Cover photo for Frank L. Bailey's Obituary
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1932 Frank 2024

Frank L. Bailey

November 18, 1932 — July 5, 2024

Franklin “Frank” L. Bailey

November 18, 1932 – July 5, 2024

Frank Bailey of Firth, Idaho, passed away peacefully on July 5, 2024, at the age of 91. Frank spent his entire life in the Firth area and made numerous friends over the span of nine decades.

Frank was the first one in his family born to Riley Franklin Bailey and Eleanore Nickerson. He was followed six years later by Fawn, his one and only sibling and sister. Frank’s early days centered around helping around the farm and playing in the nearby river bottoms with his friends. It was there that he developed a life-long love of the outdoors. While he loved the Firth area, his second great love was the Swan Valley area where he would go to see aunts, uncles and cousins and play in the meadows and streams that are now covered by Palisades reservoir. It remained part of him for the rest of his life.

Frank was schooled in Firth and graduated from Firth High School. While in school he met the sister of one of his best friends, Kent Ockerman. Her name was Melba Ockerman, and it did not take him long to fall in love and marry her. They started out in the Basalt area. While there, Frank built his first house which still stands today. By today's standards it is quite small and simple, but back then it was a mansion to them. 

Desiring to have his own place in the country, Frank took Melba and his four young children to the west side of the Snake River and purchased his dream 80-acre farm. This was in 1966 and he remained there until just this past week when he passed away. He grew alfalfa, corn and wheat and dabbled in raising livestock. His work ethic was so strong that most of the time when he took vacation from his full-time job, he didn’t go anywhere as he was content to stay home and work on the farm. He developed the ability to do a little of everything and became the master of almost anything he did. He loved his neighbors on the surrounding farms and remained friends with them his entire life.

He had many jobs. Working at Challenge Creamery, he lost the tips of two of his fingers. His primary career centered around the INEL site where he was a pipe fitter and later a maintenance supervisor. He retired early from the site and was able to center his efforts on his small farm. In retirement he enjoyed traveling with Melba and their friends to various parks and scenic locations around the area. Frank and Melba always wanted a cabin, so they built a small one on their place and later a much bigger one in the Cave Falls area near Ashton. They loved getting away to the cabin. Unfortunately, Melba was diagnosed with lung cancer and their traveling days were shortened. Melba passed away in April of 2009 and until Frank’s final days he sorely missed her. His final years were usually spent tinkering around the farm and receiving visits from his family and friends. He truly enjoyed this area and really had no desire to leave the place he always called home.

Frank is survived by four children, Vivian (Gary) Hansen of Shelley, JoLynn (Mark) John of Malad, John (Gina) Bailey of Firth, and Mike (Lisa) Bailey of Idaho Falls. In addition to his surviving children, Frank was blessed with 7 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, and 1 great great grandchild. He is preceded in death by a daughter Kathryn, his wife Melba, his parents Riley and Eleanore, his sister Fawn, and of course many of his four-legged dog friends on the farm. 

The family would like to thank those that took such good care of him in his later years. His numerous nurses from Nuclear Care Partners became his friends, and the family appreciates each one of them. A truly special thanks to his son, John, who always checked on dad, along with Vivian, and made his final days comfortable.

There will be no public viewing. A private graveside service will be held Tuesday, July 9, 2024, for family members. Interment will be in the Riverview Cemetery alongside his wife Melba . . . and Firth will always be his home into eternity.


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