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Rev. Robert L. Bailey

June 25, 1929 September 30, 2019
Rev. Robert L.  Bailey
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Obituary for Rev. Robert L. Bailey

Through the grace and mercy of Almighty God, Reverend Robert L. Bailey was born June 25, 1929, to the late Louise Love and Coleman Bailey. A proud native son of the state of South Carolina, he was a resident of the City of Lancaster. He answered God’s call from labor to reward on September 30, 2019.

Reverend Bailey matriculated through the Rock Hill, South Carolina public school system and went on to major in mechanical engineering at South Carolina Tech. Reverend Bailey moved to the Harrisburg/Steelton, Pennsylvania area and began his working career at Bethlehem Steel. He also became an entrepreneur, establishing Bailey’s Maintenance, Inc., and B & S Carpeting Company, serving both commercial and residential clients in the Central Pennsylvania area.

Reverend Bailey’s life’s motto and goal was to do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with God. It was this motivation that led to his breaking down barriers and through glass ceilings in many different spiritual and secular communities. He became the first Black salesperson for General Motors – Chevrolet Division – in the tri-state area where he was trained in marketing, finance and sales. He was later commissioned by the tri-county Commission of OEO (Office of Economic Opportunity Development), where he served as business manager, regional director and the urban coordinator for the tri-county area.
At the request of Harrisburg General Hospital and the surrounding community, he joined the staff in the Administrative Office for Ambulatory Healthcare Training. Recognizing the disparities in health care for people of color and people living in or near poverty, he would go on to develop the community-based Hamilton Healthcare Corporation. This ultimately led to his becoming the founder and Executive Director of the Hamilton Healthcare Center, Inc. He was also a former Vice Chairman of the National Healthcare Association.

Reverend Bailey joined Monumental A.M.E. Church, at Second and Adams Street, Steelton, Pennsylvania in 1952. It was here where his lifelong commitment to Christ and to His Church would begin to develop what would be more than 50 years of ministerial service; first serving as a Sunday School teacher, as well as the Superintendent. For a number of years, he carried the largest senior class in the Harrisburg Area. It has been noted that in 1954, under his leadership, 17 persons from the class confessed Christ on a Sunday morning. He received his calling to the ministry under Pastor Gabriel S. Hardeman and was later assigned leadership as an exhorter to St. Paul A.M.E. Church, Oberlin, Pennsylvania, by Bishop George W. Baber, as an intern student in religious training. Upon completion of further studies and service, he was ordained a Deacon and transferred to Bethel, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, under Bishop John D. Bright.
Reverend Bailey continued his educational studies and in 1960 was ordained as an Itinerate Elder in the A.M.E. Philadelphia Annual Conference. In addition to St. Paul, Oberlin and Bethel, Carlisle, he has successfully served as Pastor of the following charges: Bethany, Harrisburg; St. James, Chambersburg and Bethel, York all in Pennsylvania; Agape, Buffalo, New York; Carter Community, Jamaica, Long Island, New York; and Metropolitan, Harlem, New York. In 2001, he was assigned by Bishop Donald George Ming as Presiding Elder of the Harrisburg District of the A.M.E. Philadelphia Annual Conference.

Reverend Bailey took great pride in ministerial fellowships of which he was a member and, many times, a founder. He was the former President of the A.M.E. Ministerial Alliance of New York, has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the New York Annual Conference, and served as a member of the Ministerial Interfaith Association of New York. He was also a member of the New York Pan Methodist Fellowship. He was the former President of the York County Council of Churches (serving 350 congregations) and was a member of the Pennsylvania State Council of Churches. Reverend Bailey was the president of the Black Ministerial Alliance (BMA) of Cumberland and York Counties, Pennsylvania and was the founder of the Black Ministers Association (BMA) in York, Pennsylvania. He also was the vice-president on Race Relations for the tri-county area. "It was these ecumenical settings where Reverend Bailey excelled in matters of racial reconciliation, converging around theological and intellectual evidence for just such the notion. Upon moving to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he served as the President of the NAACP and worked toward economic development particularly for people of color."

As an avid learner and one who loved the God of his salvation, Reverend Bailey advanced his theological education at the Philadelphia School of the Bible Institute of Religious Training, Temple University for Urban Ministry, the New York School of Urban Ministry and Development, and the Gettysburg-Lutheran Theological Seminary. He would also attend the Wharton School of Business and Finance and the Harrisburg University School of Business and Community Development. He is also an honorary alumnus of Morris Brown College and Wilberforce University. He received an honorary Doctorate degree from Monrovia College, Monrovia Liberia, West Africa, 16th Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church. He was also honored by the Allen University Alumni of Harlem, New York in 1999.

Reverend Bailey was a proud Master Mason, of Mt. Horeb Lodge #14 Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Syrine Lodge #16 IBPOEOW, and Boy Scout Troop #207 where he served as a camping advisor for the Keystone area. He was also awarded the “Galilee” Fisherman of the Tri-County Pennsylvania area for his evangelistic endeavors and successes for the Kingdom of God.

Reverend Bailey enjoyed spending time with his family and will be remembered for the time he took to teach his family about where they came from and the prayer that is necessary to lead and guide them in all that they do. In addition to his parents, Reverend Bailey was predeceased by his brothers Israel Bailey, James Bailey, and William Seigle, sister Emma Hughes, his daughter Sabrina Allen, son Robert Keith Bailey, and by his mother and father-in-law Leonard and Josephine Palmer.
Reverend Bailey leaves to cherish his memory his loving wife of 32 years, Vanessa Ann (Palmer) Bailey and children Edrina Whittaker, Steelton, Pennsylvania; Tynette Palmer, York Pennsylvania; TaWanda Stallworth (Christopher), Middletown, Pennsylvania; grandchildren Michael Whittaker, LaVon Whittaker, Sr, Gabriel Allen, and Michael Holley, Jr; great-grandchildren LaVon Jr and Amaya Whittaker, four sisters-in-law, four brothers-in-law, and a host of nieces, nephews, spiritual sons and daughters, friends, students and colleagues.

May the Work that he has done, speak for him.


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Wednesday

9

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6:00 PM 10/9/2019 6:00:00 PM - 8:00 PM 10/9/2019 8:00:00 PM
Bethel AME Church

356 W. Princess St.
York, PA 17401

York PA

Bethel AME Church
356 W. Princess St. York 17401 PA
United States

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Thursday

10

Oct

9:00 AM 10/10/2019 9:00:00 AM - 11:00 AM 10/10/2019 11:00:00 AM
Bethel A.M.E. Church

1721 N. 5th St.
Harrisburg, PA 17102

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Bethel A.M.E. Church
1721 N. 5th St. Harrisburg 17102 PA
United States

Celebration of Life

Thursday

10

Oct

11:00 AM 10/10/2019 11:00:00 AM
Bethel A.M.E. Church

1721 N. 5th St.
Harrisburg, PA 17102

Harrisburg, PA

Bethel A.M.E. Church
1721 N. 5th St. Harrisburg 17102 PA
United States

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Friday

11

Oct

10:30 AM 10/11/2019 10:30:00 AM
Susquehanna Memorial Gardens

250 Chestnut Hill Road
York, PA 17402

Susquehanna Memorial Gardens
250 Chestnut Hill Road York 17402 PA
United States

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Susquehanna Memorial Gardens Final Resting Place

250 Chestnut Hill Road
York, PA 17402

250 Chestnut Hill Road York 17402 PA
United States
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