The Baileys, Archie and Ken

By Barbara F. Dyer | Jan 04, 2014
Kenneth E. Bailey

Two of the nicest and most civic minded men in Camden were Archibald K. Bailey and his son, Kenneth E. Bailey. They were wonderful workers to have in our town.

Actually, Archie was born in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, Jan. 5, 1922, to Edward Samuel and Anne Millar Bailey. He graduated from high school in Regina, Saskatchewan, in the Class of 1940. As World War II had stated in England, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force as a squadron leader. He served his country for six years and survived two plane crashes. In Moncton, New Brunswick, where he worked as an air traffic controller, he met the love of his life, Isabel Payson. She was a Camden girl, who had graduated from Camden High School in the Class of 1943. They were a prominent family in town, as her father owned Hodgeman’s Footwear and also a men’s clothing store. Her uncle, Allen Payson, was the fire chief of Camden. On their date, Archie and Isabel had a ride in a rumble seat and were married on Armistice Day in 1948.

They moved to her hometown of Camden in 1951 and raised two boys, Kenneth and Robert. Kenneth remained here and Robert lived in Alaska and the state of Washington.

Archie worked first in his father-in-law's store and later owned and operated Hodgeman’s Footwear. He was active in the community as a member of the Lion’s Club, served as president of the District Nursing Association and former board member, member of the Camden Y. M. C. A. and several town committees. He served for years on the Camden Parking Committee. No matter what the day brought, Archie always had a smile for everyone he met. He became a naturalized citizen on the 14th of July, 1994.

It was a sad day for all May 6, 2012, when Archie died. Besides his widow and two sons, he left a brother-in-law, Maurice Payson, Jr., three grandchildren: Aaron, Michele and Jessica: great-grandchildren Madison, Gavin and Tripp Bailey and Zachery and Griffin Ridlon: nephew Michael Payson and niece, Marilyn Payson, and three great-nephews.

Archie was buried at Mountain View Cemetery.

Isabel and Archie’s son, Kenneth, was born in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, Oct. 22, 1949. Because his parents came to Camden to live, he went to school here and graduated from Camden-Rockport High School. Ken did a tour of duty in the United States Army in Vietnam.

He met his future wife, Sandra Thurston from Rockport, when she was 13 years of age. They remained high school sweethearts, and married on the 19th of July in 1969. They had 43 happy years together. They raised a son, Aaron and a daughter, Michelle, living first in Camden and about 2001 they moved to Hope.

Ken was owner/manager of Hodgeman’s Footwear for 10 years. He wrote columns “In the Field” after he became a Master Maine Guide and also operated Wilderness Ways Guide Service. As one of his endeavors, he took people fishing on Megunticook Lake and other places. If you always wanted to catch a salmon, Ken would see that it would happen. He knew Megunticook Lake better than anyone around .He was managing editor of the local Camden Herald. In the mid-eighties, they put out an issue with an insert of 100 years of history in Camden, for which he was responsible. He was managing editor and outdoor editor with VillageSoup.

Kenneth “wore many hats” because there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do. He was director of the Camden Parks and Recreation Department during which his idea of the National Toboggan Championships began in 1991. It is still a crowd-drawing event at Camden Snow Bowl in February of each year with people from all over the United States and some foreign countries. Of the many things he did, he felt this was his best endeavor. It brought many people to Camden, added to the Snow Bowl’s importance and was fun for all. He served 28 years with the Megunticook Watershed Association; most of that time as Lake Warden, and in 2004 he became Executive Director/Lake Warden for eight years until his death.

When a dozen people were on the committee for the dedication of the new Honor Roll in 2007, Ken was always willing and able. Chairman, Rodney Lynch, would say that we need extra police protection as there might be protestors. Ken would say, “I’ll take care of that.” It was the best committee I was ever on and everyone was ready with no arguments, but Ken volunteered for many of the duties to pull off this memorable event. He was a perfect Master of Ceremonies that day, with a nice and clear voice and always a great sense of humor. He emceed the Sea Goddess Pageant at the Rockland Lobster Festival for 22 years. He served on the Camden Select Board for six years. Ken was a Reserve Officer with the Camden Police Department and twelve years as a member of the Camden Volunteer Fire Department. Because of the many things he did for his community, he was awarded Townsperson of the Year from the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce.

His passion was hunting and fishing, but he always found time to be a part of Camden in many ways. He was a member of the West Bay Rotary Club, and he received their highest honor as a Paul Harris Fellow. He served on the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Camden Area Y. M. C. A. Board of Directors; member of the Maine Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council and Volunteer Water Quality Monitor for 27 years. As I mentioned recently in my column about Joseph Sawyer, Ken and Joe were responsible for controlling Megunticook River in storms, so Camden wouldn’t be flooded.

Kenneth Bailey died at age 62 on July 10, 2012, after a long battle with cancer. He did so much for the whole town that loved him, that on July 18, 2012, a Celebration of his life took place at Camden Snow Bowl, of which he had been a big part. Things are just not the same in Camden without Archie and Ken Bailey.

Barbara Dyer is Camden's official town historian.

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