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Bill Bailes - March 11,1939 - September 21, 2019

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Obituary – Bill Bailes

William Davis Bailes (Bill) died September 21, 2019 at home surrounded by family after an extended illness. He was born March 11,1939, to Dutton Jones and Rosalynne Howsley Bailes in Seymour, Texas. The middle child of a loving family, he was preceded in death by his brother, Dutton J Bailes, Jr. After graduating with a master's degree in vocational education from East Texas State College (now Texas A&M University Commerce) in August 1962, he married Frances Elizabeth Fergeson (Betsy). After the wedding, they drove to Hobbs, New Mexico to start his first day of teaching the next day. He taught auto mechanics to high school students for four years, then was asked to set up the welding and mechanic shops at New Mexico Junior College where he continued to teach.

 

There he developed a relationship with Volkswagon Southwest and in 1968 he moved his family to San Antonio and began teaching in their Mechanic Training Center. Then in 1971 he started Import Cars and Parts, which he called an unauthorized Volkswagen dealership, selling and servicing Volkswagens. Bill had a life-long love of cars and could remember every vehicle he had ever owned.

 

He got his driver’s license at age 12, built a dragster in his teens and when in Hobbs built and began racing stock cars. In San Antonio he raced VW’s at Pan Am speedway and became interested in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Formula Vee racing. He won often. In the Vee he twice qualified for the American Road Race of Champions in Atlanta. He was also an original member of the Texas International Drivers Association (TIDA) and raced in two 24 hour races in Monterrey Mexico - winning one of them. His fellow racers counted it a good day if they could beat Bill.

 

In 1984 his interest turned to tractors and he moved to Southeast Bexar County to sell used Ford 8N and 9N tractors to customers buying small acreages outside the city. Thus Bill’s Tractor began. For several years he and his wife Betsy, invited the community to buy and sell agricultural equipment at auctions four times a year. In the early 90s they were one of the first Mahindra tractor dealers in the USA and introduced the Indian tractor company to South Texas. In 1999, Bill’s Tractor and Equipment, LTD moved to its current location on Highway 87 South and became the largest single Mahindra dealership in the USA.
 

Bill was an innovative businessman. He owned one of the first Apple computers and allowed his daughter to talk him into switching to DOS when the IBM personal computers came out in the early 80’s. An early adopter of internet technology. He built the first website for Bill’s Tractor and developed the first online shopping cart for Mahindra parts. Over the years, he personally entered thousands of parts with detailed instructions so customers could find exactly the part they needed. Bill helped Mahindra become an established name and won top sales awards year after year. The family dealership has passed on to his children Rick and Becky who continue Bill’s legacy.

 

Bill’s faith was very private. He made a profession of faith in Christ in high school. In his childhood and early adulthood, he regularly attended church, but dropped out of the institutional church in mid-life for personal reasons. In the last couple of years of his life, Bill and his daughter conversed about faith on several occasions and he acknowledged that he knew and believed in Jesus. He acknowledged to others that the most important thing in this life is to have peace with God. The songs that Bill selected for his funeral service, Why Me, Lord? and Me and Jesus evidence his faith in Christ. Bill worshipped God by serving people through many acts of kindness.


Bill loved people and helped many employees and friends throughout the years. He served the community supplying tractors for the Battle of the Flowers parade in San Antonio, Texas for several years helping them transition to a newer mode of transportation for the floats. He was a dedicated Board Member of the East Central Special Utility District.

 

Bill was a loving husband and father, a loyal friend, an entrepreneur, patient teacher, talented mechanic, a car guy, a fiercely competitive race car driver, an astute businessman, and a mentor to many young men. He is survived by his wife Betsy Bailes; son Richard D. Bailes (Linda Byrd); daughter Rebecca Price (Paul) and their children: Matthew (Elizabeth) granddaughter Mabel, Mark (Julia), and Rebecca; sister Nixie Bailes Kiker and numerous nieces and nephews.

 

Visitation - will be held on Tuesday, September 24, 2019, 1:00pm-2:00pm, at Finch Funeral Chapel, La Vernia, Texas.

FUNERAL SERVICE - Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 2:00pm, Finch Funeral Chapel, La Vernia, Texas

Pastor Wesley Craig will be officiant of the service. A graveside service will be held at 11:00am on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at Oddfellow Cemetery in Seymour, Texas. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Pregnancy Center of the Coastal Bend at https://ccpregnancy.org/south-texas/support/, San Antonio Pets Alive at https://sanantoniopetsalive.org/donate/, or the La Vernia United Methodist Church at http://www.laverniaumc.org/.


THE FAMILY REQUESTS THAT DONATIONS BE MADE IN LIEU OF FLOWERS. To send flowers in memory of William Davis "Bill" Bailes, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.

 

Written by Bailes family members

Posted on LSSZ by: Neil Upchurch

Founder:

Texas Pro Sedans Series

TIDA Late Model Series

Texas Race of Champions at Texas World Speedway

 

Edited by NeilTPS
spelling and family credit

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 ..is bill the one who built so many of those vw motors for prosedan  drivers .. …...RIP

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To my knowledge, even though Bill Bailes was co-owner of Import Cars and Parts of San Antonio and also the primary sponsor of my Texas Pro Sedan VW, I don’t remember Bill building race or any type of engine(s).

 

He did once paint my #76 with a new aircraft paint named Imron.  After racing in the 24 Hours of Monterrey, the bugs, oil, tire rubber and everything else was easily cleaned off with gasoline, Bon-Ami and water. It looked like a new paint job.

 

Thanks for asking – Neil Upchurch

 

Founder:

Texas Pro Sedans Series

TIDA Late Model Series

Texas Race of Champions at Texas World Speedway

 

Edited by NeilTPS
spelling and family credit

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