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David Bailey | Musician leaves legacy of living life to fullest page 3
Performer who sang about living life to the fullest dies in Charlottesville

 Former Stafford County resident David Bailey (right), with his children Kelcey and Cameron, died Oct. 2 after battling brain cancer for 14 years.
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Date published: 10/11/2010


But for Leslie, her husband's most important message was found in another song title, "Live the Time."

"That was really our family's mantra," she said.

They made time for family vacations, when they turned off the TV, the phone and the computer and just enjoyed each other's company.

Bailey was often touring, but when he was home he was completely focused on his wife and children, Leslie said.

In 2002, the family moved to Charlottesville after 12 years in Stafford.

After a while, Leslie began to think Bailey had beaten cancer.

"He told me once that he always expected it to return," she said. "I don't know that it was a shadow over him, but it was always in the back of his mind."

And in November 2008, after Bailey returned from a European tour, he got dizzy, forgot words and couldn't find his pitch.

He knew the cancer had returned.


Through more brain surgeries and treatments, Bailey kept writing songs and performing. When his head grew tender from the treatments, he traded in the tie-dye bandanas for hats Leslie knitted out of soft yarn.

"You'd think, 'Golly, how many times can this thing keep going?'" said Rhyne, who had been the Baileys' pastor at Summit Presbyterian Church in North Stafford. "But he didn't let it get him down. It wasn't about David, it was about something far bigger than him."

Bailey recorded a CD with Holcombe a few months ago. Over the years, the producer and singer rarely talked about cancer. This time, Bailey could barely walk or move his hand.

Within weeks, Holcombe would visit Bailey in a hospice home.

"His human spirit was that he never looked at it like an end game, he always looked at it like he was going to bounce back," Holcombe said.

They talked about music, and Bailey joked about his situation.

Spotsylvania resident and longtime friend Beth Skewis also visited Bailey in hospice.

"He still had a wicked sense of humor," she said.

On Oct. 2, Bailey died. He was 44.

"We got 11 years we weren't supposed to have," Leslie said. "That's a gift."

Amy Flowers Umble: 540/735-1973
Email: aumble@freelancestar.com

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David Bailey's family and friends will hold a memorial service and concert Oct. 19 at Meadows Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville. The memorial will feature performances by Bailey's son, Cameron, and close friend Donny Holcombe. Bailey's daughter, Kelcey, suggests guests wear tie-dye.

David M. Bailey was born in Beirut to Kenneth and Ethel Bailey, Presbyterian missionaries. He attended Grove City College, where he met his wife, Leslie, while touring with the choir. David worked with computers, then became a professional musician. He is survived by his wife and two children, Kelcey, a college freshman, and Cameron, a high school junior. He has recorded 23 albums, but efforts are under way to create a final CD of songs Bailey recorded in the past year. For details on Bailey's work, visit davidmbailey.com.

--Amy Flowers Umble