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Ann Bailey

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Ann Bailey, passionate educator about China

  • Article by: PAMELA MILLER
  • Star Tribune
  • September 26, 2010 - 9:04 PM

Former Minnesotan Ann Bailey, who during 10 years in the state helped promote education about Chinese history, language and culture at a time when Americans were clamoring to learn more about that country, died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma on Saturday at her home in Washington, D.C.

Bailey, the wife of former Star Tribune editor Charles Bailey, was 82.

She and her family lived in Minnesota from 1972 to 1982, a period in which the wife and mother "reinvented herself" and turned an interest in China into a passionate vocation, said her daughter Victoria Bailey of New York City. That interest was born during League of Women Voters debates about whether the People's Republic of China should be admitted to the United Nations, which it was in 1971. In 1972, President Richard Nixon visited China, triggering a flood of American interest in all things China.

"She realized that people had so much to learn about China, which at the time they still thought of as 'Red China,'" she said.

Bailey helped found the former Midwest China Center in St. Paul and taught classes related to Chinese history and current affairs at Metropolitan State University in the Twin Cities. She worked with schools and businesses to promote Chinese history and language curriculums, her daughter said.

Bailey was born in Cleveland and grew up in Williams-town, Mass. She graduated from Barnard College in New York City and in 1972 earned a master's degree in international relations from George Washington University in Washington.

With the exception of her decade in Minnesota, Bailey lived in Washington from 1954 until her death. From 1985 to 1995, she taught Chinese history at George Mason University in Washington, as well as classes at the School of Continuing Education at Georgetown University.

"My mother was a strong, dynamic person with enormous vigor," Victoria Bailey said. "She was never bored, never stood still; she kept learning and changing every moment of her life."

In addition to Victoria, she is survived by her husband of 60 years, Charles W. Bailey; another daughter, Sarah Bailey of West Hartford, Conn., and two grandchildren.

Services will be held Wednesday in Washington.

Pamela Miller • 612-673-4920

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