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July 24, 2014 4:45 PM, EDT
Nancy Bailey, Longtime Editor At Transport Topics, Dies at 68
Nancy Coe Bailey
By Jonathan S. Reiskin, Associate News Editor

This article appeared in the July 21 issue of Transport Topics

Nancy Coe Bailey, a longtime editor for Transport Topics Publishing Group, died July 4 after an extended illness. She was 68.

Bailey had worked at a number of the organization’s publications since 1995.

Most recently, she was a copy editor at the flagship Transport Topics, molding and improving stories on tight deadlines as well as organizing the opinion pages of TT, specifically the letters to the editor and the opinion columns.

Bailey came to TTPG when the division of American Trucking Associations purchased Utility Fleet Management, a monthly magazine, from Public Utilities Reports. Bailey had been Utility Fleet Management’s editor for more than four years and remained in that position under the new ownership.

“She embraced that magazine and really enjoyed putting it out,” said Jim Galligan, a former colleague and editor of sister publication Light & Medium Truck. “She was well-liked, appreciated and respected by the industry she covered. There was a lot of mutual respect.”

Bailey signed on to TT in 2003, and 18 months later, Utility Fleet Management was merged into Light & Medium Truck — since renamed Truck Fleet Management.

“Nancy made an early impression on me with her wit and calming confidence,” said Thomas Strah, who was managing editor when she joined TT. “That, plus a searching mind, made her a first-class pro on the desk. In the years we worked closely together, she saved bad stories, and my bacon, more than once.”

Scott Achelpohl, chief copy editor of TT since 2011, was Bailey’s last supervisor.

“Nancy was an enormously knowledgeable and meticulous copy editor and a very gifted content editor, too. She made stories more clear and concise, and she was a very gregarious colleague,” Achelpohl said.

Galligan described her sense of humor as “quick, sharp and wry,” while Achelpohl said she was “playfully, delightfully sarcastic.”

“Nancy was a wonderful editor who frequently improved writers’ copy. She had a delightful, ironic sense of humor,” said Bruce Harmon, TT managing editor for magazines and features. Bailey edited stories for Harmon in Equipment & Maintenance Update, iTECH and the regular weekly features.

Away from the office, Bailey was profoundly interested in liturgical music, playing the piano and organ and singing with choral ensembles. She played and sang at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia, where her family worshipped. She also played for residents of a local nursing home and volunteered in the church’s soup kitchen.

Bailey’s life was celebrated July 13 at St. Michael’s, and the memorial service included a rendition of a “potluck blessing” she had written that was put to music and sung before such meals. The musicians of D.C. Area Folk Sojo (sing out, jam out), a group she sang with, performed at the service.

In addition to music, Bailey’s interests included making beaded jewelry, crafts fairs, doll houses and her cats, Phoebe and Nightingale, said Victoria Tolins, an account executive for classified advertising at Transport Topics. Bailey also was the “curator” of the newspaper’s so-called TT Star Trek shrine, a collection of memorabilia from the television show, and a dedicated viewer of Dr. Who, the British TV series.

“She was such a good-hearted person,” Tolins said.

Nancy Coe was born Dec. 10, 1945, to Robert and Elizabeth Coe in Arlington, graduating from high school in nearby Alexandria. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism — English and music were minors — from George Washington University in 1968.

Bailey is survived by sons Russell Bailey of Abita Springs, Louisiana, and Richard Christopher Andrew Bailey of San Francisco; two grandsons and two granddaughters; a sister, Marianne Coddington of Richmond, Virginia; and Mulunesh Abera, her roommate in recent years.

Donations are being accepted in Bailey’s memory at Alley Cat Allies, a national organization dedicated to the protection and treatment of cats.