CLEVELAND — A celebration of the life of Edith Mae McKnight Bailey of Cleveland, formerly of Shelby, was held on Monday, April 15, 2019, at 2 p.m. at Ray Funeral Home in Cleveland with interment following in the Shelby Cemetery. The family received friends during a visitation from 1 to 2 p.m. at the funeral home prior to the service. The Rev. Steve Huber, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Cleveland, officiated. Edith passed away on April 12, 2019, at Greenwood Leflore Hospital at the age of 91.

Edith was born in Shelby on Oct. 20, 1927, to her parents, Robert Gary McKnight and Mary Magdalene McKnight. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Floyd Leroy “Roy” Bailey; a son, Robert Gary Bailey; a sister, Cleo Rae McKnight Westbrook; a brother-in-law, Richard Alton Westbrook Sr.; and a niece, Barbara Westbrook Whatley.

Thankful for her love are her sons, Lonnie Bailey (Debbie Howington Bailey) of Greenwood and Dr. Larry Bailey (Gail Benton Bailey) of Jackson, Tennessee; grandsons Christopher Bailey (Julianne) of Cleveland and Grady Bailey of Brandon; great-grandchildren Amelia Bailey of Brandon and Faulkner Bailey and Beau Bailey of Cleveland; a niece, June Westbrook Patterson (Dr. Michael Patterson) of Cleveland; and a nephew, Richard Westbrook Jr. (Pat) of Enid.

Edith was an active member of Belleview Baptist Church in Shelby until 1992, when she moved to Cleveland, where she became a member of Immanuel Baptist Church. She taught Sunday school and sang in the choir.

After starting the first grade at the age of 4 at Shelby Elementary School, Edith graduated from the eighth grade as the valedictorian. She later graduated from Shelby High School in 1943 as the salutatorian of her senior class. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Delta State University and taught high school English for over 40 years before retiring. She began her teaching career at Arcola High School and Greenville High School before moving back home to teach in Shelby. Edith began teaching at Rosedale High School in 1969 and taught there until her retirement. During her career, she was recognized two times as a STAR Teacher of the Year in the state of Mississippi and was inducted into the Golden Circle of the Delta State University National Alumni Association, whose members are made up of all 50-plus year graduates of Delta State. She also taught part-time at Mississippi Delta Community College and worked part-time for Willard’s Drug Store and Bolivar Lumber Company in Shelby.

Indywood Estates in Cleveland was her home from 2008 until 2019. The family is grateful to the staff of Indywood for their care and compassion through the years.

Edith had a heart that sought God in all she did and accepted Jesus as her Savior at a young age. Throughout her life, she loved and served her family, church and friends. She was an avid gardener working in her flower garden. Edith had a unique love for roses and sharing them with others. She also loved to cook, read, and watch her favorite major league baseball team, the Atlanta Braves, on television. She was very proud of her two sons, Lonnie and Larry, and their accomplishments in their professional careers.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be given to Immanuel Baptist Church, P.O. Box 479, Cleveland, MS.

To view and sign the online guestbook, go to

(0) entries

Sign the guestbook.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.