Mercer Bailey, who spent 47 years with AP, dies

BELTON, Mo. (AP) — Mercer Bailey, whose 47-year career with The Associated Press began with the use of Morse Code and concluded in the early days of the internet, has died of complications from COVID-19.

Bailey’s family said he died Saturday at a hospital in Belton, Missouri. He was 94.

Bailey was 17 when he joined the AP’s Atlanta bureau in 1943. His wide-ranging career included stints as a news editor, sports writer, time on the AP’s General Desk and two years as correspondent in St. Louis.

He was named assistant bureau chief in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1970, a position he held until retiring in 1990.

Bailey was hospitalized for an arthritic condition in 1981 when a skywalk collapsed at Kansas City’s Hyatt Regency Hotel, killing 114 people. Bailey left his bed and interviewed survivors in the emergency room.

Paul Stevens, bureau chief in Kansas City during the last six years of Bailey’s career, said Bailey “loved the AP, was highly protective of keeping the news report unbiased and strong, and advanced the careers of many, including mine.”

Survivors include Bailey’s wife, Rosalee Ann Walker Bailey, two daughters and several grandchildren and stepgrandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife Jeanne Hand Bailey, in 1987.

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