Obituary of Floyd Gilgen Bailey
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Floyd Gilgen Bailey, 89, passed away peacefully on Thursday, February 23, 2023, of natural causes. Floyd was born on November 3, 1933 in Salt Lake City, Utah to William Roderick and Blanche Gilgen Bailey. Floyd was the third of eleven children born to William and Blanche. Floyd grew up amidst the Great Depression, World War II, and post-war boom on the family farm in Hunter, Utah. Farm life taught Floyd the value of hard work, the necessity of family unity, and an undying gratitude for God’s creations – particularly horses. Though a suburbanite in his later years, Floyd always considered himself – first and foremost – a Horseman. Floyd loved horses and, by all accounts, they loved him. In 1951, Floyd graduated from Cyprus High School in the neighboring mining town of Magna, Utah.
After high school, Floyd helped with the family farm and worked as a laborer for the Utah Power and Light Company. Post-high school life was a boon for young Floyd. In his own words, “I used to brag: ‘I’ve got the nicest car, the fastest horse, the prettiest girl, and the meanest dog in all of Salt Lake County.’” In 1954, Floyd left the car, the horse, his girl, and the dog behind to serve the Lord on a two-year proselytizing mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the New England States Mission, which was headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts (or, as Floyd always pronounced it: “Massa-toosetts”). Floyd served faithfully and developed a love for the land and people of New England. Floyd’s mission cemented his faith in Jesus Christ and His gospel.
Upon returning to Utah in 1956, Floyd was immediately drafted into the United States Navy, where he served during the Korean War as an Electrician Mate 3rd Class on the U.S.S. Begor (DE-711/APD-127), a Crosley-class high speed transport ship assigned to the Pacific Fleet. Floyd was eventually assigned to reserve duty and returned to Utah in 1957. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1962.
Floyd’s time in the Navy gave him a new appreciation for working on and with the soil. By the time he returned to Utah, Floyd was determined to attend college and pursue a career in agriculture. While attending Utah State University in Logan, Utah, Floyd met and fell in love with Sharyn Faith Duckworth. The couple were sealed for time and eternity in the Salt Lake Temple on June 23, 1961. At Sharyn’s passing on December 3, 2022, the lovebirds were enjoying their 62nd year of marriage. Sharyn and Floyd believed and showed their children that marriage is an eternal partnership.
In 1962, Floyd graduated from Utah State with a Bachelor’s degree in Agronomy. Shortly thereafter, Floyd went to work as a Soil Scientist with the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), a division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). During his early career, the SCS relocated Floyd every few years to a different rural community in Utah – first to Mount Pleasant, then to Price, then Richfield, and finally to Tremonton. During those busy years, Floyd and Sharyn were blessed with five rambunctious sons: David, Mark, Scott, Kent, and Jared. While in Utah, the family worked closely with several Native American teenagers and young adults, who they considered family and sheltered in their home from time to time. In 1977, the Baileys settled in beautiful Boise, Idaho after Floyd accepted a promotion to State Conservationist, overseeing the Idaho SCS office. Floyd retired from the SCS in 1995 after 34 years of dedicated service to the farmers and rural communities of Utah and Idaho.
Floyd was a follower of Jesus Christ and a living example of the Savior’s love. He was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and held numerous positions of responsibility and influence. Floyd particularly enjoyed coaching and mentoring the young men of the Church, and developed numerous lifelong friendships with the young men he served. After Floyd’s retirement, he and Sharyn faithfully served as co-directors of the Boise Family History Center for many years. Floyd was the epitome of a happy servant. In his sweet, simple, unassuming way, Floyd shared his happiness and love with anyone who would allow him the opportunity.
Despite his passion for horses, Floyd spent most of his free time in the garage working on cars. His family estimates that between 1977 and 2022, Floyd restored and sold well over fifty vehicles. Floyd lovingly repaired each vehicle by hand, using only a basic toolset and his most noteworthy trait: Persistence. Naturally, Sharyn and the boys enjoyed and benefited from Floyd’s constant rotating supply of vehicles.
Floyd’s affinity for nice cars and fast horses paled in comparison to his love for Sharyn, his sons, and their families. Floyd was a family man through and through. In their golden years, Floyd and Sharyn’s primary focus was their rapidly expanding family. Time with family was precious to them.
In 2005, Floyd nearly lost Sharyn after a routine surgical procedure to repair an injury she sustained in childhood resulted in a severe infection and bacterial meningitis. Although Sharyn miraculously survived her meningitis battle, she suffered a substantial and permanent brain injury and, sadly, lost much of her previous vitality, mental acuity, and agility.
From that traumatic event in 2005 until Sharyn’s ultimate passing in 2022, Floyd singlehandedly – and heroically – cared for his beloved Sharyn. All, while Floyd battled his own array of health challenges. Floyd loved and served Sharyn to the end. After she passed, Floyd continued to wage his personal battle against Stage 4 lung cancer. Mere days before his passing, Floyd successfully completed his chemotherapy treatments and his cancer was officially in remission. In the end, Floyd’s heart simply gave out. For the vast majority of his life, Floyd was fit as a fiddle and stronger than most men half his age. His mind and spirit remained strong and vibrant, but his body simply wore out. The result of a life well-lived by an amazing, hardworking, honorable man. Floyd is missed by all who knew him.
Floyd is survived by his five devoted sons, David (Carl), Mark, Scott (Tara), Kent (Sara), and Jared (Kirsten); his siblings Conley Bailey, Daryle Warby, Gloria Richards, Gerald Bailey, Kenneth Bailey, Gordon Bailey, and Shauna Nikolaus; nineteen grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and an array of cousins, nieces, and nephews who loved and adored this great man. Floyd is preceded in death by his loving wife; his parents; his sisters LaDeane Jonsson, Shirley Richards, and Marsha Bawden; numerous beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins; and his foster daughter, Verla Lasiloo-Jim. After a long and bountiful life, Floyd has returned to the loving embrace of his Creator, his eternal companion Sharyn, his dear sisters, parents, grandparents, and countless cherished loved ones.
A celebration will be held in July 2023 to honor Floyd’s life.
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