James Russell Bailey and his wife Betty moved to Orange from Washington, D.C. in 1945. They had two daughters. Deborah Gale, who died in 1968, and Barbara (Mrs. Charles D. McBride, Jr. ) of Evanston, IL. They joined Orange Presbyterian Church in 1947.
Russell Bailey was company architect for Snead and Co, (later Virginia Metal Products). After a year, he left that position to open his own firm.
An architect of note
Russel specialized in library design. The chief architect of the National Cathedral in Washington consulted with him about the design of their rare book room. Russell was also involved in the design of the University of Richmond Library.
Russell designed several local structures including OPC's sanctuary, the Orange County Library (c. 1963) and the Orange County Nursing Home.
Service to the church
Russell Bailey was ordained as Elder in April of 1948. In August 1950, he was selected for a committee to draw the tentative plans for the new Sunday School addition. He was an active member of Gideons International and a faithful teacher of the men’s class in the Church School.
Bailey and Gardner
Around 1953, Judson “Bugs” Gardner went to work for Russell Bailey. In 1968, they became partners. Their architectural firm, Bailey and Gardner (later known as Bailey, Gardner, and Gillum). would remain in business for almost 50 years.
Bailey and Gardner designed the sanctuary at OPC that is used today.
In 1980, Russell designed a banner for Hanover Presbytery's 225th anniversary. The design symbolized God and Man.
The banner was used during the anniversary celebration procession at Union Theological Seminary. It now hangs in the OPC sanctuary.
Betty Bailey joined the Women of the Church (WOC). She was soon on a committee to study the budget for the following year. Betty presented the budget proposal at the next meeting. She was then elected Treasurer.
For the year 1949-1950, Mrs. Bailey was selected to be the Historian. The following year, she became Head of Stewardship. Betty faithfully served with the WOC for many years.
About 1966, Mrs. Bailey started teaching a Sunday School class for girls. She created a lovely classroom with a rug and an air conditioner. Betty was very interesting and entertaining and her students loved her.
“She had the class come to her home for a Bible Lands picnic. We dressed in Biblical outfits and ate dates, bread, little fish, cheese, and fruit. One time, Mr. and Mrs. Bailey took us to visit The National Gallery and the National Cathedral in D.C. We stopped on the way home at a Howard Johnson’s for ice cream. Mrs. Bailey was one of my best ever Sunday School Teachers.”
- Martha Finley Taylor Sutton, daughter of Rev. Richard Taylor (Pastor of OPC 1954 - 1963)
The church started a wonderful monthly newsletter, “The Presbyterian Punch.” Betty Bailey was part of the staff.
A lasting legacy
The congregation moved into the new sanctuary in 1973. Russell and Betty donated the Communion Table and Baptismal Font in memory of their daughter Debbie, who had passed away.
Russell and Betty Bailey were wonderful people who shared their enthusiasm and willingness to work, making significant contributions to our church.
- Jennie Hill Robinson
OPC History Team