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A final farewell: Communities say goodbye to one of the good ones

Richelle Bailey earned the respect of the people of Marion and McDowell County.

A Davie County native and former reporter with the Davie County Enterprise Record, Bailey died on Sept. 27 after a nearly two-month battle with COVID.

Davie residents paid their respects during a service on Sunday, Oct. 3.

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, it was time for the folks of McDowell County.

The McDowell County Sheriff’s Office sent several vehicles to lead a procession from Advance to Marion with Bailey’s remains for a service there. People came out of their stores and lined the streets as the motorcade passed through Marion.

A long-time award-winning reporter and assistant editor with the McDowell News, Bailey had most recently worked with the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office as an administrative/public information assistant.

She was a driving force behind McDowell County’s Crimestoppers program, as well as Project Christmas, a volunteer project dear to her heart.

“To say that Richelle Bailey was a special person seems woefully inadequate,” former McDowell Sheriff Dudley Greene told the McDowell News. “At first impression, she seemed quiet, reserved, and maybe somewhat aloof. But the more you got to know her, the more you realized those still waters ran deep and that she was intelligent and meticulous with a quick wit and a heart for her community bigger than it seemed her small frame could possibly accommodate.”

Throughout most of her battle with COVID, Bailey kept friends and family abreast of her condition via Facebook.

Vaccinated but also battling Multiple Sclerosis, Bailey wrote in early September:

“COVID will kill you. COVID doesn’t care what political party you belong to. COVID doesn’t care if you’re male or female. COVID doesn’t care what color your skin is. COVID doesn’t care if you’re 21 or 121. COVID will sneak up on you like a freight train and make you wish you didn’t have to take another breath, but also make you know that you’ve got people you don’t want to leave without saying goodbye.”