Eric Douglas Published

Former State Senator Billy Wayne Bailey Jr. Has Died

White man in a gray suit sits at a desk facing into the camera.
Former state Senator Billy Wayne Bailey Jr has died.
Will Price/WV Legislative Photography

Billy Wayne Bailey Jr., was born June 7, 1957, in Bluefield, in Mercer County. 

He was appointed to the West Virginia Senate in 1991 as a Democrat and was elected to that seat in 1992 and again in 1996, 2000 and 2004. He served as the Senate Majority Whip and served on numerous committees. 

Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, remembered his former colleague fondly. 

“I’m saddened by the news of the passing of Senator Bailey, who welcomed me to the West Virginia Legislature when I became a Delegate in 2003,” Blair said. “We shared many conversations, challenges and most of all, our laughter. I will personally miss my friend Billy Wayne and my prayers are with his family during this time of great sorrow.”

In 2008, he chose not to run for re-election. He ran unsuccessfully for Secretary of State instead. 

During the Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin administration, in 2011, Bailey joined the West Virginia Department of Veterans Affairs as deputy secretary under former Secretary Keith Gwinn. He served in that role until 2019. 

From 1978 to 1984, he served in the 1092nd Combat Engineers Battalion of the National Guard, then spent 15 years with the Air National Guard’s 130th Airlift Wing.

He was a graduate of Herndon High School, attended Morris Harvey College, now the University of Charleston, and Marshall University.