Mary Baker Lee Bailey died peacefully at age 88 on July 9, 2020. She was born in Amarillo, Texas August 3, 1931. Her parents were John Collier Baker and John Samuel Harper Baker (Sammie).
She and her sister, Anna, had fond memories of summers at the family cabin in Bear Canyon near Raton, New Mexico. Mary was graduated from Amarillo High School and attended Texas Tech, where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority. During a break from school she traveled to visit her uncle in Marion Junction, Alabama, where she met and later married Manly Parks Lee of the nearby Hamburg community. The family developed lasting and cherished friendships with dear Hamburg and Marion neighbors.
There were difficult times, including the tragic loss of a daughter. Mary completed her college degree at Judson College in Marion while employed there as a librarian. She then moved to Tuscaloosa, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Library Science at the University of Alabama. She was hired by EBSCO Industries and moved to Birmingham.
She married Preston Bailey in 1982, and they lived in Atmore and Monroeville where many more friends and memories were made playing bridge and traveling with other lady golfers to tournaments around the state. She was a talented seamstress, cook, organizer, and an exceptionally wise mentor and role model. Her family affectionately remembers many carefully organized Thanksgiving trips to Gulf Shores and Big Canoe.
Mary’s love of travel and the American West inspired her to take each of her grandchildren on a summer trip through New Mexico and Colorado. Her grandchildren always looked forward to attending “Camp GrandMary” where the rules were strict, but golf, tennis, swimming, cooking and fun were the priorities. Mary moved to Wesley Woods in Newnan, Georgia in 2012, where her humor, wit, and enthusiasm for bridge endeared her to all.
Mary is predeceased by her daughter, Mary Whitfield Lee, and husbands, Manly Parks Lee and Preston S. Bailey, and her sister, Anna Baker May. She is survived by her son, Manly Parks Lee, Jr. (Ann) of Birmingham and a daughter, Sammie Ann Lee Clark (Mike) of Fayetteville, Georgia, and her grandchildren, Mary Margaret Lee Surdo (Chris) of Houston, Texas, Elizabeth Rankin Lee Beck (Charles) of Charlotte, North Carolina, Rebecca Tutwiler Lee Hassee (Scott) of Franklin, Tennessee, Baker Parks Lee of Tampa, Florida, Anna Lane Clark Friel (Justin) of Marietta, Georgia, Suzanne Whitfield Clark Ward (John) of Chickamauga, Georgia, and Catherine Lee Clark of Atlanta, Georgia, and her great grandchildren, Peter, Meg, Rebecca, and Ellen Surdo, Charlie, Thomas, James, and Dotson Beck, Daniel and Nora Grace Hassee, and Joanna, Mary, Charles, and Andrew Friel.
The family is grateful for the loving caretakers at Wesley Woods. A private family service conducted by Rev. Dan Thornton will be held in memory of Mary at the Marion Cemetery. The family asks that any donations in Mary’s memory be made to the Mary Whitfield Lee Endowed Scholarship Fund, Judson College, 302 Bibb Street, Marion, AL 36756.