Pauline Joy Bailey, 95

Published 8:36 am Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Pauline Joy Bailey, 95

Pauline Joy Bailey, age 95, passed away January 1, 2024 in Eagan, Minnesota.

Pauline was born at her home near Harmony, Minnesota on May 28, 1928, the daughter of Paul and Sarah (Soum) Bigalk. She attended a one-room country school house through 8th grade, and in 1946 she graduated from Harmony High School. Education was very important to the family and she was encouraged to attend college. Pauline was always interested in chemistry and science, and she recalls talking to her father about a child she knew who had died from leukemia and she thought there should be a cure. She went on to be the first woman to graduate from Luther College with a degree in Chemistry.

Following graduation, Pauline taught school for one year in McCook, Nebraska. After that year she had to return home to Minnesota to look after the family as her mother was very sick. It was while her mother was in the hospital in La Crosse that Pauline learned about Medical Technology from a friend at Gunderson Lutheran and she soon after entered training at Colorado State Hospital in Pueblo.

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Pauline and Bruce met in McCook, Nebraska when Bruce noticed her in the church choir and his mother invited her for Thanksgiving dinner. Their first date was a picnic in the snow. They were married in McCook in 1953 and lived in San Antonio, Texas where Bruce was in the Air Force and Pauline began working at Baptist Memorial Hospital. When Bruce was discharged, they moved to Lincoln, Nebraska where Pauline worked in a bacteriology lab at the University of Nebraska on a thermopile project and the reproduction of mutant bacterial cells.

In 1957 they moved to a farm near Harmony, Minnesota where Pauline worked for several doctors in the area. When a new hospital was built in town, she was responsible for setting up the lab and practiced there as a Medical Technologist.

Following a move to Austin, Minnesota in 1971, Pauline continued her med tech career at the Austin Clinic, but in 1976 was offered a position in the microbiology laboratory at the Research and Development Division of Hormel. She also worked in the nitrosamine laboratory and chemistry laboratory over her career there.

At the age of 82, Pauline retired and she and Bruce spent more time enjoying their common interests. For years they sought out antique shops, long lost ancestors and relatives, as well as great dining and theater. They had season tickets to the New Theater and Restaurant in Kansas City and had the distinction of having been to every play at the Commonweal Theater in Lanesboro for 30 years, except for one. They loved to take their Cadillac on road trips all over the United States and Canada, and visited every state in the lower 48. Family and friends often gathered at their home for dinners and parties.

In order to be closer to family, Pauline and Bruce moved to Eagan, Minnesota in 2014.

Besides her husband Bruce, Pauline is survived by her children Saralee Fassbender and her husband Robert, Paul Bailey and his wife Rebecca (Schallau), and Julie Mayer and husband David; six grandchildren, Elizabeth (Doug Molof); James; Melissa (Chris Taylor), Christoper Bailey and his wife Sharon (Childers); Michael Mayer, Sarah Mayer, and one great-grandson, William Taylor. She is predeceased by her parents, a brother, Donald Bigalk, half-brother, Sam Bigalk, and a sister, Edna Bigalk.

A private memorial service was held at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Apple Valley, Minnesota. Burial will be in Greenfield Lutheran Cemetery, Harmony, Minnesota.