Rosanne Bailey, 66

Air Force brigadier general, University of Alaska vice chancellor

Opinion: Obituaries

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Rosanne ("Ro") Bailey, 66, of Fairbanks, Alaska, a former Oak Park resident, died on Nov. 1, 2016 after a brief illness. Born in Chicago on July 10, 1950 to the late Richard W. and Rosemary W. Bailey (nee Wright), she graduated from St. Edmund School and Oak Park and River Forest High School. She received a B.S. degree from Purdue University, with honors, in Economics and earned her M.S. degree in Engineering Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology as a distinguished graduate. She entered the Air Force in 1977 and served in positions of leadership and responsibility, such as commander, 354th Logistics Group, Eielson AFB Alaska; commander, 435th Air Base Wing, Ramstein Air Base and Kaiserslautern Military Community, Germany; and commander, Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center, Cheyenne Mountain AFS Colorado. She retired from the Air Force in 2006. Her military awards and decorations include Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and National Defense Service Medal with bronze star. She was also a Distinguished Graduate of the Defense Systems Management College as well as Air Command and Staff College where she received two research awards. 

While serving at Eielson AFB in 1996, she fell in love with Alaska, and after her retirement in 2006, made Fairbanks her permanent home. In 2006 she joined the University of Alaska Fairbanks as vice chancellor for Administrative Services, then became special projects coordinator at UAF where she was instrumental in developing standards, policies, and guidelines for Department of Justice use of unmanned aircraft for law enforcement agencies nationwide. She also worked closely with the Department of Interior to develop standards and inspection criteria for unmanned aircraft use by all agencies nationwide. 

Recently, she was a key proponent of developing partnerships with the Department of Defense and Alaska Department of Public Safety to integrate unmanned aircraft into emergency response operations. Her experience with large acquisition projects for the military led to her deep involvement in UAF's acquisition of the R/V Sikuliaq, the National Science Foundation vessel hosted and operated by UAF's Seward Science Center. She enjoyed her role in bringing the optimally-equipped, ice-hardened vessel to Alaska to conduct the Arctic research it was designed to achieve. 

She retired from the University of Alaska in 2016 and was supporting the unmanned aircraft project part-time and pursuing a second master's degree in counseling at the time of her death. 

Active at First Presbyterian Church of Fairbanks, she served as an elder. A memorial service will be held there in early 2017, followed by a memorial and interment at Arlington National Cemetery in the spring of 2017. 

Ro Bailey was the dear friend of William Selah; the sister of Richard Fiske Bailey, Barbara (Michael) Walsh, Susan Bailey, Stephen Bailey, and Patricia (Robert) Houston; the aunt of Christopher and Patrick Walsh, Nicholas and Casey Dallas, Patrick and Sean Folliard, Cassidy, Jeremy and Cade Bailey, Blake Jannett, and Jack and Charlie Houston; and the cousin of Andrea Wright Krajack and the late William Wright. 

Two nonprofit cancer awareness groups are accepting donations in Rosanne's name: Let Every Woman Know (, an Alaska organization where Rosanne was a board member; and the Foundation for Women's Cancer (

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