Old Soldiers Never Die

Albert E. Farley

The title of this article was used by General Douglas MacArthur on April 19, 1951, when he returned from Korea and addressed a joint session of Congress upon his retirement. It was a line from an old British military ballad: “Old soldiers never die, they only fade away.”

These words came to my mind recently when I heard the news that our brother James H. Bailey, Sr. had died. The following is from his obituary.

“James Henry Bailey, Sr., 91, of Parkersburg and more recently of the Love & Care Home, passed away Wednesday, November 26, 2008, at the Eagle Pointe Nursing Facility. He was born November 5, 1917, at York, Pennsylvania, a son of the late Steward S. and Grace F. Schmuck Bailey.

“James was a dedicated and devoted minister of the Church of Christ for many years, dating back to 1952. The congregations he served include Kelton, Glen Rock, and Camp Hill in Pennsylvania; Belpre and Sunshine in Ohio; and Grand Central, New Martinsville, Lubeck, Waverly, and Sunrise in West Virginia.

“Halley Smith baptized James in 1952 and introduced him to the Mid-Ohio Valley. He was highly respected and loved for his dedicated ministry for God. His tombstone is engraved, ‘God’s Minister: He loved his Fellowman.’ His beloved wife’s inscription reads, ‘Love in her Heart, Heaven in Her Eye.’

“James assisted in the baptism of hundreds of people in the area. During gospel meetings, he would conduct highly successful children’s classes in the auditorium prior to his sermon. He used many verses of scripture in all of his lessons and committed to memory hundreds of verses and many chapters. He loved the word of God and devoted his life to carrying the good news to the world.

“James Bailey was a very ‘Giving’ person. He delighted in giving Bibles and religious books to young preacher students. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren reaped the rewards of his love in many ways.

“Surviving are his son, James H. (Jim) Bailey, Jr., and his wife, Linda, of Vienna; two daughters, Joyce Knapp of Hardinsburg, KY; and Christine Ison and her husband, Lonnie, of Cabins, WV; his grandchildren, Jama Davis, Brette Swarr, Megan Dougherty, Paul Fuchs, Laurie Edmunds and Tina Copeland; and great-grandchildren, Evan, Luke and Ryder Davis, Tucker and Sophie Dougherty, Noah, Levi, and Carrie Fuchs, Brittany, Kody and Mackensie Edmonds, and David and Justin Copeland. He is also survived by a brother, Stewart Bailey.

“In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth R. McDowell Bailey in 2005; an infant son, Stanley; a granddaughter, Carrie Fuchs; and three sisters, Lois Mentzer, Eva Behlor, and Ethel Ward.”

It was my happy privilege to hear brother James preach at the Grand Central church building when I was a student at Ohio Valley College in 1964. My future wife, Nancy Ann Brewer, and I (and perhaps others) attended the services there one Sunday morning and heard the best, most complete lesson I had ever heard up to that point in my life on our worship to God in song. I had only recently been discharged from the US Navy and had only begun my classes. My faith was only then being truly developed. Brother James, with his strong, confident voice, preaching the scriptures so logically and thoroughly, convinced my heart of the truthfulness of God’s command to sing praises and to make melody in our hearts unto the Lord without the accompaniment of any mechanical instruments of music. For this I shall be eternally in his debt.

When Jesus spoke with Martha, on the death of her brother, Lazarus, He said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” Martha answered, “Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” John 11:25-27. Brother James Bailey and his beloved wife, Ruth, were faithful Soldiers of the Cross. They that live and believe in Jesus Christ shall never die – they only fade away, temporarily from our sight! Our hope is to see them, again, in the resurrection.

Another phrase from General MacArthur’s speech of 1951 comes to my mind. “In war there is no substitute for victory.” Brother and sister Bailey were given their victory through Jesus Christ, their Lord! 1 Corinthians 15:57. This victory can be ours, too. –Editor.

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