John Kennedy Bailey

March 17, 1968
September 15, 2021
Charleston, WV

John Kennedy Bailey

John Kennedy Bailey, age 53, of Charleston, passed away suddenly due to a tragic accident on Wednesday, September 15, 2021.

He was born March 17, 1968, in Fairmont.  Growing up in a family committed to public service, John knew early on he wanted to continue that work.  He proudly earned the title as a Knight of the Order of the Golden Horseshoe in 1982. John served as the president of his senior class of Fairmont Senior High School.  He was selected to attend the Mountaineer Boys State program where he was elected to the Mock Supreme Court and returned each year as either a camp counselor or mentor on the subject of judicial issues. John attended Yale University where he graduated with a degree in history and a group of lifelong friends.

After college he worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Nick Rahall helping constituents. He then chose to return to his beloved West Virginia and attended the West Virginia University College of Law.   John attended WVU Law on a merit scholarship, where he was an Articles Editor on the Law Review. During the summer he clerked on Wall Street but knew his heart was in West Virginia. Upon graduating from law school, he moved to Charleston and worked at the law firm of Goodwin and Goodwin. He continued his career of public service next by working for Supreme Court Justice Warren McGraw. He then spent time working for James F. Humphreys & Associates, L.C.

John started his own law firm, John Kennedy Bailey Law in 2006, focusing on real estate law.  He also had a passion for renovating rental properties in the historic East End of Charleston.

In 2018, John was elected to Charleston City Council as an at-large member. While on council, John served as chair of the Environment and Recycling Committee and was also on the Ordinance and Rules Committee.  He had just been appointed to the Charleston Land Reuse Agency, where he was looking forward to making a difference in the city he loved.

John was a proud sponsor of the Capital Midwestern Little League and volunteered his time on the board and helping with concessions and grounds.  John and his family hosted several au-pairs from all over the world in their home.  He was proud that all of them chose to stay in his beloved Charleston where they continue to be a part of his family. John could frequently be found enjoying baseball games at Appalachian Power Park or hanging out at the Red Carpet.

A fun-loving, welcoming, out-going soul, John knew no strangers. He loved having fun and made sure that all around him were included as well. A keen intellect, with a sharp wit and great sense of humor, John was someone who you wanted to be around.  He made a point to stay in contact with friends and family, whether attending football games or organizing class reunions or hosting an epic party, John knew the importance of letting the people in your life know they mattered.

John is survived by his loving wife Holly; his children Jack, Brooks, and Lisette; parents, Larrie and Joyce Bailey; brother, David (Hollie Hubbert); sister, Anne McCabe (Bill); nephews and niece, Mills, Charlie and Walter Hensley, Patrick and Catie McCabe, and Thomas Bailey.

A service to honor John’s life will be held at 11:30 am on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, at First Presbyterian Church, Charleston with Rev. Dr. William C. Myers officiating. Visitation will be held at the church beginning at 10:30 am. A private interment service will follow in Springhill Cemetery, Charleston.

The link to attend the funeral via ZOOM will be found at on the home page.

A celebration of John’s life will be held at the Red Carpet beginning at 5 pm.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to your favorite local community organization or charity.

Friends may share condolences at our website

Snodgrass Funeral Home is assisting the family with these arrangements.

14 replies
  1. Thomas McQuain says:

    John and I worked together for Justice McGraw. I will never forget the good times we had at the Court. The parties were great fun too. We will keep you in our prayers. Love, Tom and Mary McQuain

  2. Jane M says:

    John was always the life of the party, fun , smart and smiling.
    His last words to me months before his accident, were how grateful he was to have Holly as mom of his kids, and how much work she puts in their care, shuffling them place to place.
    My 💕 to you all.

  3. Harry F Bell Jr says:

    So many good memories of a loving and engaging father and husband. Always wanting our community to be better. Just such a tragic loss. Prayers for John and his family. I shall miss his smile, his laugh and his passion for life. An inspiration for all of us to do better.

  4. Rory Perry says:

    I have many fond memories of John as a classmate, coworker, fellow Bramwell Oktoberfestian, and friend. I’m so glad we had a chance recently to spend some time together and have a good long chat. I’ll remember him fondly and will always appreciate his contributions to Charleston that will resonate for years to come. All my love to Holly and the family.

  5. Rich Ireland says:

    I was so shocked to hear of this. I woukd say John was an acquaintance. I really liked the guy. Even though we did not agree on very much politically, we always had good conversation; discussing the latest trends in craft beer or whatever. Always an engaging person and lord knows we need more engaging people these days. I am sure he was called back for a reason. Prayers to family and close friends.

  6. Deborah McHenry says:

    This is such a tragic loss of a brilliant, good, decent and kind man. As overwhelming as this sudden loss is to those who knew John and to the community at large, I cannot begin to comprehend the enormity of loss and sadness to his beloved family. My heart goes out to you.

  7. J.C. (Max) Wilkinson says:

    John was one of the first people I met when I first moved to Charleston over 20 years ago. He is absolutely one of the nicest people I have even met in my life. A keen intellect, quick wit, terrific sense of humor and an affability matched by few, if any. He and I often disagreed in the political realm but always without rancor or animosity. Our exchanges usually ended with plans to “go get that beer” at some point. I cannot imagine the loss that Holly, Jack, Brooks, Lisette, David and all his family are feeling. We send our deepest condolences and grieve with you all, even as we remember the remarkable memory of John’s life.

    In deepest sympathy,
    The Wilkinsons
    Max, Rose, Sam and Nick

  8. Rachael Le Geyt says:

    Heartfelt condolences to Holly. We worked together at Univation Technologies. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. John was taken too soon and will be sorely missed. Rachael L Le Geyt Houston, Texas.

  9. Diana says:

    This is such a tragic loss. John was such a good man. Prayers to Holly and the family. We are thinking of you all.

    Diana Panucci and Aric Margolis,
    Willy and Seth

  10. Jennifer Weaver Lunsford says:

    My deepest condolances for the Bailey family. I was in the graduating class at Fairmont Senior High School, class of 1986. My sister also went to homecoming with David. God Bless everyone in your family, and friends, and acqaintances who knew John. May God Bless your family at this time of sadness. RIP John.

    Rescpectfully, Jennifer (Weaver) Lunsford

  11. Jennifer Lunsford says:

    I graduated with John in the class of 86′ FSH. My deepest condolances for your loss. May God Bless your family and friends at this sad time. Prayers. RIP John. Respectfully, Jennifer (Weaver) Lunsford

  12. Michelle Mensore Condon says:

    I had the pleasure of working with John at the West Virginia Supreme Court when he clerked for Justice McGraw. Like so many who knew John, we became friends, and I delighted in his intelligence, dedication to public service, good humor, and kindness. I can still see John and Holly (when they were dating), David, and John’s parents, at the first of John’s Christmas parties that I attended. John was young, full of joy, and with a bright future ahead. Although I moved from Charleston in 2005, I read with pride and respect about John’s many accomplishments and the beautiful family and life of service he built. He accomplished so much in his too short life. John’s love will live forever, and his service will be his legacy. I will keep John and his family in my prayers.

  13. Stacy Parker says:

    I’ve known John, David, and their father for decades. This tragedy absolutely breaks my heart. Charleston has lost a community servant and friend. I will mourn for my old friend, his family that must still be in shock, and my former city which was blessed with his presence and service. Peace be with you all.

  14. Amelia Starr says:

    I went to college with John. He lived downstairs in our freshman dorm. He was one of the kindest, funniest and most optimistic people I have ever met. Even at 19, John had a plan. He was going to move back to West Virginia and make a difference. I am not at all surprised to learn that he was elected to the City Council and devoted himself to important causes in the Charleston community. Please accept my sincere condolences for his loss and joy in learning that he had a life well-lived.

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  • Tuesday, September 21
  • 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM

Funeral Service

  • Tuesday, September 21
  • 11:30 AM