Bailey, Miles Hugh
Miles Hugh Bailey, 90, departed this world suddenly on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, at the family farm. Memorial service will be Saturday, Feb. 9, at Old Brick, 26 East Market St., in Iowa City at 11 a.m. Visitation will be held on Friday, Feb. 8, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Lensing Funeral Home, 605 Kirkwood Ave., Iowa City.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to The First Responders Hills Fire Department and Cedar County First Responders.
Although Grampa, the metaphorical hearth of the family around which we gathered to warm our feet, has left a gaping hole, his feisty spirit expired in his element: outdoors, under the big blue Iowa sky, and in the loving arms of his eldest daughter, Margaret. His death coincides with an anniversary of the loss of his youngest daughter, Pam, family jokester and mystic, all of which this clan of skeptics find both comforting and humbling.
Miles was born March 18, 1922, in Moscow, Iowa, to Helen (Hubbard) and Alvin T. Bailey. He grew up in West Liberty, where his father worked as a steam mechanic for the railroad. Thus began his lifelong love for all things mechanical. Miles graduated from West Liberty High School in 1940, worked shortly in the Detroit auto industry, then enlisted in the Unites States Army in 1943. True to his adventurous nature, he served as a paratrooper and mechanic on the European front during World War II. On June 25, 1947, Miles married Lila M. Lenz from Lone Tree. For six decades, they made a home, raised their children, and co-raised grandchildren in Hills.
Miles has been a prolific engineer, mechanic, and community steward. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.S. in electrical engineering in 1972. He worked in engineering for Measurement Research Center and the University of Iowa Physics Department. Over the years he owned and operated P&M Garage and Hills Garage, and worked as a machinist. He has also served on the Hills City Council, Hills Fire & Rescue, drove for the Veterans Affairs patient transport service, and has served as volunteer family mechanic for generations of automobiles and their young drivers.
Miles will always be remembered as a shy guy with an endearing impish smile, a deep love for his family, and an inquisitive mind on the topics of physics, astronomy, engineering, and mechanics. He loved to tinker, and we fondly remember his projects over the years building or rebuilding biplanes, canoes, bicycles, vintage trucks and motorcycles, steam engines, and other amazing feats in his workshop. He was also an independent spirit, he often crisscrossed Eastern Iowa on his Moto Guzzi motorcycle to visit family and friends well into his 80s (much to Grandma’s chagrin). He loved the freedom of the great outdoors, and never declined an opportunity to go camping, hiking, motorcycling, or canoeing.
Our Grampa was bright, humble, a softy, and a true free spirit. He was not only a father and grandfather — he was our hero, a source of family pride. May you be forever free, Grampa, we carry your spirit and legacy on in our hearts.
He is survived and dearly loved by his wife of 65 years, Lila; daughter, Margaret A. Bailey (Dan P. Miller) of rural West Branch; and daughter, Barbara L. Bailey, of Iowa City. He also lives on in his doting grandchildren, Jody, Zoe, Sam, Clara, Lucy, Nathan and Silas.
He was preceded in death by his parents; younger brother, Tom F. Bailey (Ionia, Mich.); daughter, Pam; and several cherished pets.
Online condolences may be directed to www.lensingfuneral.com
Published Feb. 7, 2013 in The Gazette