The Fayetteville Board of Mayor and Aldermen have unanimously adopted resolutions honoring two men’s many contributions to the city over the last several decades.
Honored were Thomas O. (Tom) Bagley and Thomas E. (Tom) Bailey, both of whom also received standing ovations for their years of service from officials and the audience alike during Tuesday’s meeting of the City Board.
“We have two people who we are going to honor with resolutions this evening for decades of public service that is well deserved,” said Mayor Michael Whisenant as he preceded in reading resolutions highlighting the lives and service of both Bagley and Bailey.
Bagley “provided sound and steady guidance to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Fayetteville for over 41 years until his retirement from the position of City Attorney on Dec. 31, 1997, making him one of the longest serving municipal attorneys in the State of Tennessee,” said Whisenant as he read the resolution.
Appointed city attorney on Nov. 5, 1956, Bagley served in the position until his retirement Dec. 31, 1997. During his years of service, he was instrumental in bringing Amana Refrigeration and other industries to the city.
In 2012, following the untimely death of then City Attorney Jim Hereford, Bagley heeded the call of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and agreed to assist the city until a new city attorney could be appointed.
Bagley also represented the citizens of Fayetteville and Lincoln County as a member of the 81st General Assembly in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1959 to 1960.
In addition, he served as judge of Fayetteville’s Municipal Court, as a member of the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Airport Commission, and, in 2009, as a member of and vice chair of the City Charter Advisory Panel, which was tasked with updating Fayetteville’s City Charter.
Born in 1929 in Fayetteville, the son of Charles F. and Jimmie Higgins Bagley, he served in the U.S. Naval Reserve and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in 1951 and then his juris doctorate in 1953, both from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va.
He returned home to Fayetteville in 1953 and engaged in private practice with Robert W. Stevens. Joining the partnership later was R. Whitney Stevens as the law firm of Stevens, Bagley and Stevens was formed. Bagley remained a part of the firm until his retirement in 2002.
He is a member and fellow of the Tennessee Bar Association, and a member and past president of the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Bar Association. He also served the State of Tennessee as a member of the Supreme Court of Tennessee’s Board of Professional Responsibility and as a member of the Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association, of which he also served as president.
As a member of the Fayetteville Rotary Club, of which he served as president, he was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow. He also served as a member and chairman of the board of directors of Union National Bank, and as a member of the board of directors of Amana’s Foerstner Scholarship Foundation.
He has been married to Peggy Bagley for 65 years, and he is the father of Lee Ann Dawkins and Tom Bagley and the grandfather of Lauren Navarrete, Katie Barrett, Owen Bagley, William Bagley, Lauren Northern, and Shane Dawkins.
Bagley is a lifelong member of Fayetteville First Presbyterian Church where he has served in many capacities, including deacon, elder and trustee of the church.
“Thomas O. Bagley is a man of great integrity, who has devoted his life to service of others and his community,” the resolution states. “He is known to many as a friend and a wise and steady counselor.”
“Whereas, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen deems it appropriate to pass this resolution honoring Thomas E. Bailey for his tireless assistance to the City of Fayetteville,” said Whisenant as he read a resolution honoring the second man of the night.
While working as a consulting civil engineer, Bailey has assisted the city with projects “too numerous to count” but most recently with the Camp Blount development and numerous drainage projects. He has also assisted Fayetteville Public Utilities with several utility ventures.
In addition, Bailey has served as a member of the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Industrial Board, the Fayetteville Regional Airport Authority, the Fayetteville Building Code Board of Appeals, Fayetteville Regional Planning Commission, and the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce.
Bailey earned his degree in civil engineering from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., in 1953, and served in the U.S. Army’s 503rd Engineer Company in Europe from 1953 to 1955 as a recon team leader performing road and airfield projects.
He was employed by Stearns-Roger Manufacturing Co. in Denver, Col., from 1956 to 1958 and by Brown Engineering Co. in Huntsville, Ala., from 1958 to 1972. It was during that time, in 1960, when he and his family established their home in Fayetteville.
From 1974 to 1988 he was employed by the Tennessee Valley Authority in Nashville and from 1988 to 1996 by the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma. While working for UTSI, he earned a master’s degree in aviation systems.
During his time here in Fayetteville, he served as a member of the Fayetteville Civitan Club, of which he was also president.
He and his wife, Betty Lou Bailey, have been married for 62 years. He is the father of Thomas Mark Bailey of Seattle, Wash., Thomas Alan Bailey of Shelbyville, and Thomas Lynn Bailey of Denver.
He is a member of the Fayetteville First Presbyterian Church where he has served in many capacities, including trustee and building committee chair.
“Thomas E. Bailey is a man of great integrity, who has devoted his life to service to others and his community,” states the resolution. “Those members of the city staff, who have had the honor of working directly with Mr. Bailey have found him to be a kind and cooperative cohort with an amazing mastery of his profession, making him the first person to call when a situation that arises that requires engineering services.”