Weather data OK.
Deer Park
73 °F
Weather details

Retired constable, radio personality Bill Bailey dies at 78

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in News

Bill BaileyIN NEWS
From humble beginnings as a radio dj hopping across the country to becoming the driving force behind the country music radio surge in the 1970s, Bill Bailey led a life as grand as Texas. The radio personality and former Pct. 8 constable died Thurday at the age of 78.

Bill Bailey largePhoto provided by Harris County Pct. 8 Constables Office.Former Harris County Pct. 8 Constable Bill Bailey died Thursday at a local hospital. He was 78. He is survived by many family members, including Deer Park City Councilwoman Rae Sinor.

The larger-than-life figure was known throughout the area as a radio deejay, law enforcement official, philanthropist and voice of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Born Milton Stanley in Galena Park, he bounced around several radio stations in from Temple to El Paso to Corpus Christi. After on-air work in Des Moines, Iowa and Peoria, Ill., he relocated his family back to Galena Park where he worked for a local funeral home.

It was when he returned to the Houston area that the Bill Bailey persona was born.

He walked into the station as Milton Stanley asking the KTHT radio station about a job. He walked out as Bill Bailey and became arguably the country’s most famous radio country deejay.

It was by total luck he landed the job and name. The station had hired another deejay named Bill Bailey and had marketed him heavily to the Houston listeners. After two weeks, that Bill Bailey quit the job.

Stanley happened to visit the station the same day, and after performing an aircheck, he was offered the job on the condition he rename himself Bill Bailey. Two years later, Bailey moved to KIKK and kicked off the powerful surge of Houston country music radio.

Under Bailey’s guidance, the station trademarked the famous Boot-I-Boot-Boot logo and “I’m a Kicker” and “Kick-up Truck” phrases.

In 1982, Bailey left radio and chose a different path, running to fulfill the unexpired term of the late Precinct Constable Charlie Isbell in 1982. He served in that role until his retirement in May 2011.

He was the first Constable in Texas to serve as president of the Texas Association of Counties in 2002 and was a long time member of the Justice of the Peace and Constables Association. He was very active in many local organizations and was a strong believer in county government and its role to the citizens.

“Many of us here at Precinct 8, myself included, joined the ranks of this agency under Bill Bailey’s leadership,” said Phil Sandlin, who succeeded Bailey as Precinct 8 constable. “I was honored to serve under Constable Bailey for so many years and to work alongside him as a member of this law enforcement family. He ran a tight ship, but you always knew he was there to guide and help you in any way he could. He was a big part of many of our lives and will truly be missed.”

Sandlin said Bailey’s death leaves a large hole in the region.

“He was a legend, not just in law enforcement, but in our communities like Deer Park, Pasadena, La Porte and Houston,” said Sandlin. “He was so generous financially and with his time and resources. He was always volunteering and emceeing different events and didn’t ask for a penny. Bill Bailey was so many things to so many people.”

Joel Cowley, HLS& Rodeo president and CEO released a statement shortly after Bailey’s death Thursday afternoon:

“The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo today lost one of its biggest ambassadors with the passing of "The Constable," Bill Bailey. Bill was more than a Show Lifetime Vice President or one of our past RodeoHouston announcers —he was a true friend to so many of us. He represented the Texas-sized heart of the Show, and our volunteers, staff, and the many young Texans he helped through the years will miss him tremendously."

Bailey’s booming voice was the backdrop for some of the rodeo’s greatest events dating back to the Sam Houston Coliseum. He was also the mastermind behind the development of the World Championship Barbecue Cook-Off held at the Houston show.

Before his retirement, Bailey took note of the legacy he built through the different stops he made in his career.

“I find it to be a wonderful life that I have lived. I am the richest man in town because of those friendships .... I still go back to using the standard of what my parents would think. My goal as a man is to be a man worthy of being a servant at my father's table.”

Services for Bailey have yet to be announced.