Longtime LGBT residents of Charlotte will remember Stokley Bailey. Along with his wife Nila Bailey, the two founded Charlotte’s chapter of PFLAG in 1986. They were also instrumental in bringing the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) to Charlotte and helped start Time Out Youth.
Nila and Stokley Bailey
Nila Bailey preceeded her husband in death when she passed away at 80 in 1998. Stokley passed away Dec. 7, 2006, at the age of 90.
For many, the two were revered as parental figures for Charlotte’s LGBT community during much of the ’80s and ’90s.
Always advocates for human rights, the Baileys helped plan PFLAG’s 1991 international convention in Charlotte. The LGBT community gave back to the Baileys in 1995 by creating The Nila snd Stokley Bailey PFLAG Scholarship Fund, which benefits deserving LGBT students. Today that fund serves as a monument for the devotion the Baileys had for the city’s LGBT community.
A child of the Depression era, early on Stokley Bailey had pursued a musical career. “He played guitar and sang,” said daughter Sandra Bailey. “But after the Depression he felt he needed to get a job and take care of his family. He continued to play and sing though, all throughout his life.”
Stokley and Nila met at the age of 15 and married five years later when she turned 20 and he had already turned 21. They were married for 60 years and together as a couple for 65.
Sandra Bailey recalled her father as a man who loved all animals and was always willing to help in times of need. “He was always there when you needed him. When I was a child we made him an honorary Brownie because he was always around, doing something,” she laughed. “He was the kindest, most gentle man I’ve ever known. I was truly blessed to have my parents.”
Sandra Bailey requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Stokley’s name to the scholarship fund, with checks payable to UNC Charlotte Foundation, Attn. Stephanie Cole, Office of University Development, UNC Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28223-0001. On the check’s memo line write “Bailey/PFLAG Scholarship/In memory of Stokley.”