Gilda’s Club co-founder, GRCC board member dies

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Former Steelcase executive, Grand Rapids Community College trustee, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids co-founder Debra Bailey has died.

Bailey died Monday morning due to complications from cancer, a public relations company for Steelcase said, citing Bailey’s family. She was 69.

Bailey worked for Steelcase for 19 years before she retired in the summer of 2018 as director of corporate global relations. The company recalled her as “extraordinary.”

She also the vice chair of the GRCC Board of Trustees.

“Our GRCC family is devastated by the loss of someone who was – and will remain – a shining example of the impact this college can have on a person and a community,” GRCC President Bill Pink said in a Monday statement. “Deb Bailey was as kind as she was smart, passionate as she was brave. Her work touched many people, and we are all better for it. That’s a tremendous legacy, and the GRCC family will greatly miss Deb Bailey.”

In a Facebook post, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids recalled her as an “inspiration to so many.”

“Thank you Deb for helping so many journey together as they navigated cancer and grief,” the post read in part.

Bailey also served on the governing boards for Aquinas College, Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation, Hospice of Michigan, Saint Mary’s Foundation, the YWCA-West Central Michigan and the Junior League of Grand Rapids.

She leaves behind her mother, three siblings, daughter and two grandchildren.