When life's issues got people down, W. David Bailey was there to pick them up.
Bailey was a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who developed chemical dependency treatment and employee assistance programs for such companies as the former Control Data and Litton Paper, as well as counseling people in his own private practice. For the past six years, he had spent one day a week at the Walk-In Counseling Center in Minneapolis, serving as a volunteer supervisor and mentor to therapists and counselors who donated their time to clients.
"His compassion for clients, his clinical acumen and his infectious laugh made him a very popular supervisor beloved by his teammates," said Gary Schoener, Walk-In's executive director.
Bailey, 63, died of acute myelogenous leukemia March 31 at his home in Minneapolis.
He was born in Michigan and graduated from Elk River High School in the 1960s, then earned a degree in English literature and philosophy from St. Cloud State University. He later earned a master of divinity degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, a master's degree in counseling from St. Mary's University and a doctorate from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology, now Argosy University.
Bailey's compassion, humor, intelligence and passion for helping people made him a skilled practitioner, said Jim Ayers, Walk-In's clinical director.
"David wanted to help people become whole, which for him didn't mean becoming perfect, but getting stronger in the places that are broken," Ayers said. "He was very approachable and an excellent listener. He was a nurturing guy. He got to know the counselors very well and took time to talk about their cases."
The center's unpaid counselors usually stay for only a short time, but many who worked with and got feedback from Bailey stayed for two to three years, said Martha Hughes, Walk-In's administrative coordinator.
After working in the corporate world, Bailey was a founder of the River City Clinic in St. Paul. He worked there about 10 years before opening his own practice in Richfield, where he counseled many people from the art and music communities. Many times he offered his services at little or no cost, said his wife, Virginia Vogel, a psychologist at the Hamm Clinic in St. Paul.
"He found providing psychotherapy and training therapists very rewarding work," she said. "He was always able to find something sunny even in the darkest hours, both for himself and for his patients."
Bailey enjoyed canoe trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and sailing excursions in the Apostle Islands off Bayfield, Wis. He traveled internationally and took his wife on road trips throughout the United States, driving "with the top down," Virginia said.
In addition to his wife, Bailey is survived by a daughter, Erin Allison Gilligan of Phoenix, Ore.; a son, Paul, of Washington, D.C.; his mother, Arline Bailey of Lillian, Ala.; three sisters, Nora Mandile of Plymouth, Karen Biermaier of Eagan and Jeri Manley of Westchester, Pa., and two grandchildren.
Services have been held.