Elaine Curriden Bayly 1915-2007

1(Tim) This Christmas, the Bayly family here in Bloomington has experienced the truth of Ecclesiastes 7:2-4:

It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for when a face is sad a heart may be happy. The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning, while the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.

Our dear Aunt Elaine went to be with the Lord here at home at 4:25 this afternoon. She's now in the presence of the Lord where there is great joy forevermore. We thank God for the privilege of her presence in our home and family these past six years and four months.



Dear Tim,

The irony of Solomon's paradox is an amazing and marvelous thing to behold in the actual departure of someone like Aunt Elaine.

Having shepherded four family members to Heaven's gate (a father- and mother-inlaw, my mother, a daughter), I can testify to the abiding satisfaction of such service, and how personally encouraging it is to finish such a course, though at the finish line the one you love has departed, to await your eventual arrival.

Dear Tim,

I think that's the perfect passage to describe what I'm sure must be a day filled with many emotions for you all. I'd like to add my thanks to you all for allowing me to know Aunt Elaine during her last years.

As you know, I occasionally came over to play the piano for Aunt Elaine. Upon asking her what hymn she would like to hear, her answer was always the same: "Oh, just play anything....whatever you like." Even so, I soon learned that certain songs were especially dear to Aunt Elaine ("Blessed Assurance, To God be the Glory")—for these were the songs to which she would always sing, with her eyes closed, but with her mind captured by the memories and truths these songs brought to her mind. And when I got ready to leave, her response was always, "Make yourself at home!"—as I always was.

I always left with the sense that, although my purpose in playing was to be a blessing and encouragement to Aunt Elaine, she ended up being even more of a blessing to me. The faith and perseverance that God gave her testified to His grace both to her and to us. And finally, I always left with great appreciation for the tireless dedication of you all (but especially of Mary Lee) to care for Aunt Elaine at home, and to be there (in Mary Lee's words), "to escort her into glory." That day has now come, and she is now there.

And so on this bittersweet day, my condolences to you all, but also my thanks, for allowing those of us who knew Aunt Elaine the opportunity to see a saint meet death with courage and faith—not a false, superficial kind that knows no doubt nor difficulty, but a true, abiding, and genuine faith that I saw displayed in Aunt Elaine, and in all of you. Thanks for showing us again that, though we live in a world of death, its sting is no more because of Him who is the Resurrection and the Life.



Dear Bill,

You understand, dear brother. Thank you.

Dear Josh,

Your kind love for Aunt Elaine was a joy to us, and your words are just what the doctor ordered. A moment ago, Mary Lee and I were commenting how something so good for Aunt Elaine, and in some ways for Mary Lee, is still so very sad. But then, death, though defeated, remains our inveterate enemy.

We're planning on having the memorial service Sunday after church, Lord willing. Hope you'll be back, but if not, we understand.

Much affection,

Tim/Mary Lee

Dear Bayly Family,

My favorite memory of Aunt Elaine was when Jennifer and I drove her back from Mud's house. There was a breathtaking sunset on the horizon. She hadn't spoken much on the trip, but she suddenly said, "How beautiful--it looks like peaches!" She delighted in the simple pleasures that God gave her, and her delight was contagious. I'm grateful to you all for your faithful service to her, sorry for your loss, and yet happy thinking about Aunt Elaine's great gain.

Thank you, Steve and Jen--for everything. We love you.

Tim and MaryLee, Thank you for the witness you have been, caring for and loving Aunt Elaine in your HOME, when so many of our generation don't 'have the time' for our elders or 'imperfect ones.' It has had an impact on my kids, I know, and how they look at people in nursing homes, even when we go to visit now, to think 'it doesn't HAVE to be this way...

May you all have a much-deserved rest now. I KNOW you gave of yourselves more than most of us can even imagine. Aunt Elaine was very lucky to spend her final years in your home, and she's even better off now in her heavenly home!



I always noticed how Mary Lee painted Aunt Elaine's fingernails or tied a pretty colored scarf around her neck that brought out the color of her beautiful eyes. She also placed that wig on her head every day. I think I only saw Aunt Elaine without the wig once and I consider myself family over there to open the door and walk into the Bayly home without knocking. To drive up and see the little Christmas tree in her window twinkling its lights also was noticed. Tim joked and loved on Aunt Elaine like he does everyone else, but in a more special way since she was his Dad's sister.

Thank you both for displaying how to show dignity to this one made in the image of God in this most humiliating and distasteful phase of life. We love you guys with a big love. Things like this (and many more) gave us much confidence to leave you with our first-born as we came back to Zambia.

We will dearly miss Aunt Elain. She was a real blessing. Thank you for sharing her and taking such good care of her!!

Sorrow for your grief...and gladness for your rejoicing.

Linda, the service you and Caleb give to God's little ones; and Terri, your meekness and compassion; dear sisters, you and your husbands have given us faith for our work--especially this work. So your words of comfort are Gilead's dressing for our wound.

Mary Lee joins me in thanking you also, Valerie, for sorrowing and rejoicing with us.

Dear Ones,

A few weeks ago, when Aunt Elaine was attending her last women's Bible Study, we asked her in our little prayer group what she wanted us to pray for. Frail, clearly in pain, she spoke her prayer request: "Pray for my friends who do not know Jesus. They need Him." The Holy Spirit used Aunt Elaine to make my own prayer life a little less selfish that week.

Mary Lee, Praise God that He caused you to finish well. Your constant example to me, in the real-ness of caring for Aunt Elaine, has helped David and I decide that the first "must have" on our realtor's list for our next home is a livable space for our parents in their declining years. I thank the Lord for you and your friendship and your willingness to be the handmaiden of the Lord, even when doing so is far from pleasant. I love you.

Dear Tim and David,

I was surprised when I saw the news of Aunt Elaine this morning, some people you just think will always be here, Aunt Elaine and your mother are two of them. I am grateful for the time I had to be near Aunt Elaine while with David in Ohio, she was a joy.

How we need more men and women who when in their presence you have a sense of the presence of God and holiness. God granted your aunt many years and faithfulness with them, may He do the same for us.

Love from the Knapps

P.S. Someone mentioned in an earlier comment the fact that your aunt Elaine didn't say much during a car trip, that was a gift she had, to not say much and then it was worth listening when she did.

Dearest Timothy and Mary Lee,

God bless you. Our hearts and prayers are with you.

Like so many others, we had the blessing and privilege of being in your home many times over the past six years. We witnessed the love and joy of family caring for one another. You didn't just preach James 1:27, you lived it.

I still remember my own selfishness being exposed the first time we stayed in your home after Auntie Elaine moved in. I was disappointed that we couldn't have your wonderful guest room. But your children were so quick to surrender beds for us. There is much grace in your home, the fruit of Godly lives well lived.

When I visit the elderly in hospitals or nursing homes, I so often hear them say they don't want to be a burden. Instead of telling them, "Oh no, you are no burden" I tell them, of course you are a burden, but it is the burden of love (something I learned from a Gilbert Meilaender article in First Things years ago). That's what all family is to each other, a burden in some way, when rightly understood. Babies and children are a burden, teenagers are a burden, elderly are a burden, (let's face it, I'm a burden to my wife) but that is what it means to be family. The Holy Spirit's gift to us is the very desire to bear one another's burdens and then the blessing we receive when we do.

Thank you for sharing your lives with us. We all are blessed because of it.

We love you.

Robert and Phama and boys

Thank you so much, Barbara, Gary, and Robert. And Robert, if you think Aunt Elaine exposed your selfishness, it was only a momentary exposure, whereas mine last six and a quarter years. Only His grace is sufficient.

Tim and Mary Lee,

To know such loving care, generosity and gentleness as you have shown Aunt Elaine - it blesses me even at this distance. I am so glad you have shared this with your extended friends and family, you enrich us by it.

My prayers are with you, and may you continue to know His Peace in the coming days as the reality of your loss and her gain of glory settle in.

Much love,


Dear Pastor Tim and Mary Lee,

I'm saddened at the loss of Aunt Elaine but at the same time, happy, very happy indeed, to know where she is right now. She was a delightful person who always made me laugh. I loved how she could never remember my name and asked me once if she could just call me "Hey you"!. She will always live in my heart and I feel honored to have known her.

Thank you for the opportunity to get to know her during the past year and a half.


"Now I saw in my dream, that these two men went in at the gate; and lo, when they entered, they were transfigured: and they had raiment put on that shone like gold. … Then I heard in my dream that all the bells in the city rang again for joy and that it was said unto them 'Enter Ye into the Joy of our LORD.' I also heard the men themselves say, that they sang with a loud voice, saying, 'Blessing, Honor, Glory, and Power, be to Him who sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lomb forever and ever.'”

Amen and Amen

Dear Friends,

Oh, how I both dreaded and prayed for this news. Aunt Elaine has been such a constant in your home for years, and I have been recalling times we spent with her there, or in Sunday School, wheeling her to "her spot" in church, or simply visiting with her at a picnic or during an ultimate frisbee game.

These years have been years to learn for all involved. Aunt Elaine learned she could trust you to care for her in every way, and you learned that you could fit just one more thing in each day. Your children, oh your children, they have been so blessed by this time, and not because it was always sweet or easy, but because they learned to give from the strength and love that God gives, and not of their own beautiful, yet limited, abilities.

So many in our church watched you live out words that you preached. We watched MaryLee move from caring from her children to caring also for Aunt Elaine. We watched as you altered plans and such to include her in your daily lives.

I remember sitting with you at dinner once and then moving to the living room as Grace played piano for you, and most especially for Aunt Elaine. Grace didn't just play, she performed a concert, a concert of love and God's grace. Aunt Elaine's face beamed as she heard the incredible music that was being shared that night. And then I started to hear the stories of all who came and shared with Aunt Elaine. She was a gift to all of us, and we will miss her.

As much as we miss her though, how much more must we rejoice to see a saint finish well the race which she began so many years ago. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this journey.

With much love and many prayers,


Thank you, Kim; that day with Grace was a joy, wasn't it?

Tim and MaryLee;

One night at your dinner table, your Aunt Elaine shared with me about were she worked in NYC and how much she enjoyed it. What a joy she was to listen to and that she being a single woman, she had a fullfilled life with the love of God in her heart.

Personally, she was a wonderful role model to me of her happiness and contentment throughout her life. Thank you for caring for her the way we all hope we will be cared for later in our life.

Love you all,


One day, Vanessa had asked me to fill in for her with Aunt Elaine, because she had an orchestra rehearsal. I had never sat with Aunt Elaine before, but I was happy to do it. When I got to the house, she was sitting at the corner of the couch, with a few letters and magazines in her lap. When I asked what I could do for her, she said, "I'd like it if you would play the piano for me." I reassured her that she probably wouldn't like that, as I was a singer and not a pianist, with only a few years of piano under my belt. But she insisted. So, I sat at the piano and played the only few sonatinas that I knew (more like I stumbled through them.)

"That was good! Play some more!" she said.

I played some hymns that I literally "made up" in the left hand- it sounded awful! After I was done, I said, "Aunt Elaine, would you like me to read to you?" thinking she'd put me out of my misery.

"Oh, no!" she said, smiling. "You're doing just fine! I especially liked the last one you played, so keep playing."

In my complete humiliation, I continued to stumble through pieces- ones that I was totally making up on the spot! The funny thing was, she was really enjoying it. Before I left, she thanked me, telling me that she really enjoyed hearing me play. I couldn't believe I gave someone so much joy from my feeble piano playing for almost 60 minutes! It was a good knock on my pride:)

Dear Tim & Mary Lee,

As I sit here looking at the snow blowing around, and praying for you as you travel to Gettysburg with Aunt Elaine, I am filled with such a mix of emotions, many of which I see written here by others. What a privilege to have known Aunt Elaine these last six years, and what a joy to see her in church and at Bible study, and always at the many events in your home. She always knew me when I walked in the door, something at which I marveled. I had heard of her less lucid moments, but I never saw them. She always seemed delighted to talk to me, and what a warmth I would have in talking with her. She will be sorely missed by all of us. As I look at this fresh snow, I think of how she no longer has to struggle with earthly sorrows or sin - that her life is as this newly-fallen, pure white snow. Yet the comparison falls so far short of the unspeakable joy she knows meeting her Saviour face-to-face. How I envy her for that. May I also echo others in thanking you for sharing your lives so in having Aunt Elaine live with you. We learned so much from your example, and I will fight my dad tooth & nail if he ever decides he wants a nursing home over coming to live with me. It won't be a cakewalk, but I couldn't have it any other way. There's just too much to be learned about life in having the elderly in your home and seeing them through their final days. Your children are so much richer for it -- I see it in their lives. I know the days to come will be filled with the inevitable roller coaster ride of emotions that accompany the loss of a loved one. You will be in our prayers as always, and I will pray for comfort and rest for you for now. (I will also be wondering who the next blessed soul will be to have the privilege of your care!) We love you and look forward to your return and Aunt Elaine's memorial service. Godspeed!



Add new comment