February 11, 1935 - January 2, 2023
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Nancy Elaine Bailey
Feb. 11, 1935 – Jan. 2, 2023
“The most seductive thing about art is the personality of the artist
himself.” Paul Cezanne
Nancy Elaine Bailey was born with a sparkle in her eye, a smile on her
lips, and a zest for living each moment to the fullest that never waned.
She delighted friends and family with her quick humor.
Nancy was raised in Utah by industrious grandparents, Lila and Christy
Anderson. Her mother, Elaine Anderson, died shortly after she was
Lila and Christy took many risks to see their family through the
hardships of the Great Depression and WW11. Nancy’s values stemmed
from the ethics born of those hard times – honesty, hard work,
creativity and the common sense needed to solve difficult problems.
With siblings much older and starting their own lives away from home,
Nancy was often left to entertain herself. She was a spunky whirlwind
climbing into the loneliness of the foothills to scream forbidden swear
words into the wind. Nancy found adventure furnishing a cave not
knowing its inhabitant was a mountain lion. She laughed through a
whitewater raft trip at age 81.
Taking a risk began at an early age. Being independent and strong
became a necessity.
Nancy’s grandparents died when she was 16. She drove to Las Angeles
alone and earned her high school diploma. Soon after, she spent time
at a sister’s home in Maryland. There she met and married Charles
Johnson. They had two children, Cindy and Kirk. Though they divorced
in 1974, they remained life-long friends.
Nancy and second husband Richard Bailey settled in Tucson, AZ.,
following two years in Mexico studying at the Universidad de las
Americas. She later earned a fine arts degree at the University of
Arizona in Tucson.
She designed and built an art studio in her back yard and turned the flat
desert landscape into a shaded oasis worthy of a painting. She used the
walls of her home, inside and out, as a canvas. “Color is everything,”
she often said, and talked about Claude Monet’s comment “Color is my
daylong obsession, joy and torment.”
Nancy was passionate, not only about art, but about living. She rose
before sunrise to walk her beloved Golden Retriever, Stoney, through
the quiet of the university. She never failed to admire a new plant, a
blossom, the lines of a new building, the sun’s rise. Following the walk,
she delighted in a huge breakfast often savoring the last bite hours
Nancy was an avid reader, particularly delighting in the wit of Mark
Twain. She kept up with current events and enjoyed taking her strong
political views into spirited debates.
Nancy is survived by her daughter Cynthia Johnson and husband Ron
Cornelius and Cindy’s son Anders Stromberg; son Kirk Johnson and wife
Lisa, and sons Nate Johnson and Gabe Johnson.
Rather than flowers, Nancy would prefer donations be made to any
animal shelter of your choice.