Noel Bailey 1941-2024

Hall of Famer Noel Bailey passed away on April 9, 2024. He was 82 years old. A native of Aitkin, Minn., Bailey was a long-time coach at Aitkin High School. He was inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Dave Bartelma Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Minnesota Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2011.

Bailey served as the wrestling coach at Aitkin from 1972 to 1996 and returned for two additional seasons in 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. His career coaching record stands at 269-149-1. His 1988 team won the Section 8 title, and his teams secured eleven District titles and three Mid-State Conference titles. Additionally, he coached 29 individual place winners at the state level, including one state champion, Jason Math, in 1985.

The Guillotine featured an article about Noel Bailey in February – His brown cowboy boots made for inspired wrestling

Noel Bailey Obituary:

Noel C. Bailey, 82, of Aitkin, died peacefully at home on Tuesday, April 9, 2024, after a long, hard-fought battle with cancer. He was born December 9, 1941, in Aitkin, the son of Clarence Joseph and Olga Marie (Holm) Bailey. He grew up in Aitkin and graduated from Aitkin High School in 1959. He attended Bemidji State University from 1959 to 1963 to play football and wrestle. He eventually earned a Masters Degree in Education. Noel was united in marriage to Patricia Hill on August 3, 1963. Patricia passed away in 1992. Noel married Alma (Laidlaw) Roden on July 24, 1993. Alma passed away in 2020. Noel began his teaching and coaching career at Sauk Rapids High School from 1963 to 1972. He and his wife Patricia returned home to Aitkin to operate Hills Drive Inn from 1972 to 1975. In 1973, he decided to return to teaching and coaching at Aitkin High School. He retired from teaching in 1996 and has not coached since 1995, but was still very involved in the wrestling program and was their #1 fan. He was always beside the mat, cheering on the wrestlers that he loved so dearly.

Noel Bailey 1941 2024

After retirement, he worked as a bailiff for Aitkin County and served on the Aitkin School Board. He enjoyed traveling the world with his wife Alma, where they were able to visit 49 of the 50 United States and found a favorite winter getaway in St. Simons Island, Georgia. He also enjoyed woodworking, exercise, sports, yard work, riding motorcycles, going to the legion on Tuesdays for “hamburger night,” monthly lunch meetings with his friends from the class of 1959, and “Happy Hour” with friends on Fridays. He was a member of 4 halls of fame: The Bemidji State University Athletic Hall of Fame, The Minnesota Coaches Hall of Fame, The Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame, and The National Wrestling Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association, Riverwood Auxiliary, and the Aitkin United Methodist Church, where he enjoyed singing. Recently, he was named “Aitkin Person Of The Year” and had the honor of having one of the gymnasiums at Aitkin High School named after him. The same gym that he started wrestling in as a youth.

He was preceded in death by his parents, wives, Patricia and Alma, sister Edith Casselius, and brother Bryan Bailey. Being with his family was what Noel loved the most. He is survived by his children: Lance (Jeni) Bailey of Shakopee and Dawn (Angelo Ramirez) Bailey of Cheyenne, WY.; step-children: Todd Roden, Terry (Cindy) Roden and Becky Roden; 6 step-grandchildren: Nick, Noelle, Netanya, Nathan, Donald and Danny; 2 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law Christine Bailey; close friends Dan and Karen Stifter; his loyal, devoted dog Remy; and many other special relatives and friends who mourn his passing.

A celebration of life will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, April 20, 2024, in the Noel Bailey Gymnasium at Aitkin High School in Aitkin. Pastor Dawn Houser will be the officiant. Visitation will be from 4 pm to 7 pm Friday at Sorensen-Root-Thompson Funeral Home in Aitkin and will continue 1 hour prior to the service in the gym on Saturday. Noel’s family would like everyone to dress in your red and black “Gobbler Gear” for the celebration. To leave a message of condolence, go to

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