PRINCETON — The late Everette Bailey touched many lives in his 65 years on Earth.
To Jordan Pruett, now attending college at Penn State University, Bailey was almost like a second father. Pruett shared that as a youngster, he attended the Mercer County 4H camp where Bailey served as the dean of the men.
Pruett and some friends had been joking with Bailey that he tucked them in at night and told them that he loved them.
“He actually started to do that,” Pruett said. “And he made it a point to tell us that it wasn’t weird or awkward to tell another man that you loved him.”
According to Bailey’s son, Jeff, the tucking in was typical of Bailey’s fun-loving personality. At a service celebrating Bailey’s life Monday afternoon, Jeff said his father had found a unique to get the importance of the American flag through to his 4H campers.
As the older 4H camp usually fell around July 4, better known as the day America declared herself a nation, Bailey would talk to the boys while holding his hand behind the flag to make it look as if the flag were talking to them.
To Princeton boys’ basketball coach Ernie Gilliard, Bailey represented the passion that he was trying to reunite in the Princeton community.
After getting the boys’ basketball job at Princeton, Bailey had approached Gilliard to ask if he wanted to go a different direction with the announcing position. Gilliard said that he appreciated the display of professionalism but he couldn’t imagine the games without Bailey behind the microphone.
“He was the most consistent, eloquent, enthusiastic people at Princeton,” Gilliard said. “That’s what we’re trying to bring out.”
Tigerettes basketball coach Debbie Ball added that Bailey always had her girls’ backs no matter the situation.
Jeff added that Bailey had gotten a tremendous amount from the Tigers and Tigerettes. Jeff said that when his dad visited Morgantown, he’d always tell him about the games that had happened.
Bailey and his wife, Carol, also served as helpers to the 1988 Bramwell Millionaires State Championship team.
For others in the Princeton community, Bailey is known as the first boys’ soccer coach in Princeton Tigers history. Jeff said Bailey had worked in the role for 15 years and cared a great deal about his team.
“He may not have known everything about soccer,” Jeff said. “But definitely cared for his boys.”
Bailey shared a story that he had been told. One of Bailey’s player’s younger brothers had broken his arm during a Tigers game. The boy didn’t play soccer at Princeton but that didn’t stop him from going to the hospital to make sure the boy was OK after the game.
Other former Tigers soccer players had said they remembered that Bailey simply refused to publicly shame them and the “Everette jog” that he did when the Tigers came onto the pitch or a player had gotten hurt.
Because of his role as a coach and an announcer at Princeton, many people came to believe that Bailey served as either the night custodian or a teacher at the school.
“A lot of people don’t know that he worked with the department of highways,” Mercer County Schools Information Specialist Kellan Sarles said at the service.
Jeff had a story about that, too. On the occasion of Bailey’s 40th birthday, some of the girls in the office had taken the opportunity to celebrate by placing a banner where Bailey couldn’t take it down.
Everette also served as a member of the Jay-Cees and garnered the nickname of “Ever-ready” because of his willingness to help others.
Sarles said simply, “People from all walks of life are better because of this man.”
- To share your favorite memories of the late Everette Bailey, contact Matt Christian at email@example.com.