Ella Martha Bailey

Ella Martha Bailey

Houston, Harris County, Texas, USA
Death 26 Aug 1953 (aged 88)
Tripoli, Ṭarābulus, Libya
Burial Millsboro, Sussex County, Delaware, USA
Plot Section C, Site 1439
Memorial ID 70332916 · View Source
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Ella Martha Bailey was born in Houston, Texas, on December 18, 1864. While she was an infant, the family moved to San Diego County, California, and settled on a ranch. She was stricken with infantile paralysis at the age of two and one of her limbs remained paralyzed. As a child, she developed a fondness for the outdoors and learned, despite her physical handicap, to ride horseback expertly. Her desire to serve mankind became apparent in her youth. She chose to enter the teaching profession not because of the rather meager financial reward attached to it but by reason of the manifold opportunities it afforded for child guidance. After graduating from normal school in southern California, Miss Bailey moved to Berkeley and began her career as a teacher. She taught various elementary grades and was deeply loved by her pupils who continued to remember her as the decades passed. When she retired in 1924 because of ill health, the principal of McKinley School wrote her a note of gratitude and appreciation for her services and her example. "I cannot close this letter," he wrote, "without telling you again what a precious thing your friendship has been to me and will con Photographs taken in her youth attest to her beauty and winsomeness. She deliberately decided to forego the pleasures and rewards of marriage in order to give greater service to a larger number of people than a family group comprises. The immortal Lua Getsinger instructed Miss Bailey in the Baha'i teachings. Miss Bailey was one of the "waiting servants" who embraced the Faith prior to the American visit of 'Abdu'l-Baha. As The wonderful qualities of Ella Bailey were well known to her acquaintances and to the Baha'is in the San Francisco region. She was the first chairman of the Berkeley Baha’i Assembly and was elected annually to that body for more than twenty years. She was constantly teaching by word and even more, by deed, but she preferred always to remain in the background.
Late in life she pioneered to Tripoli, Libya. During the closing days of her earthly existence, she was sometimes not conscious of her condition which worsened as a result of additional falls. Then again she would become painfully aware of her infirmities and would apologize for the work her sickness entailed. Death came toward twilight, at eight o'clock on August 26, 1953. Friends quickly gathered at the bedside of the departed believer and they recited and chanted appropriate prayers in Arabic and English. It was a touching demonstration of international Baha'i solidarity, of uncalculated affection in an age of calculated risks. Particularly memorable was the moving scene in which an Egyptian friend kissed her fore head and tearfully bade her farewell, "Goodbye, Miss Bailey." Interment was set for August 27 and on that day a second service was held at the Government Cemetery on the western outskirts of Tripoli. Friends were also present that evening when the casket was placed in a niche in the cemetery wall. In the Mother Temple of the West, a few days later, members of the American National Spiritual Assembly prayed for the progress of her soul in the realms on high. Shoghi Effendi paid tribute to Ella Bailey and acclaimed her contribution to the world crusade : "Irresistibly unfolding Crusade sanctified death heroic eighty-eight-year-old Ella Bailey elevating her rank martyrs Faith shedding further luster American Baha'i Community consecrating soil fast awakening African Continent." –Bahá'í World, Vol XII

Note: Ella Bailey's remains, along with those of 54 Americans, were laid to rest in a solemn ceremony at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Millsboro Friday, August 21, 2007, after making a long journey from their initial resting place at a cemetery in Libya. The 52 infants and two adults were first interred at Hammangi Cemetery, an Italian cemetery located in Tripoli, Libya, between 1953 and 1970, when the U.S. military operated Wheelus Air Base there. "Family members of Airmen were often buried in the cemetery because, at that time, service members did not receive entitlements to have the remains of their loved ones flown back to the U.S. for burial," said Mark Blair, chief of Air Force Mortuary Affairs. Not long before major renovations were set to begin at Hammangi Cemetery, U.S. government officials were told that the graves of the American military dependents would be disturbed and that the plans for the new cemetery area did not include a burial site for those remains. Read the full story here: http://remembertheintrepid.blogspot.com/2011/12/from-shores-of-tripoli-to-dover-and.html?m=1

Family Members


Dec 16, 1864, Houston, TX / Aug 26, 1953, Tripoli, Libya

Gravesite Details Originally buried in Hammangi Cemetery, Tripoli, Libya


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  • Maintained by: Maysan
  • Originally Created by: Corey & Douglas Marshall-Steele
  • Added: 24 May 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 70332916
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ella Martha Bailey (16 Dec 1864–26 Aug 1953), Find a Grave Memorial no. 70332916, citing Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Millsboro, Sussex County, Delaware, USA ; Maintained by Maysan (contributor 48409851) .