Evelyn Vita Bailey
10/27/1946 — 07/13/2022
Webster, New York
Evelyn Bailey, a tireless advocate and leader for the LGBTQ community in Rochester, NY died on July 13, 2022. She is known as the “Historian and Archivist of the Rochester LGBTQ Community.”
Her proudest/loudest accomplishment was archiving Rochester, NY gay history. She did this by conducting oral histories, producing the documentary Shoulders to Stand On, promoting the digitizing of the Empty Closet Newspaper and the New Women’s Times, creating the Rainbow Dialogues and founding The Evelyn Bailey Shoulders to Stand On Endowed Fund at the Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library.
Evelyn’s life was eclectic and interesting:
She graduated from State College, Boston in 1968 and received a MED in Counseling from Brockport.
Following her early Catholic faith, she entered the Order of the Cenacle, where she served from 1972-1978. She came out as a lesbian in 1978 and began a lifelong dedication to living her true self. That included fighting for the rights of others in the LGBTQ community. From 1978 – 1996 she was a Math Teacher at Aquinas Institute.
In 1996 she purchased and ran her company, Professional Tutoring Service, closing it just weeks ago.
Evelyn was “Boston Irish”, something she never forgot and never gave up. Her Boston accent was strong and pronounced throughout her lifetime. She was so proud of that accent. Her dry humor and wit were legendary.
Evelyn had an uncanny knack of inspiring people to “see it her way” in spite of any hesitation on their part!
It was the key to her success in bringing unlikely individuals and groups together for a common purpose.
She also used it brilliantly to raise money for her major projects: Shoulders to Stand On, Rainbow Dialogues, and the Sue Cowell Scholarship Fund. She was a prolific grant writer and wringer of wallets. She was fearless about asking people for money.
Over the course of her life in activism, Evelyn was involved in every aspect of Gay life. She volunteered, chaired, and sat on the boards of all of the major and minor Gay Rights organizations, commissions and projects. She amassed a portfolio of awards and honors including the Susan B. Anthony Champion Award (2022), Empire State Pride Agenda Community Service Award (2014); American Association of University Women Community Leadership Award in Education (2014), Bernhardt Annual Archives Award for Excellence in Documenting NY’s History (2016). In June 2022 both the County of Monroe and The City of Rochester proclaimed her the official archivist of LGBTQ History in the Rochester Region.
She is predeceased by her parents: Ethel R. Alemi Bailey and John Richard Bailey and her brother, Richard Harold Bailey. Surviving her are her cousins: Vita Loiacano and Vita Berry; Vita’s Loiacano’s children Susan (Brad) Antoniazzi; Paul (Maryellen) Loiacano and Steven (Michelle) Loiacano and her cat, Silver
Also surviving are Evelyn’s former partners, Claire Parker and Lynn Varricchio; daughter Samantha Berrios; Grandsons: Anthony and Dominic Varricchio, Humberto and Nicholas Berrios: Great Grand Children: Mia, Lettie, Aubrianna, Amina, Neo. She is also survived by her business assistant, Wanda Barber.
There are legions LGBTQ community members, friends and supporters who mourn, miss and are forever grateful to have known her and benefited from her work. She is especially loved and admired by her longtime lesbian sisters and gay brothers, whom she considered family.
Evelyn had a deep love for horses and owned Brandy and TD. She rode for many years with a cadre of wild women.
Her friends and family would like to thank her caring UR Wilmot Cancer Institute team: Dr. Karen Mustain, Dr. Richard Dunne, Dr. Nicole Bubie and Suelynn Richards.
Her Life Celebration will be held on Sunday, July 24, 2022, 2-4 pm, Rochester Riverside Convention Center.
Gifts in Evelyn’s memory may be made to The Evelyn Bailey Shoulders to Stand On Endowed Fund at the Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library at www.ffrpl.org
Evelyn’s life was a beacon, a guide and an inspiration to countless of us wanting to make a difference in our community. She led the way and encouraged everyone to come together and work toward a better world for all. I shall always stand on her loving shoulders… 💜
Evelyn worked tirelessly for our community. She was visionary and inclusive, she valued everyone and encouraged each person to give to their full potential. She will be greatly missed.
You have touched so many of our lives. You lifted us up, pushed us when we needed to be pushed, and listen to our stories. You are forever in my heart and soul. Till we meet again sweet warrior…❤️
Evelyn was a treasure in the community and a true gift to all who were blessed to know her. Her commitment to serving others is exemplified by a life of service and a dedication to documenting and archiving the history of the Rochester LGBTQ community. It was an honor to know her, help her archive and call her friend. While she will be truly missed by all, her memory will be enshrined in our history and her legacy will live on. Rest in peace dear soul, as you fly with the angels. 💕
Words can not express the extreme gratitude we both have for our Sister Evelyn. Evelyn was always there for fund raising for Rosie’s
dinners or support of Rosie’s woman’s baseball team. Evelyn also freely gave of her time and talent to the GRAB AAUW House as she taught
us the best way to make our chandeliers shine or clean our marble statue in the main hallway. We were truly family over the yearsand our memories
will make us smile. And yes, Evelyn, I will honor your ask and keep the AAUW archives, which you started, up to date!
May you Rest In Peace my Friend.
I just discovered this link, when going thru old messages.
But that certainly doesn’t negate what I’d like to add to the thoughts of others for Evie Bailey.
She simply was wonderful in so many ways- & Robin and I miss her greatly. I’ve known EB ever since about 1985, & like so many others have testified- she was extraordinary.
She also was the finest friend: a fierce advocate for her beliefs, and Yes- a warrior…..& the most loyal friend ever.
Evie often stopped through our home in Conway, MA., on her way to or from Boston. We loved every visit, AND we always had the most amazing political discussions.
Evelyn was one of a kind…. such a unique person.
I will always miss her, & treasure our times together.