BEACON STAFF, CONTRIBUTORS
Dr. T. Wayne Bailey, professor emeritus of political science at Stetson University and a co-author of Volusia County’s Home Rule Charter, died June 29, 2021, at the age of 86.
A leader of the Volusia County Democratic Party and the founder of the Stetson University department of political science, Bailey touched many lives.
Bailey’s teaching career began in 1963 and continued until his retirement in 2016 after 53 years of teaching. In that time, he mentored countless individuals.
Bailey did extensive work with cities and counties, upgrading their charters and reforming their governments. In 2011, Bailey was named Volusia County Citizen of the Year.
An active member of the American Lung Association for more than 35 years, in 2004, Bailey was the first non-physician in the United States to receive the Discovery Health Channel Medical Honor.
He also served on the Florida Hospital DeLand Foundation board of directors.
Akin, a DeLand attorney, is one of Bailey’s four children. Her siblings are Kim Miller, Terry Bailey Jr. and Pat Bailey.
His investment was always in people. He desired to help students and people he worked with be the best versions of themselves they could be.
He told me, if you have a gift, you have a responsibility to make other people’s lives better. That’s the way I was raised.
Upon his death, here’s what we saw: the outpouring of the community, people who were impacted by his example, his guidance, his influence.
Henderson, now retired, is a former Volusia County Council member and Stetson University environmental-policy expert.
Wayne was a friend, mentor and colleague for more than 50 years.
In terms of his legacy, I look at three things. He was one of the founding fathers of the Volusia charter and an unabashed champion of local home rule. He believed that open ethical government is a force for good.
The one policy issue that touched all of us was his commitment to halt smoking in indoor public places. He was a champion for Florida’s Clean Indoor Air Act, and was honored for that effort.
Lastly, and probably most important, are the significant number of elected and appointed officials at all levels of government who passed through his classes and continued to stay in touch with him to seek his wisdom.
In all my years working with him, I never heard him utter a harsh word for a political opponent. He strongly believed in collegiality and was truly disappointed in the current trend of the politics of personal demonization.
He was incredibly touched by receiving the Hometown Hero Award at the annual Juneteenth Celebration in 2016. He was recognized for his efforts to protect voting rights, for his commitment to civil rights, and to equality for all.
One of the things he was most proud of was hosting an annual citizenship ceremony at Stetson. He enjoyed seeing the depth of emotion and pride of becoming an American citizen.
Arrington is a former student of Bailey’s who served several years as manager of Volusia County. More recently, he collaborated with Bailey on some local initiatives.
From the time I entered Stetson during the tumultuous year 1968, until Wayne Bailey’s passing, I joined the ranks of thousands of students to whom he was professor, mentor, advocate, collaborator and friend.
He practiced the Golden Rule. He modeled the good practice of democracy and wisdom tradition. He had the courage to be a good citizen striving to co-create a good society.
His mind was strong to the end. His heart remained kind and loving. The strength of his will was unparalleled. He lived his commitments, which today is a rarity. He is a beacon of hope. Much is at stake in remembering and honoring his legacy.
Dr. Anne Hallum
Bailey hired Hallum to teach political science at Stetson University.
I began working for Stetson in 1987, so it was my second teaching job. I have my doctorate from Vanderbilt in poly sci.
I met him in Atlanta. He hired me, and that was a great honor. I loved working there. I worked at Stetson in political science for almost 26 years. I left in 2012.
Wayne Bailey was the founder of the department, and was the only professor for a long time. He also hired Dr. Gary Maris, he was the second, and I was the third. It was just the three of us for a while.
He hired Dr. Gene Huskey, so then there were four of us for a long time.
Dr. Bailey and I both taught the American classes, so we had a lot of students who overlapped. During my 26 years teaching, I had about 4,000 students, and he had many more, at least 10,000.
He mentored colleagues as well as students. Since I was a younger political science professor starting out, I treasured the way he mentored me. He never went to a reception, banquet, any important political event, without inviting me and seating me on the front row. Dozens of times.
He would say, well, I’ve got a seat for you at my table. He loved networking on behalf of others. He was so incredibly aware of helping others at all times.
I remember when Jimmy Carter visited Stetson. It was a big honor, and Carter paused amid the crowd of guests thronging him, and asked, “Well, where’s Wayne Bailey?” President Carter was looking for Wayne Bailey!
Dr. Bailey mentored everyone, not just students, but anyone he could help in any way. He was just always there doing that.
Then there’s the Floyd M. Riddick Stetson U.S. Model Senate. He and Sen. Howard Baker founded this program. It was the first collegiate Model Senate in the country. When Harvard started one, they called us for advice and suggestions. Riddick had been a U.S. Senate parliamentarian who also visited Stetson.
Along with all this, Dr. Bailey is the father of four children whom he loved dearly. He did so much for one lifetime.
Titus is a former assistant to William Amory Underhill, a Stetson alumni who served as assistant attorney general to President Truman. Underhill worked closely with Bailey.
He was a wonderful person. I worked with one of his colleagues, William Amory Underhill. He was an attorney in DeLand, and I was his assistant for many decades.
Mr. Underhill thought Stetson had struck gold when they hired Dr. Bailey to run the political science department.
The two men enjoyed a very close and professional friendship over the years. They were extraordinary gentlemen, a rare commodity today.
Mr. Underhill and Dr. Bailey both shared similar thought processes, in that they each had a desire to reach out and help another person make a difference in his or her life. They were never self-serving, they were always looking to be of assistance to somebody else.
They would find a way to make a difference in people’s lives that gave people great pleasure. Mr. Underhill had a law office in Washington, and Dr. Bailey, every January, would bring his Stetson seniors to Washington to familiarize themselves with the congressional delegation. These were wonderful times. It was really fun to have a front-row seat to all of this.
At the time, the Stetson alumni chapter in Washington was very active. The president of Stetson would come once a year to visit. Dr. Bailey was hugely involved here in those get-togethers, too.
Dr. Bailey was a frequent visitor to Mr. Underhill, who lived in DeLand. They had a great camaraderie.
Any of us who had the opportunity to meet Dr. Bailey and be around him know it was a privilege and a blessing. They just don’t come any better than Wayne Bailey.
Sabine, a former student of Bailey’s, worked as an assistant public manager in two jurisdictions in the Atlanta area. He has also been a consultant for multiple nonprofits.
I knew Wayne Bailey for 32 years, from the time I was looking at Stetson University as a high-school student, until we chatted within a few weeks of him going into the hospital.
Sometimes we chatted multiple times a week, depending on what was going on in the political environment.
To fully appreciate how Wayne Bailey operated, to lift up and encourage others, I’ll take you back to the very first time I met him. Gary Meadows, who was the director of the Alumni Association in those days, directed me over to meet Wayne because I had indicated I was interested in coming to Stetson and studying political science.
I go over, completely unannounced except for a cursory call. Within a few minutes, he was encouraging me to drive down solo to this event in Maitland, where then-Democratic National Committee Chairman Ron Brown would be (he would go on to serve in the Clinton Cabinet). Dr. Bailey said I should go down there and rub shoulders, meet people.
Here’s this 16-year-old kid sent down to this Democratic Party event. Dr. Bailey couldn’t attend, he had other obligations, but he said, you just need to go down there and introduce yourself.
He was constantly trying to connect people. Back in the day, it was nothing for him to just reach out and connect people who had never had any contact before.
He just felt that was the natural thing to do — to help people, encourage them, and to try to get the best people together to come up with a common solution that benefited the greatest number.
During the recent election in 2020 and the aftermath, we were chatting a couple of times a week. The universal value that underlies the many, many, many accomplishments of Wayne Bailey — the Wayne Bailey who was mentor to generations of Stetson students, the Wayne Bailey who pushed for the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act, the Wayne Bailey who served in the Democratic Party, a counselor to near and far — the common denominator is that Wayne Bailey never forgot, in pursuit of all of these honorable causes, that fundamentally, we are dealing with human beings. He never lost sight of that, and encouraged others not to ever lose sight.
He was genuinely interested in the well-being of everyone, even people who disagreed with him. Wayne Bailey was one of the most consistently controlled, levelheaded, analytical logical people you’d ever meet. Married to that was a compassion that would fill up the entire Stetson campus.
Perhaps the highest compliment I can confer on Dr. Bailey would be that Amory Underhill — if he were looking down at the last chapter of Wayne Bailey’s career — he would be truly pleased that Wayne did so much to serve not only the Stetson community, the Volusia community, the state of Florida and the U.S., but humanity as a whole.
Wayne was one of those rare universal people who could make a difference in so many different circumstances.
Wayne Bailey did so much to lift up the many people who came into contact with him over a long and incredibly productive career. It absolutely grieves me that he’s no longer here to make a difference in the communities he loved dearly.
The best testament we can provide to Wayne Bailey is that we take on those values of trying to create a win-win environment, and of lifting up those around us, even where we may have disagreements. Finding our common humanity and focusing on that common humanity.
That’s perhaps one of the best ways we can honor and respect the legacy of a man that truly not only shaped modern Volusia County, but Florida, too.
Dr. Joyce Cusack
Cusack, a retired registered nurse, served in the Florida Legislature and as a member of the Volusia County Council.
He may be gone, but his legacy will live on forever. He has impacted the lives of so many, and I’m one of those persons. I loved T. Wayne Bailey. He was just a wealth of knowledge.
Barker, a former police chief, is a popular blogger about Volusia County government. These remarks are excerpted from his blog, Barker’s View.
Professor Bailey was world-renowned for his keen insight into all strata of governance and politics, and his learned opinions were frequently quoted in local, national, and international news articles and scholarly writings. However, he will most be remembered for his fatherly mentorship and devotion to the holistic education of Stetson University students.
It was this depth of care and positive influence on the lives of so many that will remain his enduring legacy.
… I did not always agree with Dr. Bailey politically, but I invariably learned something new and important whenever he weighed in – perpetually impressed with his ability to disagree with those who thought different from him without being disagreeable.
The mark of a gentleman – and a scholar.