Gloryann Marie Harrington Baily

Gloryann Marie Harrington Baily

Glo Baily passed away quietly at home April 19, 2004 after a long struggle with cancer. These pages are dedicated to her memory. She was my best friend and companion for about twenty years.


Gloryann Marie "Glo" Baily, 53, formerly of Kenai, died peacefully at home in Anchorage at 9:05 a.m., April 19, 2004. Mrs. Baily was diagnosed with lung cancer with brain metasteses in November of 2000. The brain involvement was radiated in 2001, but returned with a vengeance in the fall of 2003. She was non smoker.

A visitation and service will be held at 2 PM, Friday, April 23, at Evergreen Memorial Chapel in Anchorage. There will be a memorial service at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Kenai on Saturday, April 24 at 1 PM. A visitation will be held at Hermann Funeral Home in Brighton, MI, on Friday evening, April 30 at 5 pm - 7 pm, and a memorial mass will be given at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Brighton, MI on Saturday, May 1 at 1 pm. Burial will be in Southfield, MI, at Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery, 25800 W. Ten Mile.

Mrs. Baily was born Jan. 15, 1951, in Detroit, MI, to Donald J. and Monica L. (O'Callaghan) Harrington.

She graduated from Marian High School in Birmingham, MI in 1969, earned her BA from Central Michigan University and obtained her Master's degree from the University of Alaska, Anchorage

Recruited by the Kenai Peninsula School District in 1977, she taught Special Services at Nikiski and North Star elementary schools, retiring in 2003. She was a member of Phi Delta Kappa and Kappa Delta Pi education honor societies.

Mrs. Baily was active in her church, teaching Sunday school and helping with choir. She earned her pilot's license in1984. She loved making clothes for her friends' and relatives' children. Camping, hiking, and kayaking were activities she enjoyed every summer. She was an avid reader.

Friends and colleagues wrote about her wonderful smile, sense of humor, positive attitude, and friendly and vibrant nature. "She brought excitement and a spirit of collaboration to her job. She had a talent for bringing out the best in her students, her co-workers and parents. She had the gift of empathy and set her students up for success. We've all missed her loving, gentle, special touch."

She is survived by her husband and friend of 20 years, Nathan O. Baily of Anchorage; her father of Brighton, MI; sister Donnamarie Harrington of Royal Oak, MI; sister and brother-in-law Rosemary and Tom, nieces and nephew Olivia, Katherine and Adam Bloomer of Birmingham, MI; brother Robert Harrington of Southfield, MI; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her mother and a daughter, Meghan.

Mrs. Baily enjoyed listening to public radio and urged its support. Contributions may be made in her name to your local NPR/PBS stations, the American Cancer Society or your Lung Assn.

Gloryann was buried in Southfield, MI. on May 1, 2004.

I visited the site again around Thanksgiving, 2005.

And again in 2006 and 2007. By 2007, I'd gotten the marker done. She had wanted to have an Alaskan motif:


In December of last year (2003) Gloryann was finally able to complete the Master's degree she started in 1998, two years before she was diagnosed with cancer. The article and picture below appeared in the Spring 2004 edition of the College of Education Monitor, University of Alaska.


Gloryann with Dean Snyder and Assoc. Dean Donna Gail Shaw (12/18/03)

I was hired by the Kenai Peninsula School District in 1977 as a resource teacher. In 1998, when UAA offered its M.Ed. program at Kenai Peninsula College, I joined a number of my colleagues and began the coursework, thinking I would be able to finish in three or four years. Unfortunately, in November of 2000 this non-smoker was diagnosed with lung cancer. In addition, I soon learned that the cancer had spread to my brain. Fortunately I had accumulated a lot of sick leave and was able to take a 1/2 year off and get treatment in Minnesota.

I continued my studies as best I could, but began to slip behind my classmates who graduated in 2001 and 2002. My eyesight began to deteriorate in 2001 and I lost vision in my left eye in 2002. The radiation affected my ability to write and think as well as my balance and gait. I had to take incompletes in several classes and was given additional time to finish them out. I finally got all my assignments done in the spring semester of this year and requested an accommodation of some sort for the comps. On December 8 I passed an oral exam. I'm extremely grateful to Donna Gail Shaw and the department of education at UAA for helping me achieve this goal.

Earlier this year my condition forced me to resign my position as the Special Education teacher at North Star Elementary and, after 26 years began retirement. I may never be able to teach again, but finishing this degree means more to me than I can express.


I cannot thank you enough for bringing Gloryann home so we could
say goodbye to her. She was a wonderful kid who grew into a
remarkable woman. That inner strength has been with her from the
first grade. You would have thought she was 6 feet tall and not
the slight angel that she was.
She will be missed and is in our hearts and prayers.

I wonder if you would mind sending me a copy of that lovely photo you took of her in the sock hat.
For me... it encompasses her beauty both inside and out.

I am so glad she found happiness in her relationship with you.
She was very deserving.
Margaret Edgington
(elementary school friend of Glo's)

December, 2004


Dear Friends and Relatives,

I beg your forgiveness for not having thanked you sooner for your cards and letters, prayers, and donations for Gloryann. I also wanted to thank those of you who came to her services, and for all the other help and support extended to me and Glo earlier this year. I put it off so long that it made sense to just wait and combine my thank you's with Christmas greetings. So, here it is: Thank you very much for your support this year and, Seasons Greetings and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!

Now that task's checked off my list! I'm assuming that some of you may not even be aware that she passed away or, if you were not close by may want to know more about her last months and so the rest of this letter will attempt to do that. Also, it will be, I think, somewhat cathartic for me to write down the words and put some closure to this year's sad events.

Glo loved to be with family and friends during the holidays, so I know that some of you receiving this letter may be missing her now especially. For me, it's the first Christmas in over twenty years that I don't have her so there is definitely a void. However, I'm so very grateful that she was able to be have these last three holiday seasons. I know almost with certainty that if she had not gotten the care she did, and if she had not had that indomitable spirit and drive, she would not have made it to the end of 2001, much less to April of 2004.

When she was diagnosed with lung cancer in November of 2000, she was already at Stage IV of the disease. Other women we knew did not make it six months against this same, horrible affliction, so the three and a half years she got was a blessing not only to her, but to her friends and relatives as well as to me. It gave her time to see her nephew and nieces grow up three more years and to give them the chance to know her; time to give her friends, colleagues, relatives, dad, and sibs another 3 yrs of her gentle companionship and sound counsel; time to give her students another 3 yrs of her help; and time to give me another 3 yrs of her unconditional love and understanding. In the end, although it was the hardest job I've ever had, I will value the experience of taking care of her as a privilege for it gave me the time to finally understand who she really was, and time to learn what we really meant to each other.

In March of 2003 she retired from the Kenai School District after 26 years. That summer was a fine one in Alaska and she enjoyed it as best she could. My niece, Gina, and her family came up in July from Denver and we had a wonderful time together. In September, we flew to Denver for my 40th High School Reunion. I was really proud to have her with me there. In the photo below from the reunion, she "Glo'ed" through her weakness and discomfort. We also took a side trip down to Amarillo to see my niece Lisa and her family. After we returned to Anchorage, Glo was given a special graduation ceremony at the University of Alaska, School of Education, for having completed her Masters Degree program. The picture from that is included below, too, and you can see how proud she is to have accomplished that goal. In December, we both went to Michigan for Christmas and New Year's. Then in January we went directly to Parker Hughes Clinic in Minnesota to find out what her 2004 treatment options were to be.

If it had been just the lung cancer that she had had to deal with, she would perhaps still be with us; unfortunately, the brain metastases we thought she'd licked in 2001 had been making a comeback. The prognosis from her oncologist when we got to Minnesota was grim and there were no more treatment options. We returned to Anchorage to try to make her end of life as comfortable as possible. Hope springs eternal, of course, and Gloryann would have tried anything. We searched the Internet for any possibility that might give a glimmer of hope, but the blood/brain barrier is a formidable obstacle to treatment for the fast-moving cancer that was taking over her brain.

There really was nothing left to try-- reality sunk in and she finally accepted the inevitable. At this time she could still walk with help and we celebrated our birthdays with a big, expensive dinner with our best friends, Bob and Mary Humphrey and Mark and Carol Barnhill. But by the end of January she needed a walker, then a wheelchair. By the middle of February she could no longer stand alone, feed herself, or brush her teeth. By the end of the month she was becoming bedridden. By March I needed help from home health care workers in the mornings and afternoons. Between the aides during the day and me before and after work, Glo's needs were met and she was comfortable and pain-free. She said she wanted to make it to spring, at least.

Despite her physical limitations, she could still talk and enjoyed visits from friends. In addition, Sister Barb or Father Gary from Holy Family Church here in Anchorage came in weekly to give her communion, and Father Gary performed the Sacrament of Anointing. Her massage therapist and cranial-sacral chiropractor were also regular guests. She couldn't read by herself, but until the end she liked for me to read to her.

We had a lot of conversations about our twenty years together--the ups and downs, the joys and disappointments. When she thought about the last three years-of all the traveling, all the money it had cost, all the pain and suffering, inconvenience, and sadness--she wondered if it was worth it. Wouldn't it have been better for everyone if she had just done nothing? If she had just let nature take its course?

But I reminded her of the nieces and nephews, her dad, her sisters and brother and, of me. I told her I was selfish, but I was really glad for the three years we got. That it had been an" honor" for me to have known her and that I was blessed that she had let me be her husband. I told her that she was the best thing that had ever happened to me. She stopped me then, and said, "Nathan, you're the best thing to happen to me, too. Thank you for being my husband. I love you. My only regrets are that we didn't do more, take more trips, have more fun, and worry less." Then she told me not to be sad, to move on, and to do things--for her. She promised she'll always be with me. On April 14 she stopped swallowing. By the 17th, could no longer talk, but would answer questions by raising her eyebrows and closing her eyes. On the morning of April 19, she quietly slipped away, a full month into spring, 2004.

I've taken her advice and started to move on. And, whether in Europe, which I visited in September, or in Costa Rica where I went earlier this month, not a day goes by that I don't think of her and sense that she's there.

Life is too short a gift--don't wait to open it. Make 2005 the best year of your life. No regrets.

Costa Rica Canopy Tour, December, 2005

I took a lot of pictures of Glo and there was something about her that almost always gave a good picture.

These were taken between 1984, when we met, and about 2003. I've tried to include shots of her with all of her friends and relatives. If you have one you'd like me to add, send it along.



1990 on the Homer Spit

Our friends, Rocky and Della had a great hot tub with a fantastic view!

In January of 2000, we finally took a real vacation visiting San Francisco, Santa Cruz and
points in between, like Half Moon Bay California-January, 2000

Half Moon Bay and Redwoods in Henry Cowell Park

We got together and threw a going away party for her

Glo and Dad at St Paul cathedral; NOB and Glo at Parker Hughes Cancer Center in Minneapolis;
Peggy, Glo & Dr. Uckan; w/ nieces and nephew; Birthday 2002 @ Clinic

Glo at Parker Hughes with Dr. Uckan on her 50th Birthday; with friends Carol Barnhill and Mary Humphrey;
with friends Deb Barker (deceased 10/18/05) and Jan Wallace; and with father, Don Harrington and aunt Margueritte Harrington

Dad leaving Kenai after a visit in 2002; Glo at work in 2002; and with colleagues Barb Arness and Charmayne Lundy

Glo's retirement party in 2003

My neice Gina and her family visited in 2003; Glo accompanied me to my 40th high school reunion 9/03; Glo and my old friend, Dr. Bob Ruston; dinner in Amarillo w/ my niece Lisa and her family, 9/03


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