Sharon Bailey, a retired elementary school teacher who devoted her life to family and the communities she lived in, died Wednesday after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 72.

Mrs. Bailey taught for more than 30 years at schools across southern Maine. In her early years, she operated a preschool in Gray and taught at Cathedral School and Presumpscot School in Portland.

She taught primarily kindergarten and first grade at schools within Maine School Administrative District 6. She taught at Edna Libby School and George E. Jack School in Standish. Before retirement, she taught at Steep Falls Elementary School and also did consulting work.

“She really cared about the kids in her classes,” said her daughter, Kerri Willette of the Bronx, New York. “Working with the other teachers was very fulfilling to her. Teaching was her strength.”

Mrs. Bailey was remembered by her two children Friday as a kind and giving woman who often thought of others before herself. Her daughter shared many stories of her mother’s generosity and love for family.

Willette said her mother worked a second job so they would never go without. She said her mother opened her home to anyone who needed a place to stay. She took care of several family members, including her grandmother and parents.

“She was pretty incredible in that way,” her daughter said. “She was a very pragmatic person. She did what needed to be done.”

In 1995, she married her second husband, Bruce Bailey. The couple lived in Meddybemps for 17 years. About seven years ago, they bought a house in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they spent winters.

Mrs. Bailey was active in the Second Baptist Church in Calais and the East Side Baptist Church in Florida.

Willette said her mother played the piano during church services, and ran children’s programs and Bible study classes over the years.

“In her free time, she loved playing the piano,” her daughter said. “She always had a nice garden and a nice yard.”

The Baileys’ house in Maine burned down in October, and they moved to Florida. She was diagnosed with cancer in December.

“I’ll miss being able to call and talk to her,” Willette said. “I know her grandchildren will miss her a lot, too. She will be missed.”

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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