Daniel Bailey sits in January 2012 in a 1945 Chevrolet pickup truck his grandfather, Percy, originally sold at his auto dealership in Gardiner.

Daniel Bailey made arrangements not long ago to ship a car to Colorado for one of his customers who wanted to help a family member there.

The extra work was not a problem for Bailey, whose friends remember him as a sometimes-gruff man who had a huge heart and loved his family and community.

“People talk about so-and-so being the heart and soul of Gardiner,” longtime business partner John Bobrowiecki said. “But Dan really was. He was a great man who will be missed by so many.”

Bailey was killed Tuesday evening in a collision in Union. He was 64.

“He did a lot for his church, the Boys & Girls Clubs, the Board of Trade and a bunch of downtown organizations, like the Cobboosee Corridor,” Bobrowiecki said. “He was always willing to help someone out.”

Bailey spent all of his life in and around Gardiner.

He went to work at Percy Bailey Auto Sales as a teenager and would became the third generation to run the business, founded by his grandfather, Percy Bailey, in 1922.

While his family and business were central to his life, Bailey left his mark — usually without notice or fanfare — on civic and church activities.

Gardiner Mayor Patricia Hart said Wednesday the community is heartbroken to learn of Bailey’s death.

“Our thoughts are with Betty and the whole Bailey family as they grieve this terrible loss,” Hart said.

Geri Doyle, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Rizzo Mattson, said she knew Bailey for years. She said they did a lot of business together.

“He talked like a Mainer,” Doyle said. “He acted like a Mainer. Sometimes he was short-tempered, but the kindness just never stopped.”

Whenever her cars needed servicing, Doyle said, Bailey would not let her rent a car to use while hers was out of service.

“‘You’re not going to rent a car. I’m going to give you one,’ he’d say. I had the car sometimes up to a week,” Doyle said. “That’s the good part of Dan.”

Bailey worked at Percy Bailey Auto Sales in Gardiner with his wife, Betty, and son, Doug. He oversaw its relocation from 127 Water St. to 39 Maine Ave., where the family business remains today.

Percy Bailey Auto Sales in Gardiner.

Longtime friend Matthew Reutershan, a teacher and has worked at Percy Auto Sales for about 20 years, said Bailey loved selling cars.

“Selling a car for him, it never lost its glory,” Reutershan said. “If he sold you a car, you were a member of the family. He’d take time to work with you  made sure you were happy with the car, and make sure you were  happy after the sale. I don’t see any of that changing with Doug.”

Cars were part of Bailey’s life outside of work, too.

Doyle said Bailey started Gardiner’s Thursday night car shows at Waterfront Park.

“He and Bailey’s Auto, on Thursday afternoons, would start cooking French fries in the summer, from June until the end of September, and every dollar they made Danny gave to the church,” she said.

Bailey attended the First Baptist Church in Gardiner.

Two years ago, Doyle said, Bailey bought a cooking trailer already set up so they could safely and more efficiently make food for the car show.

“Sometimes, there are 225 cars there,” she said. “He knew the more efficient he could make things, the better it would be for the church because the church needs money. He didn’t do it for profit. He did it for the church.

Ingrid Stanchfield, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kennebec Valley, said she and her husband would see Bailey and his family every year at the annual antique car show in Stowe, Vermont, where they brought classic cars.

“He had a love for classic cars,” Stanchfield  said. “He always wanted to win the car show, and I think he did. That was a fun time for them to relax away from work.”

Bobrowiecki first met Bailey three decades ago he moved to Gardiner and they were serving on the board of the former Riverview Federal Credit Union, which has since merged with the Gardiner Federal Credit Union.

At the time, the credit union was looking for a new home, and eventually the best option was for the two of them and another board member to form a partnership and buy property. While that meant they had to give up their seats on the board, the partnership continued as did their friendship.

On the day Bailey died, Bobrowiecki said, they had a meeting with a Realtor about filling a vacancy at a Gardiner property they own.

“He had a brilliant mathematical mind and a great deal of business sense,” he said.

Pastor Ramsey Tripp, left, of Life Community Church stands in front of the congregation’s newly acquired church building in February 2019 in Gardiner, with Dan Bailey, center, and Dan McGrath of the First Baptist Church of Gardiner, the seller.

Bailey was instrumental in acquiring the former Congregational Church on Church Street, across from the Baptist church, after it was listed for auction at the end of 2017, and selling it at the end of 2018 to the Life Community Church.

Doyle, who was the Realtor on the deal, said Bailey had a number of offers and could have taken a higher offer from someone who wanted to use the building for another purpose, but Bailey wanted to work out a deal that would return the church to its original purpose.

“That’s the kind of man he was,” Doyle said.

Doyle said Bailey’s love for his family was clear.

Whenever his son, Doug, was getting ready to drive to car auctions in Pennsylvania, Bailey would give his son a hug and kiss and tell him he loved him.

“He didn’t care who was watching him,” Doyle said. “He wanted to make sure Dougie knew. That’s the kind of man he was.”

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