Obituary of Bill Bailey
Vernon-On Thursday, September 27, 2018, William "Bill" Bailey, 54, passed away at home surrounded by loved ones after an arduous battle with cancer.
William was destined to enter the harness racing industry. Bill, as he was referred to as, was born in DeLand, Florida on April 6, 1964 to Jack Bailey and Ann Canton (daughter of Elzoara and Leon Canton). Bill began riding and driving ponies at a young age and eventually assisted his Father's racing stable grooming and training the race horses under his Father's direction. Being young and of an independent nature, Bill moved west to Ohio. He began working (grooming/training) for Gil Short. He had a successful career in Ohio racing/driving in the Ohio Sire Stakes and Grand Circuit. Bill became the youngest harness racing driver to win the (Little Brown) Jug Preview in 1988 with Archie Almahurst. He then returned to New York to begin his own racing stable based at Vernon Downs. In 1991, Bill won the Dick Mumpton Memorial Award for upcoming drivers. Bill raced primarily in New York and Pennsylvania while remaining based out of Vernon for the remained of his racing career.
Bill was known for his sense of humor and general good will - he could make anyone laugh or smile when needed. He enjoyed sports and was a fan of Syracuse Basketball, the Dallas Cowboys, NY Yankees, and NASCAR.
Bill was preceded in death by Ann Canton (mother), Jack Bailey (father), Deborah Dougherty (sister), and Jack L. Bailey (brother). He is survived by his longtime companion/wife Ann Yurenka; his step-mother Madeline Bailey; his children, Leon Bailey, Nichole Bailey, Kayla Lum, and Ashley Eldred; his siblings, James Bailey, Jeff (Amy) Bailey, Jaclyn Bailey, and Debra (William) Cook; his 5-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
There will be a memorial service on Tuesday (Oct. 2) from 4pm - 6pm at the Maleki Funeral Home in Vernon NY; however, per Bill's request, the funeral/burial is private for family only.
Per Bill's request, in lieu of flowers, please send donations to: The Standardbred Retirement Foundation and/or Hospice.
464 SHERRILL ROAD
SHERRILL, New York 13461
23 FRONT ST
VERNON, New York 13476