LONG BEACH — Helen Bailey, 90, died Oct. 29, 2018, in Long Beach. Helen was born on Feb. 10, 1928, in Johnson, Minnesota to Carl and Amanda Rixe. When she was eight years old, she and her family moved to Salmon Creek, Washington. She received her grade school education at St. John’s Lutheran Parochial School, and then went on to Vancouver High School.
Upon completion of her schooling, Helen worked for Luepke Florist in Vancouver for three years. She carried that love of flowers with her her whole life, growing her own beautiful roses and gladly sharing them with her friends and neighbors. In her earlier years, her yard and flowers were the subject of much admiration.
She married Harvey Reese in Vancouver, Washington in February 1947, and later that year, they established their home in Long Beach, Washington. She and Harvey had four children together. Harvey Reese was a commercial fisherman by trade, and in 1956, lost his life to the sea. His fishing vessel, the Doris J, sank in a freak storm while on a tuna fishing trip.
In 1957, Helen married Alfred Bailey of Deep River, Washington. A daughter was born to them in 1958. Helen and Al had a new home built on their property in 1963. It was framed entirely with lumber that had washed ashore when two lumber barges broke apart in heavy seas off the coast of the Long Beach peninsula. Helen mused many, many times during her life that, “The ocean took my first husband, but it also gave me a new home.” Up until six months before her passing, she drove down the Long Beach approach every day to marvel at the beauty of the sea.
Helen starting working for the Ocean Beach School District in 1971, as a cook in the Hilltop School kitchen. A few years later, when the new high school was built, she was the Head Baker and was well known for her delicious cinnamon rolls.
After losing her husband, Al, to lung cancer in 1996, Helen did dog sitting, in her own home for a number of her friends. She had always had a soft spot in her heart for dogs, as she and Al had raised and loved numerous black Labradors over the years.
Helen enjoyed many hobbies throughout her long life. Bike rides, beach-combing, gardening, baking for her family; even bowling on two leagues into her early 80s! Sturgeon fishing was her favorite though, and countless happy memories were made fishing with family and friends on their boat, the Ada Lu.
Her passing has left such an enormous hole in our lives; but the love she gave us, and taught us to share, will see us through. Her favorite saying was, “Cast your bread upon the waters. It will come back to you.” It’s up to us now to continue her legacy of love and generosity. She was surrounded by her loving family, in her home, at the time of her passing.
Helen is survived by her children, Sheryl (Don) Pearson, Greg Reese (Gayle Terry), Charlene (Dan) Crumley, and Charlotte (Geoff) Anderson. Her surviving grandchildren include Kari Pearson (Ryan McVay), Kathy (Scott) Sumner, Katie (Todd) Becker, Andrea (Chris) Beneke, Ed (Tine) Reese, Jason (Jen) Reese, Krista (Guy) Smith, Jenny (Jay) Carnegie, Paul Murray, Brent (Cleopatra) Murray, Colin (Meagan) Terry, Brandon (Robin) Reese, Tyson (Bri) Crumley, Brenna (Dave) Peterson, Daniel Anderson (Janet Cosser), and John Anderson (Rachel Sklors); in addition to 22 cherished great-grandchildren, and numerous much-loved nieces and nephews. Nancy Meriwether, her dear friend of 66 years, also survives her.
She was preceded in death by one son, Ronald Reese, whom she lost to brain cancer in 1988. After losing Ron, she became very close with her nephew, Jim Hutchison, who was Ron’s cousin and closest friend. Jimmy had been a constant source of love and support to Helen until her passing.
Family, friends, and anyone whose life was touched by our mother is invited to a Celebration of Life Party to be held at Helen’s home at 2502 Washington Avenue North, Long Beach on Saturday, December 8, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Stop in for a snack and share a memory with us!
In lieu of flowers, our family asks that donations be made to His Supper Table Thrift Store at 911 Pacific Avenue, Long Beach.