The funeral service will be conducted at 11:00 A.M., Thursday, February 11, 2016 at Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, 114 Johnson Street, Oglethorpe, Georgia. Rev. Norris Harris, pastor, will officiate. Interment will follow in the Oglethorpe City Cemetery, Oglethorpe, Georgia.
Viola English Bailey was the fifth child of Elder John and Annie Lee Haugabrooks English born on July 13, 1919 in Oglethorpe, Georgia. She attended the historic Lumpkin Academy and Oglethorpe Rosenwald Junior High School in Oglethorpe, Georgia. She was a graduate of the former Macon County Training High School in Montezuma, Georgia. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education; a state certificate in Library Science; and Media Specialist certification from the former Fort Valley State College in Fort Valley, Georgia. She also did further studies at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia and master level studies at Fort Valley State College in Fort Valley, Georgia.
Viola began her teaching career in Macon County at a small church in a community known then as Cut-Off, which was off of Highway 49. She eventually moved into a school that was built after her first year at Cut-Off. Years after, she moved up to the former Macon County Junior High School, where she was able to touch many who walked those halls. After 36 years of service to youth as a history teacher and librarian, she retired from the Macon County Board of Education in June 1976.
Viola was born into a devout Christian family. She was the epitome of dedication, for she loved her church – St. Paul A.M.E. Church of Oglethorpe, Georgia. For a number of years, she served as the Church secretary, keeping record books by hand with a handwriting that was admired by many. She also dutifully served as a member of the Missionary and Stewardess Boards. She enjoyed visiting other churches in the community with her crew, known as the “Stick Ladies.” With Viola behind the wheel, the ladies would travel all over Macon County.
Viola cared deeply for her people and county. She served on various boards to promote the advancement of Oglethorpe, including the Oglethorpe Benevolent Society, Inc., Literacy Council of Macon County, City of Oglethorpe Housing Authority, Macon County Historical Society, Macon County Democratic Committee, Department of Family and Children Services, and the Macon County Retired Teachers and Associates. In addition, she was proud to serve on the production committee for the writing of the book, “Macon County Life.” The love shown to her community was returned when a proclamation was issued throughout Oglethorpe deeming March 19, 1995 as Viola English Bailey Day. In addition, she was honored for her service in education with a building with her namesake in Montezuma, Georgia on October 26, 1998.
Viola was blessed to be a mother to a son named Madison Thomas Porter. He was her pride and joy, for he would even follow her to school before he was even able to read. She would always have a story for anyone willing to listen about her son’s Navy travels and acting career.
Though Viola’s first marriage dissolved in a divorce, she found love again with Willis Bailey. Together, they carried a torch for their family, which included her son and his two daughters from a previous marriage – Mary Kate and Esther. Willis passed after building a life with Viola for forty years.
After his passing, Viola poured herself into her community even more and also devoted her life to the raising of her granddaughter, Farah. Early on, Farah was her sidekick - attending meetings, visiting relatives, and shopping trips. They had one incredible bond. Viola was her role model, and Farah was her motivation.
Viola gave to all and leaves behind a legacy of faith, hope, and charity. She now joins those who went on before her: her parents; her nine siblings – Richard, John, Robert, Samuel, Millie, James, Edward, Cornelius, and Willie James; husband, Willis Bailey; and daughters, Mary Kate Bailey Hubbard and Esther Bailey.
She is survived by her loving and steadfast son, Deacon Madison Porter, Oglethorpe, Georgia; grandchildren, Wilbur Haugabook, Michael Hubbard, both of Chicago, Illinois, Mechelle Hubbard, New Brighton, Minnesota, Cynthia Barnes, Chicago, Illinois, Carl Hubbard, Douglasville, Georgia, Femi Porter, Los Angeles, California, and Farah Porter Jefferies (Curtis), Oglethorpe, Georgia; great grandson, DaeLyn Seals, Los Angeles, California; sister-in-law, Clara L. English, Oglethorpe, Georgia; first cousins, who were raised as siblings with her, C.J. Tookes (Jean), Atlanta, Georgia, Elder Albert Tookes (Judy), Montezuma, Georgia, and Deacon Tommie J. Tookes, Fort Valley, Georgia; devoted niece and caregiver, Eula Kendrick, Oglethorpe, Georgia; faithful caregiver, Pearl Williams, Oglethorpe, Georgia; a host of devoted nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, and friends.
St. Paul A.M.E. Church
Post Office Box 1355
Oglethorpe, Georgia 31068