Wilson Joseph Bailey

Wilson Joseph Bailey, a Morgan City native and longtime resident of Patterson, passed away peacefully at the age of 99 in the early morning hours of Tuesday, June 2, 2020, at his home.
Wilson was born on March 26, 1921 on a houseboat at Persimmon Pass just off Lake Palourde in St. Mary Parish and was the second of five children born to Rudolph and Aurelia Bailey. At a young age his father moved their family to Patterson. Times were definitely hard in those days, and children often began working at an early age to help their family. Wilson was no exception. Whether it was picking sticks out of moss at age 8, working with his father during trapping season, working in a syrup mill and delivering groceries in his teens, or working as a deckhand on a shrimp boat once he was old enough, Wilson knew the value of hard work.
At age 19, Wilson would marry his childhood sweetheart, Gertrude Stinson, and the two were blessed with two children. In 1944, shortly after the birth of their second child, Wilson was drafted into the United States Army and served during World War II in Germany under General Patton’s command. He was honorably discharged in December of 1945 and return to his family.
After his time in the war, Wilson went to work on a seismograph boat in the Gulf of Mexico until returning to work on a shrimp boat. In 1947 he purchased his own shrimp boat, The Bounty, and went to work for himself, eventually following the shrimp crops to South Texas. But Patterson would eventually call him home, returning in 1952 when he sold his boat. Following several various jobs he went on to work as a boat captain taking surveyors out in the Gulf. In 1964 he went into a joint business venture with an associate and started their own company, Survey Boats, which would turn into a 22 year career. In 1986, at the age of 65 he retired and began traveling the country with his wife until her passing in 2001. Wilson would once again find love and married Betty Jean Britton Russ, who was widowed as well. Together, they enjoyed years of happy times, going dancing, listening to his favorite music, and spending time with their blended families.
Those he leaves to cherish his memory include his wife of 17 years, Betty Jean Russ Bailey; son, Earl Bailey and his wife Rose of Patterson; daughter, Audrey B. Guidry of Houma; step-sons, Dennis Russ and his wife Sheila and Joseph Russ and his wife Sharon; grandchildren, Daniel Guidry, Kevin Guidry, Darrin Guidry, Christopher Bailey, Mary Miller, Joseph Russ Jr., Nicholas Russ, Chandler Russ, and Sunny Russ McDaniel; 13 great grandchildren; and sister-in-law, Yvonne Bailey.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Gertrude Stinson Bailey; his parents, Rudolph Joseph Bailey and Aurelia Vining Bailey; son-in-law, Leon S. Guidry; siblings, Irma Fabre, Henry Bailey, Joseph Bailey, and Nolton “PT” Bailey; and great granddaughters, Brittany Guidry and Abby Miller.
Funeral services will be held Friday, June 5, 2020, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Patterson during an 11:00 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial. Following the Mass, he will be laid to rest in the St. Joseph Cemetery Mausoleum. Father Angelo Cremaldi will officiate the Mass and conduct the services. Serving as pallbearers will be Daniel Guidry, Kevin Guidry, Darrin Guidry, Christopher Bailey, Joseph Russ Jr., and Nicholas Russ. A gathering of family and friends will be held Thursday, June 4, 2020, from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at Ibert’s Mortuary in Patterson, with the Holy Rosary being prayed at 7:00 p.m.
Due to the current restrictions concerning limited sized gatherings, current guidelines will only allow for up to 65 family members and friends to be in Ibert’s Mortuary at a time for the visitation, and 150 in attendance at St. Joseph Catholic Church for the funeral.
Family and friends may view the obituary online by visiting and are encouraged to share their condolences, cherished memories, love, and support for the family.

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