Long-Time educator, Man High School’s ‘Miss Everything’
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Dorothy L. Bailey, a retired Man High School English teacher highly regarded as a strict grammarian and praised for her gracious style and sense of fashion, died recently after a brief illness. She was 90.
Mrs. Bailey taught at the school, located in Man, for 39 years. She lived out her retirement years in Huntington with her son, Chuck G. Bailey, a professor in the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Marshall University. She is the widow of Charles Bernard Bailey, the former proprietor of Bailey Trucking Co., Inc.
Mrs. Bailey is remembered as the consummate colleague and as an outstanding English teacher.
John R. “Pete” Arnold, dean emeritus of the University of South Carolina’s Lancaster campus, was assistant principal at Man during part of Mrs. Bailey’s tenure there. Arnold said, “Mrs. Dorothy Bailey was ‘Miss Everything’ at Man High School. As a teacher, she exemplified all the qualities we look for and praise: She was highly professional, very intelligent, and absolutely devoted to her students. She was — and is— an inspiration.”
George T. Arnold, professor emeritus at Marshall’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications and author of one of the nation’s leading textbooks on grammar, “Media Writer’s Handbook: A Guide to Common Writing and Editing Problems,” remembered meeting her after her retirement and move to Huntington. “In addition to being a delightful person and very good company,” George Arnold, Pete’s brother, said, “She was one of only a handful of people who loved talking about grammar as much as I do. Over the years, she sent insightful examples and expert advice to me through Chuck when both of us were teaching JMC 100, the language skills course. She was a legendary teacher who made — and continues to make — a real difference in the lives of generations of former students.”
Condolences from Mrs. Bailey’s former students also highlighted her teaching in laudatory terms. One of them, George Bodnar, wrote, “They will be dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s in heaven!” Bodnar recalled receiving an A-plus grade on an English 101 term paper at Marshall and having the professor say “’Let me guess who you had for English in high school. Mrs. Bailey at MHS.’”
Bailey said his sister Patti Mae Jordan, now a clinical pharmacist in Memphis, Tenn., had a similar experience at Marshall when she made A’s in classes taught by a tough English professor most students tried to avoid. Regarding her grades, the professor reportedly said, “No one ever did that.”
Bailey, who inherited his mother’s appreciation of language and is famous at Marshall for hand-written, 10-page critiques of student papers, also remembered his mother as a great teacher who expected him to earn his grades. He had three years of English composition under his mother and received B’s all three years. However, he said his sister received all A’s in their mother’s classes.
Mrs. Bailey was known as a fashion maven, too. She loved shopping, dragging her son along and influencing his appreciation of nice clothes. She accumulated a large wardrobe under the watchful eyes of students. Admirers thought she never wore the same outfit twice.
Born Dorothy Lucille Morefield Nov. 5, 1922, in Bristol, Va., she was the only child of Ira and Ida Mae Morefield. She graduated from Logan High School, in West Virginia, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, in secondary education at Marshall College. She had wanted to become a brain surgeon, but her parents, coming out of the Great Depression, were concerned they could not afford the cost of medical school. She also considered nursing as a career, but they thought its cost of training also would be prohibitive. She became a teacher, instead. Later, she was thrilled both of her children earned doctoral degrees.
After college, Mrs. Bailey took a job in 1944 at Washington High School, located in Washington, N.C., where she taught and coached the Pam-Pack women’s basketball team for three years, taking the team to a state tournament before its heart-breaking elimination by one point in 1946-1947. She remained an avid sports fan and was a fixture at Marshall sporting events during her residence in Huntington, a block from the campus.
She met her future husband, Charles, while she was teaching in North Carolina and he was serving in the U.S. Army Air Force in Florida. They were married in Tampa, Fla., and she returned to North Carolina and continued teaching while he was in the service. She took the job in Man, W. Va., in 1947 and remained there until her retirement in 1986. She taught English and served as dean of girls and librarian during her years at Man.
Mr. Bailey died in 1980. They are survived by their two children, Chuck and Patti.
The family does not plan a memorial service, but in Mrs. Bailey’s memory friends may send donations to one of the following: Bruce McDonald Memorial United Methodist Church, 104 E. McDonald Ave., Man, WV 25635-1020, phone 304-583-9743; or Charles G. Bailey Scholarship Endowment, Account No. 300248, Marshall University Foundation, 519 John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25703, phone (304) 696-6264.