Legacy of Grampa; Story Ideas

What I’m Up To

Dad has always wanted grandkids.  He looked forward to the day to teach them how to catch frogs, throw a baseball, spin them in a cardboard box (we actually did this as kids and we never laughed so hard!), take to Disney World, and do all the things a grampa wants to do.

Dad, my brother Mike, and I at Stan Hywett Gardens this recent summer of 2014.
Dad, my brother Mike, and I at Stan Hywett Gardens this recent summer of 2014.

It was devastating the day he was diagnosed with ALS, May 15, 2013.  Within months he couldn’t speak, use his arms, his legs, and was bound to a wheelchair.  Our family has been grieving, yet growing closer to the Lord all at the same time through this heartache.

I don’t know about you, when it comes to nearing the end of my life, I don’t want to be known for how I died; but to be known for how I lived. 

With that being said, we are accepting stories of Dad’s legacy of the life he has lived and is still living.  Although he can’t lift a finger, his faith moves more than mountains.  These stories and legacies will be illustrated in a children’s book for generations to come.   This is where we need your help.

My prayer is for him to be able to see the very pages of his own legacy.  To see how we all truly remember how he lived and how he loved.    From being known as the “Forklift” at the hospital, lifting all the heaviest patients.  The rattlesnake hunter as a teen, Elvis impersonations, weddings and graduation parties he provided music and was the emcee. From the times he sang on national television, at church, and at fairs.  The way he comforted the fearful before surgery. How do you know and remember Mike Bailey SR?

Someday the grandkids he has always wanted, will get to know him through his legacy.

 What legacy has he left with you?

It will be expensive to hire an illustrator, so we will choose the best 15 or 20 to show his grandkids someday.   Please share your stories and memories in the comments below for consideration of being illustrated in the book for generations to come!

We are thankful for you, thank you for loving our family as we trek and grieve this ugly disease…. but through a faith that has become even more beautiful to  us.

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The view of the eye-gazer Dad uses for us to communicate. It would be so sad to not have this!


The day he was diagnosed, his speech was already slurred and managed to speak the words, “God is fair, but life is not.”

This past weekend, he used his eye gazer where the gaze of his eyes can click one letter at a time and speak for him.  He said, 

“God is always fair, but life is not.  He wants us to trust him and not try to understand.”


20 thoughts on “Legacy of Grampa; Story Ideas

  1. Bill Reaser and us was talking about the corperate challenges and when he coach girls softball and talking kids to kraynaks

  2. Mike was a big part of my life as a little girl. My dad kinda lol he always joked because my brother and i are also Baileys and our father wasnt much of a daddy . He would tell mikey and dawn that they were going somewhere as a family and ALWAYS say to them you can invite kristan and josh .. we were always included and he treated us as his own. He took us skating ; sledding; movies; amusement parks and anywhere else they went as a “family” . I remember as a young girl him being an amazing role model to me and when i was over at their home many nights we had good times ! i remember sleeping over almost every weekend! Dawn and i would play with her turtles ; go to softball; church; all of the things all kids enjoy.
    As an adult i have to admit i have lost touch with this family more than i like ; but i know he is a very faithful and God loving man!!!! I firmly believe God is using his story and what is going on with him to reach others for Christ. I miss him right now and I want him to be remembered and known always for his love for family memories, accepting other children and taking them under his wing as his own and being a God loving faithful man ! and one more thing ….. Obviously i am not his wife lol; But i know because my mom and Danette were good friends that he is also what a husband should be !!!! A leader; a provider and ONE AMAZING DAD !!!!! 🙂 these are just a few things i will neve r forget BIG MIKE for !!!! I love you now and always ! ~ Kristan

  3. I have several memories of Mike and each are small but, illustrate how many ways he is capable of making you happy to know him. First and foremost, I remember what a wonderful father he is. He was always there for Mike Jr and Dawn and not only did he guide them ,he is their biggest cheerleader. Without being said , he is also a wonderful husband . He worked very hard and put in long hours so Dane the could fill a traditional role as a full time mom. I also was lucky enough to be taken care of by him at Robinson , the time he took to chat about the good old days went a long way in calming my nerves before an unpleasant surgery . My last memory I have was made not long before we moved. He Dj the coming home party for a Marine that served in the early days of Iraq. He made a introduction speech and played a musical selection that had all of us choked up. Mike may not be able to communicate in a traditional way but, I am sure there are many stories he has yet shared and are probably more inspirational than anything I could share .

  4. One thing I forgot to mention. My son Nick is an art major and if you like, I could put you in touch with him about illustrations . PM me on Facebook if you would like to speak to him

  5. It’s hard to find the words to say when it comes to Uncle Mike’s legacy. He is loved by everyone he knows. He’s a role model to so many. Including myself. He is a man who is constantly in viscous pursuit of being the best man he can be. He made everyone around him better. His reasoning wasn’t ever to gain personally, really, but to gain for God.

    When I think of Uncle Mike, I think of many fun times. Holidays, weekends, summers, Kraynak’s, sporting events…. you can bet he had a video camera nearby. As ornery adolescents, he was a force to be reckoned with. But no matter how much trouble we found ourselves in, in the end, we were forgiven. He always knew the importance of family. His infectious smile would light up the entire room. And he seemed to have a clever pun for every occasion.

    The man sure loved music, and surely loved to sing for Jesus. I had the pleasure of tagging along and watching him dj as a kid. These memories eventually inspired me to follow my own dreams and start a DJ/Entertainment business of my own. He continues to inspire so many.

    My fondest memory is of him spinning me in a cardboard box as a kid. I’m glad my daughter had the chance to be spun in a cardboard box 20 some years later by the same gentle giant.

    These thoughts have been small bits of how I will remember my uncle. I could literally write an entire book on the impression he made on my life and the importance of having him in it. I am thankful to be blessed enough to be his nephew.

  6. Mi Rancho car cruise ins, every Tuesday. My grandpa always enjoyed Mike’s music and trivia, and talking with him about it all…cars, trivia questions/answers, and music.

  7. While I do not know Mike well I do recall the first time I heard him sing at Portage Community Chapel. He had the voice of an angel. I greatly enjoyed hearing him sing as I attended and became a member. The example of Christian living I have witnessed from him, his family and the congregation is a true testament to Angels here on earth. May their story continue to provide light where there is darkness and honor our God.

  8. My favorite memory of Mike was working the A&W Cruise Nights. He was the music man and I worked as a carhop. He entertained us each Wednesday and made that crazy night worth working. He was so kind to everyone and made it look so easy.

  9. When I first started DJing over 10 years ago, he gave us advise and even burned some CD’s for us. My wife Tracy worked at Robinson and Mike was so helpful asking how we were doing with the business and even send some business my way. Thank you Mike and god bless you and your family.

  10. God gave Mike the gift of love and music. Something I feel we have in common. I feel so blessed and honored to have been able to sing, worship and praise along side Mike upon coming to Portage Community Chapel. We sang many songs together, but my favorite was “We Cry Out”. Being granted the honor and ability to harmonize along side of Mike for this song on several occasions, will always be my biggest memory of our time together. From the first note, on the first run of this song, it is still one of my favorite songs till this day.

  11. I started at the hospital and was leary of this tall man, but then I got to know him. Very friendly outgoing man. He did a few of ourclass reunions and did a fantastic job. When I heard of his getting ALS I was devastated. My Mother -in-law had it. All I could do was say a prayer and I have continued to do so. Was glad he made it to his 30 years dinner last year. We love you Mike.

  12. When I joined Portage Community Chapel, it was for my kids, and I wondered if I would break a long drought of having a friend at church. Before long, I met Mike Bailey and we seemed to have a lot in common. I have been fortunate enough to be blessed with Mike’s friendship. Mike has been gifted by God in music, sports, helping in church, humor and wit … so many areas. Mike just quietly lives his faith (and sometimes not so quietly when God prompts, and that’s good too 🙂 Unfortunately, he has been plagued by this fallen world. We will never be able to understand it fully on this earth, but we can be thankful for Mike’s example that he relies on the Lord and trusts Him. God has equipped Mike to touch so many lives, and he is truly a good and faithful servant.

  13. I met Mike Bailey a long long time ago when I was about 17. He was a bit older. We both worked here and there for a family by the last name of Carlson. They made beautiful flowers or Weddings, grew plants in a greenhouse and did auctions at a local store called Ensinger’s. If you were from this area, then you know the place I am talking about. Him and I were scheduled to work an auction. I met this huge guy who was kind of quiet , but nice…..we spent the day together working an auction and were kept pretty busy. All I remember is that he could type very fast, write fast and had an amazing memory of who bought what, where and when and how much. I was stunned…..I didn’t see him for awhile, but now and then, he would be around the corner near Ensinger’s and was a real sweet guy. I thought he rented an apartment there, but I might be wrong. Later, I had a friend named Mary Christopher who worked at Robinson memorial Hospital. She mentioned a co worker who was a good friend of hers. She mentioned his name and it rang a bell. I have been along time friend of his sisters Michele and Carmen. I called Carmen and asked if she had a brother named Mike. She laughed and ….”yes !!! why ? You know him ? ” I recited my few memories and had a quick laugh…yes, he typed VERY fast and wrote even faster and yes….he was very creative, artistic and loved history…….She said he was nearly as smart as her…..lol. She was kidding…..It was a nice afternoon and a nicer visit…….I was pleased to hear he found his gem of a wife and had a couple great children…..He has an amazing life of of family and friends and enough memories to last for a long, long time……My typing is/was dismal, my writing illegible and I can’t draw a pencil……so I didn’t have a lot to share with our convo’s. His family loves him silly and I have run into so very many people who has popped up all over that he knows…..so I would say…..he has had a smashing success of a life, a wonderful family who adores him and plenty of people who are proud to call him their friend. Mike is right, we do not know why God has given us the challenges that he does…….all we can do is just live with what is given to us…..Mike has beena inspiration to many people and has faced disappointment with as much dignity as I have ever seen…….May God bless you all…….

  14. Being transported to surgery , was always a scary time, but a gentle giant of a man would talk with you and ease your mind, that man Mike Bailey. I thank him for those times he will never know how often he made someone facing a procedure feel at ease. You felt the faith and strength from him . I also saw the love and pride he had for his children in their endeavors, Dawn and my daughter played Soccer together. What a supportive father watching and cheering Mike hitting em out of the park and Dawn running, hurdling and kicking soccer balls. The love between Danette and him , their laughter and joy was always apparent. You are all a blessing to many … Keep the faith, love and family 🙂

  15. Growing up as Mikes sister. Oh what fun that was. I remember being embarrassed sometimes when my friends were over and all you could hear through the whole house was Mike singing! He would spend hours reading comic books and then sharing them with me. I find myself knowing the words to songs I never bought a record for because I heard mike sing them so much. He has loved trivia since he was a boy. He would drill things in my head like the capital of every state in the USA. He could make me laugh so hard I couldn’t breathe by joking or tickling me! He would then laugh so hard at the way I sounded when I laughed! He has loved GODS since a child, so eager to learn about all faiths and beliefs, he would go to different bible study groups to see the differences. Always wanting and needing to learn as much as he could. On a lighter note, the winters in Manchester living across from Nimisila reservoir and Mike and I would ice skate around that entire lake! How many of you knew he could also ice skate, and quite well??! He would love to hear me whine by slicing open dead fish frozen in the lake for me to see as I was always behind a few yards!
    He loved to mix his words up to make people laugh!! He loved making people laugh!! In his younger days he had the neighborhood kids believing he could fly. The only catch was that he could only do this when no one was around. They were all in wonder of him! And we still are!!!

  16. I remember him being a calm and patient softball coach to us girls. What i remember the most is how he and your Mom treated all of us kids. My parents weren’t at a lot of the sporting events growing up but your dad and your Mom where always cheering us all on. Always congratulating us on a good job. Always supporting us like we were one of the family. his legacy is how loving and caring and compassionate of man he is to everyone. Both of your parents touched my heart.

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