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Our mother, Bobbie, died March 17, 2023 at the age of 86.
Roberta C. Merrill-Bailey (Bobbie) was born in Los Angeles, California on May 13, 1936 to Frank and Clara Lyon. Frank soon left, and Clara was tasked with raising Bobbie on her own at a time when that just wasn’t done; but she did it, and she did it well.
Clara and Bobbie lived in Los Angeles and eventually bought a home in Hawthorne where Bobbie became acquainted with the “boy next door.” She married Don Merrill in October of 1953. Together they had three children, Dan (1954), Tom (1956) and Suzy (1964). They lived in the Los Angeles suburb of La Puente until 1975. That year, they bought four acres in the Sierra Nevada foothill town of Grass Valley, California. There they built a home and a life together in the woods.
Don died in 1987, but Bobbie continued living in Grass Valley, working at B & C Home and Garden Center as bookkeeper. She pursued hobbies in genealogy and attended Sierra Presbyterian Church where she sang in the choir. Bobbie was an avid genealogy researcher and belonged to Grass Roots Genealogy in Nevada City. She married Dennis Bailey in 2003. Together they belonged to the Roamin’ Angels Car Club and traveled extensively to Hawaii and to the western states in their RV. Among their favorite destinations; Montana and Glacier National Park in Canada.
Bobbie loved people, animals, arts & crafts and thrift stores. She enjoyed talking with people about their own genealogy and was an avid reader of anthropology and archaeology literature. She was fascinated by world cultures, languages and traditions. Her favorite TV shows were Antiques Roadshow and Finding Your Roots. Her thirst for knowledge and understanding of history never wavered. She was an active researcher and reader right up until her eyes failed her.
Bobbie loved working on her land. She was never more content or happy than when she was outside on her property. She could work entire days in the woods clearing pathways, raking pine needles, stacking firewood. It was not uncommon for Bobbie to work eight straight hours, coming in fatigued with an aching back, only to go back out the very next day to work some more. For years, she walked two miles a day to the mailbox and back, stopping along the way to talk to the neighbor’s horses, goats and other animals. She was determined to stay in her house and on her land, until the very end.
In June of 2021, Bobbie suffered a cardiac event that ended her independence. She sadly had to leave her beloved forest and her treasured home. In August 2021, she moved to Salt Lake City, Utah to be near her daughter. She lived in assisted living, garnering the love and attention of her adoring caregivers and making friends with fellow residents. She made the best of a heartbreaking situation.
Bobbie died peacefully at Pacifica Senior Living, Millcreek, 19 months later. Her daughter was with her as she took her final breath.
Bobbie’s family would like to thank the outstanding caregivers at Pacifica Millcreek for taking Bobbie into their hearts and caring for her with the same love and kindness Bobbie showed others. She loved her Pacifica family, and we are eternally grateful for their extraordinary care of our dear mother. We would also like to thank Bobbie’s hospice team for shepherding her and us through the final stages of her life and death. Words can’t adequately express how thankful we are to all of you.
Bobbie is survived by her children Dan (California), Tom (South Dakota) and Suzy (Utah). She also leaves behind six grandchildren Ryan (California), Katy (Colorado), Kim (Michigan), Heather (Colorado), Emily (California) and Samantha (Arizona) and four great grandchildren Suzy, Izzy, Marshall and Eleanor. She is also survived by husband, Dennis Bailey.
Bobbie requested cremation and for her ashes to be scattered in the mountains and woods she so dearly loved.
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