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January 21, 1900- February 7. 1988
James Dobbin Bailey was born January 21, 1900, in the young and growing town of Kenly, North Carolina. He worked to earn his own money from the time he opened the stock-a-lock gate to allow farmers to enter the town until his retirement in 1985. After keeping the gate for fifteen to twenty-five cents per day, he sold magazines and newspapers on Saturdays. When he was fourteen years old he began working in his father's store which was the general store located on the site of J. Dobbin Bailey's, Inc. in Kenly.
Dobbin Bailey attended first grade in the Kenly academy, graduating later from the new public Kenly High School in 1916. He attend Atlantic Christian College where he was center on the ACC basketball team. After this schooling, he joined the Students' Army Training Corps at the University of North Carolina and studied accounting. Dobbin then went to Beaumont, Texas, for two years, returning to Kenly in August, 1922.
Dobbin Bailey, like his father before him, was a public servant all of his life. He served on the Johnston County Board of Commissioners from 1945 through 1972, being chairman the first four years. He served on the Board of Directors of the Kenly Savings and Loan Association as either president or vice-president from 1930 through 1983. Mr. Bailey's years of service on the Board of Directors of the Heritage Bank were rewarded with the conference room being designated the J. Dobbin Bailey Room. He served as chairman of the Board of Directors until 1984. He was an active member of the Kenly Missionary Baptist Church for many years. He served on the Board of Deacons, chairman of the Deacons, and as church treasurer for thirty years. Mr. Bailey also was a member of the Kiwanis Club, serving as its first president, and a member of the Kenly Masonic Lodge.
Dobbin Bailey operated the W. T. Bailey and Son store for his father's estate until his mother's death in 1929. He then operated a general store, J. Dobbin Bailey, General Merchant. The business experienced "hard times" during the Depression years. This business expanded from general merchandise to groceries, hardware, and today, appliances. The store has been the gathering place for people over the years and many residents of Kenly make a stop at "Dobbins" a part of their morning ritual.
Mr. Bailey was married to the former Charlie Dawes of Elm City. He had one son, Jimmy, and one granddaughter, Betty. His life was one of service to the community. He was an "institution" who was respected by all for tremendous contributions made to the community of Kenly and to Johnston County.