Doris Bailey Dies at 87; Was Long Active in Sitka

Doris M. Chapin Bailey

Doris M. Chapin Bailey, a longtime and active member of the community, died March 13 at her home in Sitka, at the age of 87.

She had moved to Alaska in July 1975, and lived in and around Sitka for 45 years, nine months.

Doris was born Feb. 20, 1934, in Blackfoot, Idaho, to Ellis Lewis Chapin and Lena Weltha Andersen. Her father, a commercial photographer for the Sun Valley, Idaho, ski resort, became close friends with many famous people, such as Ernest Hemingway, Gary Cooper, Bing Crosby and others, with Doris enjoying and being photographed with all of them.

Unfortunately, when she was only 8 years old her mother passed away. Her father, unable to take celebrities out on photo shoots to promote Sun Valley and care for a young child, had no choice but to have her live with her mother’s parents in Blackfoot for the next couple of years. By the time she moved back home, her father had married Elaine Miriam Kitchen, in September 1944.

Doris attended the College of Idaho and worked at Sears in Caldwell, Idaho, where she met and in 1953 married Warren John Nanney. During this time she also served as a 2nd lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol as a Commandant of Cadets.

She and Warren had three children together and moved several times through their marriage, finally landing in Watsonville, California, in 1971. After Warren’s death in early 1973, Doris married a close family friend, Roy Daniel Bailey, and shortly thereafter moved to Biorka Island, 15 miles south of Sitka, where Roy worked for the FAA. They moved into Sitka in 1978.

Doris was a hardworking, caring person who was always interested in the community and the betterment of society. She was disciplined, strong and self-powered, achieving many amazing things such as establishing herself in the late 1960s and early ’70s, first by earning her Escrow Officer Certification, and then becoming a branch manager of a Title Insurance Company – an almost unheard-of achievement for a woman.

Later in her years she moved into politics and was elected to the City and Borough Assembly. She also was extremely involved in the Sitka Historical Society, the Alaska Raptor Center, and Fortress of the Bear.

She was an active member of the Alaska Native Sisterhood, and served a term as Sitka chapter president. She was adopted into the Tlingit tribe by Mark Jacobs Jr. (Gushtèiheen) of the Dakl àweidi, during an Alaska Native Brotherhood Grand Camp meeting in 1989, and given the name of Sxaalgèn.

Doris was the author of two wonderful books: “The Hundred Year Stretch and Beyond,” and an in-depth biography of Roy Daniel Bailey called “A Divided Forest.” Both were published by Trafford Publishing.

She loved nature, fishing, hiking and traveling the world with soulmate Roy Bailey.

“It brings the family joy to know that she is once more with Roy,” a family member said.

She was a remarkable woman and will be dearly missed by her family and her abundant friends in the local community and around the world, her family said.

Doris was preceded in death by her husbands, Warren John Nanney in 1973 and Roy Daniel Bailey in 2011.

She is survived by her sisters, Vicki Chapin Eld of Donnelly, Idaho, and Gayle Evonne Chapin, of Boise Idaho; daughters Gayleen R. Jacobs, Anita M. Leonard and Janice D. Walker, all of Sitka; and her son John E. Nanney and daughter-in-law Jeannette K. Nanney, of southwest Washington.

Also surviving are her nieces Yonghee Wright, Cory Bush, Melany Bush and Michelle Eld Lowen; her 15 grandchildren, Thomas L., Heather C., Joel RB, Lena D., Wendy M., Claire A., and Brendan J. Jacobs; Daniel R, and Dennis R. Wilkes; Aaron L. and Lisa M. Pollock; Anasia N. Niel; Bradley G. Walker; and Mellissa Y. and Warren A. Nanney; and 17 great-grandchildren, Yvonne, Dylan, Isabelle, Aiden, Anthony, Roy, Isabella, Henry, Timmy, Riley, Camden, Sophia, Kazue, Holley, Lucy, Kyle and Mykelti (and one expected); and great-great-grandchildren Alyssa and Procter.

Services will be held 11 a.m. March 22, 2021, at Sitka National Cemetery, where she will join her late husband.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the Sitka Historical Society, A form can be printed and sent in or the “Get Involved” tab may be used to donate. 

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