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Ernest Lyons Bailey

August 6, 1949 October 8, 2020
Ernest  Lyons Bailey
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Obituary for Ernest Lyons Bailey

Ernest Lyons Bailey III, or Ernie as he was affectionately known by his family and friends, was known and loved by many for his poetic soul, strong heart and intellect. After a long struggle with cancer, he was called to eternal rest on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020.

Mr. Bailey was born to Theresa Bernadette Scott and Ernest Lyons Bailey, Jr. on August 6, 1949 in Philadelphia, PA. He was the oldest of five children and raised in Germantown. He attended Philadelphia Catholic Schools and graduated from Roman Catholic High School in 1967.

Following his high school graduation, Mr. Bailey spent the next few years traveling throughout California. When he returned to Philadelphia, Mr. Bailey began his professional career as a dedicated English teacher to special needs children at Good Shepherd Services. Over the next decade, he worked as a psychiatric social worker with the Northwest Center for Mental Health, and was the Director of the Youth Empowerment Program and the Southwest Germantown Community Development Corporation.
In 1987, he started work as a Specialist and Supervisor with the JFK Community Mental Health Center Mobile Psychiatric team, one of the first mobile psychiatric teams in the country.
While studying at Temple University, he met Debra Crosby of Richmond, VA. In February 1992, they gave birth to Novari Montese Bailey, and continued to co-parent until Debra’s untimely passing following a battle with breast cancer.

He later met Karen Lockett Douglass and they were married in May 1996. The union joined Karen’s children, Kyle and Elisse with Novari, and created the blended Douglass Bailey family. They were lovingly raised in suburban Wyncote, PA.
For the remainder of his career, Mr. Bailey worked as a Special Education Mediator and Program Manager for school-based services at PMHCC. He continued part time with the JFK Mobile Team, until his retirement in 2012 as a result of major medical issues.

Mr. Bailey endured a long and hard medical battle, but he never cowered in the face of adversity and he never gave up. He fought continuously and unwaveringly. He was able to be present for numerous special occasions and created memories that he otherwise may not have had.
Mr. Bailey spent his remaining years doing what he loved most: being the rock for his family and community, and reading and writing. He was a dedicated member of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, serving on the vestry as the accounting and rector’s warden. He was also a member of the property committee and served on the Board of Friends.

Mr. Bailey was surrounded by love until the very end by those who knew him, loved him, and above all, respected him. He gave his all to the lives of everyone he touched. The memory of Ernie, also nicknamed Fern, Big Shamu, Mr. B, Black Yoda, Tio, Poppa B, and Pops will live on in the hearts of many.

He is survived by Karen, his wife of 24 years; children Kyle Douglass and wife Alison; Elisse Douglass; and Novari Montese Bailey; grandson Jalen Matthew and expected grandson Lennox-Cree Lyons; nieces Danielle Cavener; Lauren and Sarah Lockett; and nephew Stephen Cavener and wife Alicia.


A Celebration of Life service will take place on Friday, Oct. 16 at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 7808 Old York Rd., Elkins Park, PA. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to St. James Episcopal School, 3217 W. Clearfield St., Philadelphia.

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