concerts, and recitals, and she really enjoyed baking cookies with the girls and playing catch with the boys.  But what she loved most was when they came to visit Grandma and Grandpa at the Lake where there was “Bailey Hall….A Dormitory Like No Other,” with a stuffed toy doggie for each grandchild: Bella, Buster, Barney, Bonnie, and Bixby.  Also, there was Grandma’s kitchen, where no mess was too big.  Joanie loved being a mom, but perhaps even more, she loved being Grandma Bailey.

During this time, Joanie also really enjoyed travelling with Bryan, both before and after his retirement, and they travelled the globe together.  Joanie used to love to say, “I married Bryan, and he showed me the world.”  She especially loved their trips to Paris, Rome, Prague, and Australia, and she was thrilled by the elephants, lions, and giraffes in South Africa, but her favorite travel destination of all was right here in the USA.  On their very first date in fall of 1967, Joanie and Bryan saw the movie Hawaii.

Little did they know then what incredible meaning Hawaii would come to hold in both their hearts.  Over the years, they spent countless fun and romantic times together during many trips that took them to all the Islands of Hawaii.

Joanie’s last trip to Hawaii was with her entire family during New Years, 2016, and what a blessing that was.  She had just recently been diagnosed with the dementia that ultimately would take her life, but she had a truly good time on that trip, and she created endearing memories for each one of her family that will last forever.  Over the next three years, she would make trips to visit her kids and grandkids, but each one became a little more challenging for her.  By the end of 2019, and especially with the onset of COVID, Joanie stayed pretty close to home.  She was buoyed by visits from her family, and she battled her devastating disease with incredible determination and courage, but ultimately, she would lose that battle.  The greatest blessing of all, perhaps, was that she was able to make her long and difficult journey entirely at home, with Bryan constantly by her side, and with the abiding love and support of all her family.

Joanie cared about others with a sincere sense of compassion, and she loved her family deeply, as she was deeply loved by them. Joanie truly was a sweetheart, if ever there was one, and she will be missed so very much by her family and friends, especially by her adoring husband, Bryan; her son Chad and his partner, Dana; her son Jonathan and her daughter-in-law, Angela; and her grandchildren Ella, Ethan, Makayla, Colin, and Parker.  Joanie was preceded in death by her parents, Wayne and Barbara Chadima; her parents-in-law, Ray and Maxine Bailey; her brother and sister, John and Kathy Chadima, and her brother-in-law, Theron Bailey.
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