Claron Everett “Monk” Bailey, died at his home in Queen Creek, on June 18, at age 77.
A native of Moab, Utah, Monk was well known for his prowess in sports. He was a four-sport letterman at Grand County High School in Moab, and he went on to play football at the University of Utah, where he led the Utes in rushing in 1958 and 1959 and, that year, was named All-Skyline Conference fullback. He played professionally, in the NFL for the St. Louis Cardinals and in the CFL for the Toronto Argonauts and, for many years after that, he coached at the high school and college level, including at Bloomsburg, Bucknell, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Southern Virginia University, Weber State and Dixie State.
In addition to his success on the gridiron, Monk was known for his larger than life attitude and his unwavering testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But, it wasn’t always that way, says Monk’s son, Everett Bailey, who lives in the Augusta Ranch Ward in the Eastmark Stake, but is currently serving in the bishopric of the YSA Indigo Bay Ward.
Everett explains that, while Monk’s wife, Kristine, had grown up in and Latter-day Saint family and was a descendent of Mormon pioneers, “Dad’s family wasn’t religious at all.”
In fact, Everett says, “My grandfather didn’t have a very positive view of the Church.”
After Monk signed with the Cardinals in 1963, he and Kristine moved to St. Louis, and there she became involved with the ward members, who also reached out and befriended her husband.
“They had a young marrieds’ group there, and they invited him to social events, to play sports, to help with projects and other activities,” Everett says. “It was a huge part of his conversion to get to know members of the Church in a social setting, without a lot of pressure.”
When the Bailey’s moved to Canada, they were again welcomed by Church members. “These members in St. Louis and Toronto were good people, good friends and good examples,” Everett says. “They helped him to get some footing in the Church.”
Then, “once he committed and was baptized, his faith and his testimony never waned,” Everett continues. “He paid tithing, fasted, prayed, and he read the Book of Mormon several times over. He had this unbridled enthusiasm for the Gospel and for gospel discussion, and his love and passion were contagious.”
Monk particularly loved missionary work. “It was a big part of who he was,” Everett says. “Dad was very competitive. He was big and strong and fast, and he would not give anyone an inch on the field.”
But, at the same time, Monk was the first to embrace anyone who was visiting or investigating the Church, “and he was always inviting anyone who was new to come to our house for dinner.”
He was generous with his time and his money, Everett says. “He was always helping someone.”
His caring attitude and his desire to look out for others were demonstrated in his callings as well. Monk served in many positions, including as branch president of a single adult branch in Plainview, New York.
“He touched many lives. He was a kid at heart and had a way of making everyone feel like a friend,” Everett said. “He will be missed.”