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Hugh Adair Bailey, age 85, passed away on Tuesday January 7, 2020. Born September 13, 1934 in Bristol, VA, he is preceded in death by his wife of 45 years, Ellen Arlene Bailey as well as by his father and mother, John and Marilyde Bailey and brother, John Bailey Jr. He is survived by his children and their spouses, Benjamin and Dawn Bailey, Amy and Sebastien Galtier, Bonnie and Christopher Bowers, and Timothy Bailey, as well as grandchildren Sean, Hunter, Liam, Bailey, Ellen, and Alex.

Hugh received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Berea College and a Master of Fine Arts in ceramics from Indiana University. He worked for 41 years as a graphic designer for the University of Tennessee Publications Service Bureau. After retirement, he devoted himself full-time to his art; he is well-known locally for his whimsical watercolors and pottery which often depicted fanciful animals. Hugh said that nothing teaches humility and patience as much as learning to throw pots on a potter’s wheel, an activity he enjoyed for the past 65 years. Hugh’s life reflects this statement; he was humble, kind, and generous in words and deed.

Hugh was very active in the arts communities in Knoxville, Oak Ridge, Asheville and Chattanooga and was a past President of the Southern Highland Craft Guild and the Knoxville Watercolor Society. He was also a member of the Art Market Gallery, the Appalachian Arts Craft Center, and the Foothills Craft Guild. He was dedicated to keeping traditional Appalachian crafts alive and did annual demonstrations of pottery at the Museum of Appalachia. Hugh regularly donated his artwork to charitable organizations such as the Humane Society of Anderson County, Peninsula Hospital’s Art for Mental Health auction, and the Art of Healing Gallery at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

Hugh taught ceramics classes at Berea College, Indiana University, the Appalachian Arts Craft Center, the Oak Ridge Art Center and others where he introduced several generations of students to the wonders of working with clay, passing along his love of art and his enthusiasm for getting his hands messy in order to create something beautiful. He inspired countless people of all ages to create art.

Hugh was a devoted sports fan, sharing the thrills and tribulations of rooting for the University of Tennessee Volunteers, Indiana University Hoosiers, and San Francisco Giants. He loved classical music and regularly answered the music quiz on public radio station WUOT; his collection of WUOT mugs goes back more than 20 years. He was a life-long learner and avid reader who read the newspaper cover-to-cover every day.

Hugh was especially kind to animals and children. He would buy hamburgers for himself and his dogs then go to the park to enjoy them together. When he demonstrated pottery-making, children would flock around him, touching and pinching the pots he had already made. He never got upset; he would just let them get on the potter’s wheel to try for themselves.

Looking back, Hugh’s life was a beautiful piece of art, sometimes messy in creation, full of humor, wit, and interesting stories, always kind and generous, and absolutely unique.

A celebration of life service will be held at 1:00 Saturday at the Berry Highland Memorial Funeral Home, 5315 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919. Details of a post-memorial gathering will be announced at the service.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent to the Humane Society of Anderson County (969 Oak Ridge Turnpike, PMB 366, Oak Ridge, TN 37830), WUOT 91.9 FM public radio (209 Communications Building, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-0322), or to an art organization of your choice.

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