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Posted on: September 30, 2021

Ralph Bailey, Public Servant Extraordinaire, Retires

Ralph Bailey

After 31 years of public service, the classiest gentleman in Kenton County is hanging up his hat. Ralph L. Bailey, Jr., who turns 90 in November, announced his retirement at the last Fiscal Court meeting. 

Mr. Bailey started with Kenton County in 1990 as Assistant County Administrator, and eventually becoming the County Administrator, for Judge/Executive Clyde Middleton. In 1999, he started working part-time as Special Projects Manager.

Some of the major projects that Mr. Bailey contributed to during his tenure with the County includes: overseeing the Golf Courses of Kenton County, the construction and management of the Kenton County Justice Center and adjacent parking structure, the remodeling of and addition to Kenton County Animal Services, the construction of the Kenton County Detention Center, the Kenton County Administration building move, and much, much more.

In total, Mr. Bailey served six Judges/Executive, including Clyde Middleton, Biz Cain, Dick Murgatroyd, Ralph Drees, Steve Arlinghaus, and Kris Knochelmann.

“My time with Kenton County has been very enjoyable,” noted Bailey. “It’s truly been a pleasure working with the various Fiscal Court members and County employees.”

“Ralph is Kenton County’s class act and a great asset for our team,” said Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann. “On behalf of the entire county, thank you to Ralph for all of his tremendous work. He sets the standard for the type of person we should all aspire to be.”

Mr. Bailey began his professional career in 1953 when he started working for Sears in Dayton, Ohio. He was promoted to Store Manager in 1967, and transferred to the store in Price Hill. Ultimately, he became Store Manager in Florence, Kentucky, in 1978. 

 He became involved with the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, serving as a board member, as Vice Chairman, and, in 1982, as Chairman. In these roles, he helped establish “Threshold 21” which funded economic development and served as a forerunner for the Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation. He also served on the Board of Directors and on the Governmental Affairs Committee for the Kentucky State Chamber of Commerce. He received the Walter L. Pieshel Award from the Northern Kentucky Chamber for outstanding Community Service.

Mr. Bailey has been a member of Rotary International since the early 1970’s. He also served on various boards and organizations, including: the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky (then known as Kenton/Boone Cable TV), as an Executive Board Member of the Kenton County Boys and Girls Club, the Board of Advisors to the President of Thomas More University, and the YMCA Metropolitan Board of Directors.

He received awards from the Covington Rotary Club, the Fort Mitchell Country Club, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Kentucky Leadership Foundation, and the St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation. He is also a Kentucky Colonel. 

Mr. Bailey was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1931. He married his wife, Patricia, in 1953 and has three children: Craig, Douglas, and Carol Willman. He has six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He is a proud 1953 graduate of Miami University. 

 As for his thoughts on retirement, Mr. Bailey said, “After working for Sears for 36 years and 31 years for Kenton County, I’m just looking forward to having some time that I can just do whatever I want to do.”

Because of his impact on the community, Kenton County is collecting well wishes for Mr. Bailey. If you’d like to share a special memory or comment, you can visit the Kenton County website.

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