Eleanora M. Bailey, 82, of Rockwell City passed away Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at Arlington Place of Pocahontas, Iowa.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Monday, February 10, 2020 at St. Paul’s Lutheran & Presbyterian Church, Rockwell City with Pastor James Hoover Mossman officiating. Burial will be at Rosehill Cemetery, Rockwell City. A visitation will be 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Sunday at Palmer-Swank Funeral Home, Rockwell City. Memorials may be left to the family’s discretion.
Eleanora Mae (Berner) Bailey was born on December 7, 1937, in Fort Dodge, Iowa, the eldest child of Elmer and Ella (Voss) Berner. Eleanora, age 82, died at Arlington Place, Pocahontas, Iowa, on February 4, 2020. She was baptized on December 26, 1937 by the Reverend William Zibell at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Rockwell City, where she later confirmed her faith. Eleanora grew up with her brother, Melvin, on the family farm southeast of Rockwell City, Iowa. She helped her mom gather eggs, hung around the horses as her dad got them ready to work in the fields, and loved riding her bicycle up and down their long lane. Eleanora went to school at a Logan township school through 8th grade, going into Rockwell City for high school, where she graduated in 1956.
During a visit to her friend’s home, Eleanora and Joyce’s older brother caught each other’s eye. After their first date to Fort Dodge to see a movie, she and LeRoy Bailey never looked back. They were married on January 26, 1958 by the Reverend Richard Kamper at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Rockwell City. Eleanora and LeRoy began farming, renting locally. Two daughters were born, Susan and Robin, and a son, Alan, who died shortly after birth. In 1966, LeRoy and Eleanora purchased their own farm, nestled next to Middle River in Madison County, southwest of Winterset, Iowa. Three sons joined the family: Larry, Richard, and Robert.
Her mother and grandmother taught Eleanora to sew when she was young, a skill she used nearly all her life. In addition to sewing all her family’s clothes, Eleanora became a professional tailor with her own shop at her home. A life-long reader and learner, Eleanora was a creative, talented, and determined woman who, when she put her mind to something, usually figured out a way to get it done. Eleanora loved animals, and the Bailey farm had a collection of cattle, hogs, goats, sheep, horses, rabbits, chickens, ducks, and geese, along with dogs, cats, and any other critters her kids adopted. Eleanora was a shepherd of both goats and sheep, with her dairy goats being especially precious. She was known for the quality animals she bred and showed, as well as for judging dairy goat shows throughout the Midwest. Eleanora kept a large garden, and this time of the year would have typically found her pouring over seed catalogs. Eleanora also worked with a variety of other companies and businesses, including Farmers & Merchant State Bank and Montross Pharmacy in Winterset, and the National Cash Register Company, Arline Textiles, and Kucheros Clothing, all in Des Moines. Eleanora had her own retail stores in Rockwell City and Fort Dodge. In her own home ‘Tailor Shop’ she designed and created many wedding and pageant dresses, as well doing repairs and alterations that were both simple and complex. She also made quilts and other home furnishings. If something needed to be sewn, she could do it.
Eleanora and LeRoy sold their Madison County farm in 1987, moving to Des Moines for several years before settling back into the Rockwell City area. They eventually bought the Frank and Johanna Berner farmstead and remodeled the house that Eleanora’s grandparents built.
Eleanora was active and served in her church homes, St. Paul Lutheran, in both Winterset and Rockwell City, volunteered as a Madison County 4-H leader, and participated in the neighborhood G.G.G. club and several camping clubs. She and LeRoy enjoyed traveling in their camper with their dogs on many trips near and far throughout the country. She enjoyed playing cards and other table games with family and friends.
Dementia began slowly taking away Eleanora’s short-term memories, abilities, and independence. LeRoy cared for her in their home for over ten years before Eleanora went to live in the memory care unit at Arlington Place, Pocahontas, in September of 2017. Although Eleanora had wonderful care there, she never stopped wanting to come home.
Eleanora is survived by her husband of 62 years, LeRoy Bailey, daughters Susan (Norman) Friedrich of West Union, IA, and Robin (Craig) Nordmoe of Mt. Vernon, Ohio; sons Larry Bailey of Ankeny, IA, and Richard Bailey of Mitchellville, IA; brother Melvin (Margaret) Berner of Rockwell City, IA; grandchildren Tristan Friedrich, Quentin Bailey, Benjamin Friedrich, Paul Nordmoe, Ethan Friedrich, Ellen Friedrich, Isaac Nordmoe, Jasmin Bailey, Cassandra Bailey, Jayden Bailey, and Joseph Bailey; step-grandchildren, great-grandchildren, sister-in-law Joyce (Ronald) Weiss of Rockwell City, IA, nieces, and nephews.
Eleanora was preceded in death by her parents, Elmer and Ella Berner; son, Alan Bailey; grandson, Peter Nordmoe; daughter-in-law, Jessie Woods; and step-granddaughter, Ashley Jacobs.
May God, the source of all mercy and comfort, graciously tend to all who mourn Eleanora’s death.