Thelma Jean (Schubert) Bailey passed away peacefully at her home on May 10, 2011.
Thelma was born in Bristol, Conn., on Aug. 20, 1923, to Irving Theodore Schubert and Winona Shirley (Waterhouse) Schubert. She graduated from Morgan High School in Bristol in 1941. She was an accomplished musician, studying piano as a young woman, and switching to the organ as an adult.
Thelma entered the U.S. Navy in the Bronx, New York City, on Oct. 21, 1943. She was trained as a mailman in New York after completing boot camp. She was stationed in New York, California, Idaho and lastly Washington state at the Naval Hospital in Bremerton, where she met her future husband, Ivon. She attained the rank of MAM1 before leaving the service at the end of World War II. She and Ivon were married on Sept. 29, 1946, in Bremerton, Due to his military career, they were stationed at various naval facilities, mostly in California while Ivon was out to sea. They moved to Walla Walla in 1955, when Ivon was
stationed at the post office as the local Navy recruiter. They liked the area so well that it was an easy decision to remain in Walla Walla after Ivon retired from the Navy in 1957.
During her years in California, she was a victim of the polio epidemic and was hospitalized for a long period of time, paralyzed in an iron lung. Her strong will and excellent care during this illness allowed her to return to full health without any residual effects of
the disease. Thelma was a life member of the Alpha Beta chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha, and held many chapter and state offices. She also was a member of the Blue Mountain Organ club. She worked at Cassell
Studios and Brumback's House of Music, where her love of music was plainly evident to anyone who entered the stores. She would sit and play the many organs on display and enjoyed her time with both stores.
She loved to play so much that she played in the store's booth at the fair, as well as playing as a volunteer at the Senior Center and the Odd Fellows Convalescent Center. She enjoyed playing her own organ at
family gatherings, especially at Christmas, while the family sang carols to her accompaniment.
Thelma's will was put to the test several times during her life, although she remained fiercely independent overcoming back surgery and several strokes that robbed her of her ability to play her beloved organ music.
She was the eldest of four children, and was preceded in death by her parents; a sister, Barbara; and two brothers, Donald and Irving; by her son, Robin, in 1962; and her husband, Ivon, in 1980. She is survived by her daughters, Laura (John) Gallagher, Kathleen McIntosh; sons, Alan ( Nancy) Bailey, Ivon (Pam) Bailey; 11 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, with a tenth on the way.
A memorial funeral service for all who knew her will be held at the Herring Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder, at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 13, 2011. Immediately following the ceremony there will be a private inurnment with military honors held in the Veteran's Section of Mountain View Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude's Hospital for Children, the March of Dimes or Walla Walla Hospice, thru the Herring Funeal Home.
She will be missed by all who knew her, and her spirit will live on in her family.