known as Bob, 95, passed away peacefully on Sat June 5, 2010. A Native Arizonan he was born to Estella (Peggy) Martin Bayless and Robert Lee Bayless in Phx., AZ. Nov 22, 1014. His earliest claim to fame was the Most Beautiful Baby Award at the AZ State Fair in 1916. Bob and his family lived way out in the county at 7th St and the Canal. Lee Bayless was a citrus grower and he family lived among the groves. Those were the good old days without electricity or plumbing. Bob rode his horse every day down the Bridal Path on Central Ave to Osborn School at Central and Osborn. He then attended and graduated from Phx Union High School and was a proud Coyote. After graduation, he attended Jr College now know as Phoenix College and went on to the U of A. He pledged Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and was a life long Fiji. Despite reservations about ASU, he helped around the Fiji chapter at the school. While a hasher at the Gamma Phi Beta sorority at the U of A, he met Pauline Hickcox from Inspiration, AZ and they married in 1940 and settled in Phx. Bob worked in the plumbing and heating business for a short time and then his entrepreneurial instincts encouraged him to found his own business. The Valley Sheet Metal Co was founded in 1941 to pursue the new industry of air conditioning. Many, including his father, warned him that people would not pay to pump air into their businesses, much less their homes. Bob ignored this advice and teamed with Carrier Refrig to bring air conditioning to AZ. The rest is history. The State of AZ went from a population of 239,000 when he was born to over 6 million today. We think he had a lot to do with that although one constantly complained about the growth of AZ Bob was active in the Republican Party and served as a precinct committeeman for 30 years. He was a man of many passions, including the U of A (Go Wildcats) , hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, racing hydroplanes, gardening expecially succelents, protecting the Verde River and preserving Squaw Peak. He climbed Squaw Peak into his 80’s and he maintained a trail through his property for hikers. The City of Phx has names this The Bayless Connector Trail. Bob loved all animals and bonded with creatures wild and donmestic. He and Pauline traveled the world, visiting over 60 countries. Their motto,”one by Air, One by Car,” took them as some of the earliest travelers to Vietnam, China, the Arctic Circle and the Alcan Highway. They traveled by Volkswagon or motor home from AZ to Nova Scotia, to Panama, to Baja, Peninsula, and other parts of Mexico, etc. Pauline preferred the jets. Bob is sirvived by his wife of 70 years, Pauline, and his four children, Robert L. Bayless III(Nancy), Betsey Bayless, Kaki Bayless Rowland, and Polly Bayless Fitz-Gerald (Mike). He is also survived by six grandchildren, Bill (Liz) Bayless, Jim Bayless, Rita (Richard) Becker, Chris (Julie) Rowland, Matthew Fitz-Gerald and Mackenzie Fitz-Gerald, seven great-grandchildren, a brother-in-law J. Cole Hickcox and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Peggy and Lee Bayless, his brother Lynn Bayless; his sister Irma Bayless Miller, and his grandson Robert Lee Bayless IV. A Funeral Mass will be said in his honor on Thurs June 10, 2010 at 10 am, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 4715 N Central Avenue, Phx AZ. Memorial contributions may be made to the Bayless Scholarship at Xavier College Prep, 85012. or the U of A Foundation Bayless Mem Fund, PO Box 210109, Tucson AZ 85721. The family would like to thank the staff at the Terraces and Hospice of the CValley. Vaya con Dios, Bob, and Bear Down Arizona.
Pauline, Bob, Kaki, Polly and Betsey, and families…I just learned of Mr. Bayless’ passing today, 7/30/10. I’m sorry for your loss. Mr. Bayless was quite a joy to all those he knew. He lived a long and fulfilled life.
He will be missed and will remain in our hearts forever!
I had been away all summer and only learned of Bob’s death last week. I’m a neighbor of 30 years here in the foothills of “Squaw Peak”. As each of my daughters turned 18, I arranged for Bob to show up at the front door to register them as Republicans. I’m not sure they knew there were other sides.
Bob was a great neighbor and always kept watch over our surrounding streets on his daily walks. He was a wonderful man.