John P. Bailey
John P. Bailey
Jack was drafted into World War II with his St. Peter's Prep graduating classmates of 1943. A Golden Gloves champion boxer, he proved to be a superb driver and sharpshooter. He was assigned to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF), serving his country as driver and bodyguard to General Dwight D. Eisenhower. He lived and traveled with General Eisenhower on Hitler's former train, guarding Prime Minister Churchill whenever he visited. He protected Generals Eisenhower and Bradley, as well as British General Montgomery, when, two days after the invasion into Normandy, the Generals headed to France together on one small ship. He guarded Generals Eisenhower, Patton, and Bradley when they viewed the first concentration camp liberated by American forces, outside Gotha, Germany. He drove French General Charles de Gaulle, escorted Mrs. Patton to General Patton's funeral, and guarded President Truman during a conference with Stalin and Attlee in Potsdam. While stationed with General Eisenhower in Coombe Manor just outside London, Jack was wounded in an attack (earning a Purple Heart). Although wounded, he still managed to save three British civilians. For Jack's heroic actions, the Lord Mayor of Kingston-on-Thames honored Jack at a ceremony outside London on September 11, 2001; this was at the same time that the terrorist attacks in the United States were taking place. Jack spent much of his career as a salesman for Rheingold Breweries. During the heady years of the 'Miss Rheingold' contests, Jack and Peggy's loving and stable presence was rewarded with the honor of chaperoning the contestants. Luckily, Jack and Peggy's lessons on avoiding moral turpitudes were better received by their children and grandchildren. Jack spent his retired years writing his memoirs of WWII, accompanying Peggy on her daily adventures, and indulging his love of dogs by spending fun times at the dog park at Fleet Peeples Park on Lakemont. He volunteered with St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Winter Park, enjoyed lunch on Thursdays with his friends from the Stag Club, and was active in the University Club of Winter Park as well as the Irish-American Cultural Society of Central Florida, the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion. Jack was married to Margaret A. (Peggy) Bailey for 60 years. They had seven children, Carol Faas (Mike), Chip, Craig (Lynn), Brian, Keith (Pat), Merrell (Ralph Reichard), and Dwight Bailey. He also had seven grandchildren.