George Godfrey Bailey
George Godfrey Bailey served as pastor of Monrovia’s Second Baptist Church for three decades, from 1944 to 1974, and was an influential force in the development of both individuals and the community.
The following is excerpted from essay by Jessica Blount Springfield Valentine:
“The Rev. Bailey’s “ ...thirst for an education prompted him to attend Moorhouse Parish Training School in Bastrop, Louisiana. After graduating, he went to Arkansas Baptist College (an Historically Black College and University) with no grant and no scholarships. He would work as a dining car waiter on the train to earn his tuition. As a young man, his employment also included him being a butler and sometimes a janitor.
“In the early 1920s, Rev. Bailey was an insurance salesman, and in 1928, he was assigned as district manager of a branch office in Arkansas. Eventually, he decided to hitchhike to El Paso, Texas to stay with his sister Pearl. He worked as a chef for a time, and later, he became a partner in his sister Pearl’s business, which was doing quite well until she hired him. Nothing he did turned out right. He decided to head to California on foot. In 1933, George Bailey arrived in Santa Monica to join relatives who had settled there and had united with Calvary Baptist Church, where Reverend W. P. Carter was the pastor. In 1937, Bailey realized that God was calling him into Christian service as a minister, so he immediately enrolled in a seminary.”
He was called to be pastor of Second Baptist beginning January 1, 1944.
“During the 1969 racial unrest at Monrovia High School, Rev. Bailey was at the school every day to do what he could to prevent another outbreak of unnecessary violence. He talked to students and made them think about why they were in school. He explained to them the importance of respect and love for all people.
“Rev. Bailey was active in community service around Monrovia. He was on the board of the Red Cross and the board of the Job Resources Education Center. He was a member of the Citizens Committee for the selection of the City Hall site, a member of the Human Relations Committee, and a member of the Monrovia Ministerial Association.”
The Rev. Bailey was born March 15, 1904 near Bastrop, Louisiana, baptized by his grandfather, the Rev. James Monroe White. He died March 6, 1978. In 1979, the Second Baptist Church’s George Bailey Memorial Scholarship Foundation was founded in his honor.
And, from Monrovia City Council Member Larry Spicer:
“I can recall, after turning 13-years-old, how Reverend Bailey, who lived around the corner from my family, used to walk with the kids on my block to church on Sunday mornings. We always knew when he was coming because we could hear the sound of his shoes popping as he came down the street. He walked with his jacket thrown behind his shoulder and as he approached us he would give each of the kids a "Good Morning" hug. Together, we all headed to Second Baptist Church. Along the way we would make a quick stop at his brother-in-law Earl Newton's house so he could join us on the walk to church. Mr. Newton would always bring all the kids bags of candy for the walk.
“During that same year, when I was 13, Reverend Bailey started a youth group at our church. The main reason for this group was to keep the kids out of the streets and out of trouble. Back then, youths went to church seven days a week. Five of those days, we participated in youth activities such as ping pong, basketball, roller skating, bowling, etc. On the sixth day we had Youth Choir rehearsal. The next day we would attend worship service. In between all of my church activities, I still had the opportunity to play baseball outside of church.
I can recall being at Clifton Junior High School in the seventh grade when I met a young lady who caught my interest. It was at this time that I looked for guidance to help me with this situation from Rev. Bailey. He always told the youth that no matter what he was doing, he would stop everything to help because we were his number one priority. I spoke to Rev. Bailey and he gave great advice to help me. I took his advice. Long story short, I ended up with the girl of my dreams at the time.”