Iris R. (Alexander) Bailey, 94

Iris Bailey

BATH — Iris “Peggy” R. (Alexander) Bailey, 94, passed away on Sunday, March 3, 2019.

Born on July 8, 1925, Peggy was the youngest of eight children of Izetta Rose (Hanson) Alexander and Daniel Alexander in Vanceboro. Both parents were 1879 Maine-born at Loon Bay in Dyer Township and at Linneus, respectively. Peggy’s father was a farmer and a train station yard conductor for the Maine Central Railroad at its terminus in Vanceboro on the U.S.-Canada border. Her mother was a homemaker, midwife, and farmer, right alongside her husband.

When Peggy was about seven, her dad transferred to the Pittsfield rail station and they settled into a farmhouse just outside town. She and several siblings attended local schools including Maine Central Institute. Peggy described life then as always busy, with the younger children still at home and the older children returning, often with families in tow. There were farm animals and vegetable gardens to tend and hay to mow. Adding to the mix, train crews awaiting a turnaround often would be fed and given overnight accommodations.
According to family lore, in 1941 a young marine and his buddy came to the farm to visit Peggy’s older sister Avis. The marine, Linwood C. “Bill” Bailey, saw Peggy at an upstairs bedroom window and vowed he would marry that beautiful girl. He did. During their 60-plus years of marriage, each time Bill told that story Peggy rolled her eyes.

Peggy soon learned the true meaning of the phrase, “Marine Corps Wife — Toughest Job in the Corps.” Bill’s deployments during WWII and Korea and extended training maneuvers often placed Peggy in the role of single parent — another job she did so well. There were frequent reassignments to military bases up and down the east coast, but the 18th century farmhouse in North Saco was always the homeport. After military retirement, Peggy and Bill sold their Saco home and lived in several wonderful locations where they made many good friends including Barrington, N.H., and Bethel, Robbinston, Harrison, Somerville and Brunswick. Peggy later moved to Georgetown and finally to Bath, where she has lived with her daughter and son-in-law for nearly four years.

Once the kids were mostly grown, Peggy decided to work full-time and was a CNA at hospitals in Rumford, Bridgton, Calais and Augusta for over 30 years and well into her 70s. Not bad for a woman who, before then, fainted at the sight of blood.

Family was everything for Peggy and she was the glue that kept it together. The shy young girl from Vanceboro became the strong, resilient, can-do and hands-on woman, wife, and mother. In addition to her family and friends, Peggy loved animals of all kinds and they were always part of family life. Most recently, there has been Bonni, her beloved Westy who, like the rest of us, will miss Peggy very much. Peggy also was an avid gardener, indoors and out.

Predeceasing her was husband Bill; oldest child, Robert; her seven Alexander siblings, Glennie, Guy, Evelyn, Lois, Bob, Carl and Avis; and her niece.

Surviving family members include son, Richard Bailey; daughters, Jeanne Bailey McGowan and Karen Bailey; three grandsons; and many beloved nieces and nephews and their families.

This spring Peggy will be buried next to Bill at the Maine Veterans Cemetery in Augusta.

Arrangements are by Daigle Funeral Home, 819 High Street, Bath. Condolences may be made online at

Those who wish to honor her life might do so with a donation to Midcoast Maine Humane Society, 30 Range Rd., Brunswick, ME 04011or the Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 942, Augusta, ME 04332.

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