Neva Jean Bailey, nee Brockman, died on April 17, 2014, at Arden Courts in Glen Ellyn. Born on Nov. 5, 1941, in Central City, Nev., she later moved to Atchison, Kansas where she met and married Larry Bailey, who now lives in River Forest. She graduated with a B.A. in Music Education from the University of Kansas, studied voice at the Guild Hall School of Music in London, and received a M.A. in Conducting from Roosevelt University.
In 1972, she moved to the Oak Park area with her family. A trained dramatic mezzo soprano, Ms. Bailey performed with the Chicago Symphony Choir, the Milwaukee Florentine Opera, the Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Chicago, and the American Women Composers. She also taught at the American Conservatory of Music and the Merit School of Music, played piano in the Michiana Music Trio, and shared her passion for music with her area voice students. In 1983, she was a semi-finalist in the Liederkrantz Wagner competition in New York City.
She had an enthusiasm for all she did in life, dedicating her time to many causes, including the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing; the League of Women Voters in Oak Park and Michigan's Cass and Berrien counties, becoming chapter president of the latter; and the Arthritis Foundation. She also pursued an interest in photography.
Neva Bailey is survived by her husband, Larry Bailey; her children, Barbara (Jorg) Schmidt-Bailey and Eric (Gwen) Bailey; her grandsons, Max and Nick Schmidt-Bailey; her siblings, Karry (Judy) and Jorgen (Patricia) Brockman; and her niece and nephew, Kimberly and Kevin.
A celebration of her life will be held on May 18 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Carleton Hotel in Oak Park. In lieu of flowers, her family asks that donations be made to the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, www.theaftd.org or the League of Women Voters at www.lwv.org.
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