School 21

Bobby Earl Bailey

July 11, 1956 ~ December 27, 2023 (age 67) 67 Years Old

Bobby Bailey Obituary


Mr. Bobby Earl Bailey departed this life and transitioned to his new home on Wednesday, December 27, 2023. Bobby was preceded in death by his wife of over thirty-five years, Mrs. Thelathia Barnes Bailey. They shared a deep love, many fun times, and a loyal friendship. Bobby was an inspiration to many—friends, family, students, and colleagues. He was the proud son of the late Mr. Neil Bailey and Mrs. Katherine Bailey. He is survived by a sister Mrs. Kathy Bailey of Allendale, SC and her two children, Sequinta and Curtis, grand nieces and nephews, Levi, Le'mari, Ja'Bria, Ta'Dereon, Ta'Vari, and Londonmarie as well as his mother-in-law, Mrs. Alvilda Barnes of Lancaster, SC. Bobby is also survived by a brother-in-law, Dr. Thomas T. Barnes, Jr., and his wife, Dr. Kimberley Barnes, of Flagstaff, Arizona. He has four nephews and one niece—Trey, Travis, Kendall, Keenan, and Kayla Barnes. Additionally, Bobby has a host of relatives, cousins, and associates throughout the country.


Bobby was born July 11, 1956 in Raleigh, NC. He attended Mt. Calvary Holy Church and later became a member of Deliverance Cathedral of Love Church. Mr. Bailey was a graduate of William G. Enloe High School in Raleigh. He was involved in the high school band. Mr. Bailey attended North Carolina Central University in Durham and earned a bachelor's degree in English from Texas Southern University. After marrying Thelathia, he became a resident of Lancaster, SC in 1988. He went on to obtain a Master of Education Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi. He also completed academic work toward a Ph.D. at Southern Mississippi. He was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Mr. Bailey played an active role in many educational experiences throughout the Lancaster Community. He was committed to making sure his voice was heard and his actions were seen by his involvement in community affairs. He believed that education is the key to success, and with hard work and perseverance anybody could succeed. 


Mr. Bailey taught in the classroom at Lancaster High School and later was Principal at Eau Claire High School in Columbia, SC. He was the first African American male English teacher in Lancaster County and established the first Drama Program at Lancaster High School. He was inducted into the Lancaster County Education Hall of Fame in 2009.


Known for his boundless love, care, and generosity, Bobby always actively sought ways to reach and to positively affect the community. During his professional career in South Carolina and Mississippi, he impacted the lives of countless students and colleagues and ensured that education was a top priority. He always had a special approach to reach the ones in need. He was the recipient of the 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr. “Living the Dream” Award and received the 2023 Trailblazer Award at the Tyriffic Community Awards Ceremony last May.


Bobby served his community with distinction through his affiliation with and commitment to many local boards, groups, clubs, and causes. He served on numerous boards in the Lancaster community. He was a co-founder of Adopt-A-Leader in Lancaster which was established in 1992. He was a member of the Lancaster Rotary Club and served as the club’s president in 2021-2022. He was the founder and organizer of the Lancaster County School District’s Principal’s Choice Awards Ceremony which recognized hundreds of students over the period of a decade. 


The Baileys loved USC Lancaster and a financial gift, small or large, would memorialize their contributions to the campus and the community. Consider a contribution to their scholarship fund:  the Thelathia B. and Bobby E. Bailey Endowed Academic Scholarship. Memorial gifts can be mailed to the Educational Foundation of USC Lancaster PO Box 889 Lancaster, SC 29721 (Attn: Mrs. Shana Dry).







In addition, Mr. Bailey demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the community as evidenced by his service with the following:



Established first Drama Program at Lancaster High School

Directed award winning theatre Group "Lancaster Players"

First Black Male teacher of English in Lancaster County

Co-Founder & Executive Director of "Adopt-A-Leader Mentor Program"

Founder of "The African American Male Conference" at USC Lancaster

Founder of Omega Scholars at USC Lancaster

Inducted in the Lancaster County Education Hall of Fame in 2009

Recipient of 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr. “Living the Dream" Award

Former Board Chairman of Palmetto Citizens Against Sexual Assault

Former Board Member- Care Net

Former Board Member- First Steps

Former Board Member- A Father’s Way

Former President of Lancaster Rotary Club, 2021-2022

Chaired the "Closing the Achievement Gap" Initiative (LCSD)

Founder & Director of "Principals Choice Awards

Chef & Caterer "An Expression of Taste Catering"

Coordinated the Soul Food Cook Off at USC Lancaster after the passing of Mrs. Bailey




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January 12, 2024

1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Crawford Funeral Home
410 W. Meeting Street
Lancaster, SC 29720

Funeral Service
January 13, 2024

11:00 AM
University of South Carolina Lancaster Bundy Auditorium
476 Hubbard Dr
Lancaster, SC 29720


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