Maribel Bailey was born April 4, 1913 to Arthur Eldridge Bailey and Minnie Mae Buckland/Yant in the small farming community of Ewan in Whitman County where her father worked driving a team of horses on various farms.
The family moved often and by the time she was seven they had moved to Spokane, Tacoma, then Everett and later Bellingham.
Mari’s siblings included Lorimer (George), Lorene Kelly (Shook), Lucile Reynolds and Donald.
A third brother, Leonard, died very young.
Mari was on the high school drill team at Harmony High outside Bellingham and took an active role in organizing social events for the local Modern Woodman chapter.
Her father was the manager of the Woodman baseball team and it was there where she met her future husband, a tall Irishman named Jimmy Sullivan, who played catcher for the team.
The courtship had to wait however because Mari’s father once again moved the family on to Hopewell where she attended Mt Baker high.
The school bus traveled 25 miles each way.
Within a few years the family moved back to Bellingham where Jimmy was in Business College.
She attended a dance with another boy but soon Jim cut in and they danced the night away together her date forgotten.
They married on January 26, 1931.
Jim joined the US Border Patrol and once again Mari moved frequently as his post changed, seven times in just five years including a stint at Marcus, WA as the Grand Coulee Dam was being built.
Marcus was intentionally abandoned and relocated and then flooded by the Army Corps of Engineers with backwaters from the dam.
Jim was by then a US Border Patrolman and assigned to various posts in Montana, Washington and Idaho.
The frequent moves continued until Mari became pregnant and moved back with her family to have their son Patrick who was born in 1935.
Soon Jim took a promotion with the US Immigration Service in Eastport Idaho where the family enjoyed fishing, hiking, hunting, bike riding and a good many friends.
Finally it was time to settle down in Spokane, the last move in 1942 where her son Pat attended North Central High School and later graduated with a Law degree from Gonzaga Law School eventually meeting and marrying his sweetheart Diane.
Horse racing became a family hobby which was the beginning of a very exciting life for Mari.
There were several horses that wore the ‘Triple S’ riding silks throughout the State of Washington, Arizona and California.
On April 19, 1972 Jim passed away.
This was the start of a whole new era in her life.
Forgotten were the horse races and she instead discovered volunteerism and spent even more time with Pat’s growing family.
There wasn’t anything she did not try.
The first was ‘Patterning’ which was working with disabled young people.
Then came ‘Meals on Wheels’ serving meals to the disadvantaged and elderly and lastly being a ‘Logan Reading Granny’ for first grade children at Logan Elementary School in Spokane.
She traveled extensively with friends and family including trips to Asia and Europe and took every opportunity to travel with Pat’s family to the Grand Canyon, Hawaii, Mexico and beyond.
Her zest for life was evident in her smile and laugh and constant presence in their lives.
She joined the Spokane Camera Club and began making movies, showing them to various organizations in the area.
She made a movie titled, ‘Renovation of the Carrousel and the Making of Riverfront Park’ which has been entered into the US Antique Carrousel Society Archives.
Later she began taking still photographs which were given many awards.
Some of her photographs were chosen to display in the City Hall of our Sister City of Nishinomiya, Japan.
In 1980, she was elected ‘Spokane’s Senior Citizen of the Year’ and rode in the Armed Forces Lilac Parade.
Soon great grandchildren began to arrive and she now has nine, five girls and four boys who were blessed to share her life with her for so many years.
In the past few years she has written several articles published in Nostalgia Magazine.
Mari’s Memberships included: National Active & Retired Federal Employees, Eastern Star, Logan School Reading Grannies, Audubon Methodist Church and Daughter of the American Revolution (She was their oldest living member).
It was not until very recently that Mari knew she was eligible to be in the DAR.
Her family had moved westward in the 1800s and their origins had been lost.
She learned through genealogical research that her family on both her father’s and mother’s side had been amongst the first families to arrive from England in the U.S.
The Bailey branch arrived in Maryland in 1671 which had many Revolutionary War veterans.
Another branch, the Buckland’s arrived in Massachusetts around 1625 and includes a great grand uncle who fired one of the first shots which injured an English Sea Captain, later to be known as the ‘Gaspee Raiders’ which eventually led to England declaring war on the Colonies.
Mari grew up not knowing her rich American history and just recently was accepted into the DAR in which she took great pride.
She is survived by her brother, Donald Bailey, Bellingham, WA; son and daughter-in-law: Patrick A. and Diane S. Sullivan, Spokane, WA; grandchildren: Kevin and Susan Sullivan, Issaquah, WA (Lauren and Alec), Kathleen Sullivan, Spokane, WA (Natalie and Stephanie Parrish), Colleen and Nick Volk, Issaquah, WA (Tyler, Jake and Nathan) and Meaghan Sullivan, Los Altos, CA (Annamarie and Erin Kelly).
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, January 5, 2013 at the Audubon Methodist Church, 3908 N Driscoll Blvd, at 11:00 am.
Interment Fairmount Memorial Park.
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