Mr. Beverly “Bev” Milton Bailey Sr. (75) transitioned Friday evening, January 19, 2024, at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center’s ICU.

He was born on February 26, 1948 in Southampton, Virginia to Mr. Curtis C. Bailey and Mrs. Mary F. Purdie Bailey. Mr. Bailey was educated in Surry County, Virginia, and Orange, New Jersey, and attended church in both states.

Mr. Bailey married the love of his life, Doris Moore, with whom he shared a forty-seven years relationship. His legacy are two adult children: son Beverly Milton Bailey Jr., Seffner, Florida, and Bridget Bailey, San Antonio, Texas. They were the light of Mr. Bailey’s life, including his six doting grandsons: Donovan, US Air Force Station in Japan; Bryson, Lakeland, FL; Naeem, Tampa, FL; Jaquan, Clearwater, FL; Bryce, San Antonio, TX; and Mateo, Syracuse, NY.

After a 20-year career with Ford Motor Company in New Jersey, the automobile plant closed. Mr. Bailey had a short stint at New Jersey Transition, before relocating to Lakeland, where he was employed at Publix for twenty-six years before joining his wife with The Bailey Group.

In 1990, Mr. Bailey was initiated into the International Free and Accepted Modern Mason. In 1991, he and his wife became members of New Bethel AME Church under the spiritual leadership of the Reverend Jimmy J. Thompson, where he served on Usher Board #2.

Mr. Bailey co-founded and organized the official Juneteenth Observance in 1992. He, his wife Doris Moore Bailey, son Milton, daughter Bridget, grandsons Donovan, Bryson and Naeem, hosted and sponsored the only Juneteenth rodeo in the state of Florida for five conservative years. The Baileys were supported by their cousin Jim Scott of Peachtree City, GA, Rancher Bob Shivers, horseman Fred Carter, and Dr. Alzo J. and Mrs. Elouise Reddick.

In 2015, the Baileys established the The Buffalo Soldiers Reenactment organization in Polk County, which began in Lakeland. In 1990, Mr. Bailey was initiated into the International Free and Accepted Modern Masons.

Mr. Bailey devoted his time to various charitable causes throughout Polk County, and Florida. During African American History Month aka Black Month, he and other horsemen carried their horses to Padgett Elementary School, and educated students about the Buffalo Soldiers and the African American Cowboys. He supported his grandsons traveling basketball teams, as well as his son and daughter’s bowling league team. He enjoyed all sports, especially college footballs and professional basketballs with his cousin Midge Jenkins, automobile racing and working with cars. During the annual August, Johnson (Purdie) Family Reunions, he loved going deep sea fishing with his male cousins in the St. James River, listening to Ole School Music on CDs recorded by his brother Alton. His bonus was visiting with cousins James and Dorothy Moore Knight’s farm to see the Black Angus cows, and his fishing ponds in Newton, Alabama.

Mr. Bailey is survived by his beloved spouse Doris Moore Bailey, his son Beverley Milton Bailey Jr. and daughter Bridget Bailey; six grandsons: Donovan Saxon Bailey, Bryson Bailey, Sharad Naeem Nixon Jr., JaQuan Bailey, Bryce Smith Jr., and Mateo Bailey; brothers: Curtis C. Bailey Jr, (Carolyn), East Orange, New Jersey, and Alton Bailey (Jennifer), of West Orange, New Jersey; sister Joyce Brenda Bailey Barnett (Danny) of Alexandria, Virginia, sister-law-in Vennie Armstrong Bailey, Orange, New Jersey; godparents the Iconic Coach Jesse B. and Yvonne Heard of Gainesville, Florida, goddaughters Daphne Matthews of, Clinton, Maryland and Joy Carol Bailey of Orange, New Jersey; godsons: Clif Clifton of Lakeland, Al Wakil Edwards, North Carolina, Shawn Brantley and Christopher Brantley, both of Orlando, Florida. Sisters-in-law Mrs. Annie Lois Moore Rhoden, Mrs. Mary Mathis, and brother-in-law Mr. Enorris Moore, as well as other step-brothers-in-law. Uncles: Roy L. Moore (Elouise), Lakeland, Florida, and Willie G. Moore, Hillside, New Jersey. Aunts: Robbie L. Moore McCoy, Katherine Moore Goodson both of Riverdale, Georgia, and Delorise Grider of Orlando, Florida. Mr. Bailey has three adopted sisters: Mrs. Elazer Lindsay, Orlando, Florida, Mrs. Lola King, and Mrs. Vera Owens, both of Lakeland, Florida. He has thirteen nieces and nephews, many great nieces and nephews, a host of cousins, friends, and special friend Mr. Charles Allen of Sanford, Florida, and mentor Dr. Alzo J. Reddick, Sr. of Orlando, Florida.

Mr. Bailey was preceded in death by his parents Curtis C. and Mary F. Purdie Bailey, and youngest brother Delanor “Dell”; William Bailey, Sr.

Bailey repose/visitation is Friday, February 2, 2024; visitation is 5:-5:45 P.M. and Memorial program begins at 5:45 p.m., closing with the International Masonic Final Burial Rites ceremony; Honoring the Life and Legacy of Mr. Beverly “Bev” Milton Bailey Sr. is Saturday 1:00 p.m., all services at New Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2122 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Lakeland.

The family requests donations to New Bethel AME Children’s Church and Faith In Action North Lakeland in lieu of flowers.

The Bailey, Barnett, Purdie, and Moore Families extend gratitude to NBAME Church family, dear friends, Pastor Eddie Lake, and Pastor Nathan Mugala for their support during beloved Mr. Beverly “Bev” Milton Bailey's difficult journey. Super special appreciation to grandson number #2, Bryson for his devoted care of his grandfather.

Services entrusted to Claude Holmes Funeral Homes, Haines City, Florida.

Keep Up With Lakeland

Each Thursday, we’ll send you the latest news, including a preview of weekend events

Success! You're on the list.

SEND CORRECTIONS, questions, feedback or news tips: [email protected]

Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.