Jeannie Thomas "Tomi" (Durnal) Bailey, age 74, of Watauga, South Dakota, passed away at her home, filled with love and surrounded by her husband, son and daughter, on the morning of Tuesday, February 23, 2021.
Tomi was born on September 4, 1946 in Bridgeport, NE, to Tom and Jean (Nerud) Durnal. She graduated from Bayard High School in 1965 and attended Chadron State College, where she met her husband, Michael Bailey. They were united in marriage on August 24, 1968 at the 1st Methodist Church in Bayard, NE. The couple later made their primary home in Watauga, South Dakota where they spent their lives farming and ranching, which also included the farm at Big Springs, NE. The couple raised two children Christopher (Zeke) and Tamara.
Tomi was lover of life and never knew a stranger. She was the youth group leader and VBS teacher for many years at the 1st Presbyterian Church in McIntosh, SD. She had strong community involvement, being a member of the Watauga Women’s Club helping to run the children’s annual Halloween party, often checking on local elderly and offering a plate of food or hot cup of coffee to anyone in need.
She was a fair to middling cribbage player and a staunch Nebraska Husker and Dallas Cowboy football fan, even in their bad years. She loved her coffee to the point she drank it cold. Tomi was an amazing cook, taught by her mother, a so-so, bowler and golfer but a cake baker extraordinaire. Many neighbors and friends were blessed with wedding, shower and birthday cakes made by her hands. She was also a proficient seamstress making baby blankets and doll clothing for her grandchildren.
Raised on a cattle ranch in the shadow of Chimney Rock, she learned her way around cattle and horses at a young age. In her high school and college years she qualified for high school national finals rodeos where she set and held several records there. She competed in barrels, poles and breakaway roping, well into adulthood. She loved raising cattle often volunteering for the night shift check, which she did horseback, usually with a sleeping child in tow. She continued to check cattle until the very end.
Later in life, Tomi took immense joy spending time with her grandchildren, baking them cookies, going to their sporting events, making their wedding cakes and later, baby blankets for her great grandchildren.
Tomi was loved by everyone who knew her, but loved most by her husband, daughter, son and grandchildren. For as much as she was loved, we knew we were loved more. The light and energy she left behind, far out shined our own. She was a best friend to many, including her daughter, sisters Sally and Judy and close friends Kelly and Toots. She was audacious, adventurous and kind and she will be deeply missed.
She is survived by her husband; Michael Bailey; 1 son, Chris (Dena) Bailey; 1 daughter, Tamara (Matt) Cooper; 2 sisters; Judy Durnal; Sally (Jerry) Weekes; grandchildren; Austin (Ashley) Bailey; Summer (Mason) Steinmetz; Jett (Hannah) Bailey; Carson Bailey; Bailey Thomas Cooper; and great-grandchildren; Baylor, Weston, Emma and Logan; as well as many nieces and nephews and cousins.
She is preceded in death by her parents Tom and Jean Durnal and an infant sister Kathleen May.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a in Watauga, South Dakota.
Graveside Service and burial will be held at a later date at Chimney Rock Cemetery in Bayard, Nebraska.
Online condolences may be given at www.drauckerfh.com by clicking the share a memory button.
A memorial has been established in her memory.
Draucker Funeral Home of Ogallala is assisting the Bailey family with arrangements.
To send flowers to Jeannie "Tomi" Bailey's family, please visit our floral store.