Mary Fonelle Williams Bailey


As her older sister Shirley sat in a front yard tree watching for the stork to fly in, Mary Fonelle Williams was delivered at her family home in Cokeville. The daughter of Robert Calvin Williams and Amanda Sizemore Williams, she was born on May 29, 1924. 

She spent her early years in Cokeville; Montpelier, Idaho; and on the family ranch in Big Piney. She often spoke of a childhood filled with catching tadpoles and watching them grow into frogs, trying to teach a pet magpie to talk, and the joy of riding horses. Because of the harsh Wyoming winters and the difficulty of getting from the ranch to town, she spent some of her school years staying with family in Utah and Idaho.

Her senior year she attended Big Piney High School and on the first day of class, a young man from LaBarge, Virgil Vernon Bailey, caught her eye. They dated off and on until Virgil joined the army in 1944 during World War II. After Virgil returned from the war, they resumed dating and were married on Oct. 25, 1946, in Evanston. Two children, Lana Kay and Virgil Vernon Jr., were blessed to have them as parents. 

Virgil and Mary bought and operated the LaBarge Mercantile in LaBarge, before buying and running their cattle ranch in Cokeville. Years later, they sold the ranch and bought the Cokeville Mercantile. During this time, Mary blessed many lives with her delicious cooking, her beautiful crocheted afghans, her ceramics and her many acts of love, kindness and charity.

Mary and Virgil were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and their marriage was solemnized on April 15, 1971, in the Logan, Utah, temple. Mary served in many callings and held a firm faith in her Savior.

This sweet woman passed away on Saturday, Aug. 24, at her daughter’s home in Layton, Utah. Her beloved parents and siblings all preceded her in death. She was the youngest sister of Russell (Ferne) Short, Harriett (D’Orr) Cozzens, Shirley (James) Luce and Catherine Mae (John) MacNeil.

She is survived by her daughter, Lana (Craig) Dimond; son, Vern Bailey; 10 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren and another great-grandchild due in January. She also is survived by loving nieces, nephews, friends and neighbors.

According to her wishes, graveside services will be held at the Kemmerer Cemetery at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31. The family would like to express their gratitude to Inspiration Hospice as well as angels on both sides of the veil for their help and care for Mary during her last days.

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