Spring ISD is mourning the loss of former trustee and campus namesake Rickey Charles Bailey (1946-2021), who died on June 24.
First elected to the Spring ISD Board of Trustees in 1983, Bailey went on to be reelected four times and to serve 15 years on the school board. He was later honored by the district as the namesake of Bailey Middle School, which first welcomed students to campus in August 2006. Bailey remained an active supporter of the district, also going on to serve as a board member and board president for the Spring ISD Education Foundation.
“Rick Bailey was a stalwart member of the Spring community for nearly 50 years, and he never stopped giving back to the community and its residents, especially the young people,” said Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson. “Our hearts go out to his family, and we would just add, from everyone here in Spring ISD, our thanks and gratitude on behalf of all those whose lives he touched over the years.”
After teaching and coaching for two years in Houston ISD after graduating from college, Bailey left the classroom and entered a career in sales and marketing, but he never lost his love for teaching, coaching and working with young people to help them achieve their best. After he and his young family moved from south Houston to Spring in 1973, Bailey began coaching through Spring Baptist Church, where he founded a youth basketball league that continues to serve area children and families to this day.
“Education was always important to him,” said Bailey’s eldest son, Ty Bailey, who works as a dyslexia services coordinator for Spring ISD. “From his Christian faith, he wanted to be a good steward within the community, and he wanted to create a legacy for his kids and grandkids. So he tried to put things in place the best way he could – from a dad’s standpoint or a granddad’s standpoint – that would not just benefit his family, but also benefit the community family.”
In addition to his work with Spring ISD, Bailey was also a committed alumnus of Houston Baptist University (HBU), where he played basketball and earned his bachelor’s degree, graduating in 1969. Bailey served on the university’s board of trustees from 1993 to 2002 and from 2003 to 2012, including a stint as the board’s chairman. In recognition of his personal and professional accomplishments, his ongoing service and longtime community involvement, and his work on behalf of the university’s mission, HBU awarded him its prestigious Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1995, followed by its Meritorious Service Alumnus Award in 1999.
Bailey’s commitment to education lasted throughout his entire life. In more recent years, he had also served as president of the board of trustees of Spring Baptist Academy, a private Christian elementary and middle school and ministry of Spring Baptist Church, where Bailey also served as a deacon, Sunday school teacher, and mentor to many children and young adults over the years.
“I can tell you this: There are very few men who contributed as much to our community as Rick Bailey did in so many ways,” said Bailey’s fellow district namesake and foundation board member, Gloria Marshall, who got to know Bailey’s children well during her own years as a teacher and principal in Spring ISD.
“He was just one of the most selfless and giving men I have ever known,” said Marshall, who recalled Bailey’s impressive ability to remain a strong, consistent presence in his children’s lives while balancing a successful professional career and regularly giving back to the community.
“People were just amazed by his ability to do all that, and always with a smile on his face,” said Marshall.
Bailey and his wife, Avie, met and married while the two were both still in college at HBU. Ty Bailey said it was love at first sight for his father, from the moment he spotted his future wife, then Avie Croom, across a courtyard on the HBU campus. After they were married, Rick and Avie Bailey went on to raise three children together – Ty, Spring and Ryan. All three attended school in Spring ISD, where Bailey was already a parent volunteer and booster club member before being elected to the school board in 1982.
“Everything he did – and everything he and I did as a couple – was with our children and for our children,” said Avie Bailey. “People would ask us what our hobby was, and he would always say, ‘It’s my children.’ Whatever they were doing, he was involved in, he was interested in, and he was supportive of them.”
That desire to support their children’s success, she said, led her husband into greater levels of involvement in the community, including his prayerful decision to run for the school board.
“He was passionate about children being able to succeed,” she said. “That’s what he felt the Lord had called him to do. In his mind, he was being an obedient servant to the Lord Jesus Christ by serving in the community, just being a beacon of light and a beacon of hope. His whole walk of life was to champion others, that’s what he wanted to do.”
Although his health had declined in recent years, limiting his ability to stay as active in the community, Bailey continued to rejoice in spending time with his growing family. In addition to his wife and their three children, Bailey is survived by seven grandchildren – Blake, Tyler, Bailey, Riley, Bryce, Brooklyn and Blythe – as well as three great-grandchildren – Peyton, Kenneth and Piper.
Memorial services will be held on Thursday, July 1 at Spring Baptist Church, at 633 E. Louetta Rd. Visitation is scheduled for 10 a.m., with the funeral service beginning at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to the Rickey Bailey HBU Scholarship Fund, in care of Spring Baptist Church.