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Friday, October 8, 2010

A Tribute to David M Bailey

Troubadour and Brain Cancer Hero David M Bailey passed away October 2.  I can't really do the man, his music, or its meaning justice here, so I will post this, followed by my own blog entry, just one year ago.  Godspeed, David.

David M. Bailey

          David Mark Bailey, 44, of Earlysville, died of brain cancer on October 2, 2010 in Charlottesville , VA and was welcomed into everlasting life at his place at the Table with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Born February 26, 1966, David was the son of Kenneth and Ethel Bailey, missionaries to the Middle East .  For the first 22 years of his life, his home was Beirut, Lebanon , including the first ten years of the Lebanese civil war.  Because of war, the family was obliged to evacuate first to Switzerland (1967), and later to Cyprus (1982).  David’s two final years of high school were completed in a private school in Germany because he was, as a young man, especially vulnerable on the streets of Beirut . 

David attended Grove City College in western Pennsylvania , where he met and married his soul mate, Leslie McGarvey, of Emlenton , PA.  During his college years he was active as a performing songwriter, playing evening and weekend gigs with a music partner.  He also enjoyed choir, frat life, acting, and organizing an underground newspaper.  David graduated with majors in English and Communication Arts.  In the late 80’s, David and Leslie relocated to the Washington , D.C. area where David worked for the U.S. government in satellite imagery analysis.  His career evolved to training and then program management with numerous software subcontractors, ending with employment with Eastman Software inMassachusetts .  Their daughter, Kelcey, was born in 1992 and son, Cameron, in 1994.

The day prior to moving to the Boston area, in July of 1996, David was diagnosed with brain cancer – Glioblastoma Multiforme IV (GBM).  He was expected to have fewer than two years to live.  Eager to have his life make a difference in the lives of others, he gave up his career in the software industry and, with a great leap of faith, launched a third career as a performing songwriter – a “troubadour of hope.”  Following two surgeries, radiation, experimental chemotherapy and nuclear therapy, David criss-crossed America (and Europe ) singing in coffee houses and churches, for cancer conferences and cancer survivor groups for 12 years.  David wrote all of his own songs, which grew out of his experiences of war and of battling a deadly cancer.  He sang of faith, hope, love and of living life to its fullest each day.  He experienced a recurrence of brain cancer in late 2008, recovering enough to tour in 2009 and early 2010.  Enduring numerous additional surgeries and difficult treatments, David made a final tour in July of this year.

David is survived by Leslie, his wife of 23 years; his children, Kelcey and Cameron; his parents, Kenneth and Ethel Bailey; a sister, Sara Makari and her husband, Victor; numerous sisters- and brothers-in-law and eight nieces and nephews.  To quote a line from one of David’s songs, “The tears of the angels form a river where you can wash your pain, and even in the middle of the thunder, don’t forget the love inside the rain.”  His theme was “There may be years of tears behind you, but right now you’ve got One More Day.”  He leaves behind him a musical legacy of 23 professionally-recorded CDs.  His music and his personal testimony have affected the lives of countless thousands in this country and around the world.

The family offers deep gratitude to Drs. Henry Friedman, Allan Friedman and David Reardon at Duke and Dr. David Schiff at UVa and their caring staffs.  We also offer loving thanks to our family of caregivers at the Hospice House, Hospice of the Piedmont, Charlottesville .  Memorial gifts are welcome and may be made to Blue Ridge Presbyterian Church, 6566 Spring Hill Road, Ruckersville, VA 22968.  Half of those gifts will be equally divided between the following brain tumor organizations:  The American Brain Tumor Association, the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke, Gray Matters Foundation, the Florida Brain Tumor Association and T.H.E. Brain Trust.

David was a charter member and Elder at Blue Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ruckersville , VA , where he co-chaired the Evangelism Committee.  Baptized into the Covenant, he was a lifelong Christian and we will have a Celebration of his life and of the Resurrection at a Memorial Service on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm at Meadows Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, VA.   His daughter suggests an attire of tie-dye, if you like.  David would be wearing jeans and ask you to check out his website,

Sunday, 05 October 2008
I'm ready for David
What a beautiful, clear,  crisp, fall day.  What a blessed amazing time in life.
I'm finally ready for David Bailey.
"You've got to hear this guy," my dad told me, nearly two years ago.  This folk-ish singer, just a man and his guitar, very introspective, very good, and a brain cancer survivor - 10 years, Glio (that's grade 4, the big one, for those unversed). 
He sent me cds.  He went to see him live, at least a few times.  He attended the brain tumor support group with my mother in law (and still does) every other Wednesday night.
Me: not me.  No support groups for me - fear of hearing the bad news?  Not wanting to be brought down?  Not wanting to make others feel jealous at how well Ian's doing?  Not wanting to dwell?  Wanting to grieve and grapple with Christians who had their own issues but recognized the shared struggle of sin and pain... really that's mostly the reason. 
No listening to cancer guy music.  Why?  Fear... of becoming emotional.  Of having those deep nerves touched the way only music can.  To connecting the sound of a guitar to this deep pain and fear.   To hearing someone talk about THE DAY.  The day you find out, the day they cut it out, the day you realize it's worse than you thought, the day  you look at your children and weep for their future(s).  I don't want that pain poked, rustled, jostled, brought to the surface.  Why put myself through that?
So today I looked down at my cd basket where a random selection lay - mostly jazz cds I've acquired since moving in, but a few odds and ends.  And there, lying amonst the happy, zippy swing tunes was David M. Bailey's 2-disk set:  Hope: The Anthology.  For the first time, even seeing the cd didn't cause a pang.  I thought ... I can do this.  I can give it a try.  I can confront the demons and embrace some beauty - beauty rising from someone ELSE'S pain. 
And it is beautiful.  It's not incredible, amazing music.  But it is the poignant, genuine, musing of a man who has been down this road ...   Hope, REAL hope.  Positivity in so many forms.  And just reading the song titles will give you an idea of the focus here:
1. The Message of Hope
2.  Live Forever
3.  Brand New Day
4.  Love the Time
5.  On a Day Like Today
6.  Time in my Mind
7.  I'm Thankful
8.  Life
9.  Give Me Your Today
10.  All Day Today
11.  Most to Give
12.  There's a Light
13.  Not Yet
14.   Keep On Walking
15.  Everything Will Be Alright
16.  If I Had Another
17.  So It Goes
~And that's just disk one.  100% positive message, no matter the topic.  Thanks, David.  Thanks, Dad.

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